Do you catch colds and viruses often? Are you sick a lot? Do you have allergies? Are you run down and fatigued most of the time? You may have a weak immune system. Did you ever notice how some people catch everything and others are never sick and always full of energy? Different people have different immune systems. Our immune system is how we fight off infections, germs and cancer. Sometimes the immune system does not work properly, as with immunodeficiency disorders. These people are extremely susceptible to infection and cancer.
Diagnosis is vital as impaired immune response can pose serious threats to health. With the increasing resistance of pathogens to current antibiotics and anti-fungal medications, the impact of a weak immune system has taken on added significance. Likewise, the daily immune challenges in the face of a more environmentally toxic world have intensified the need for maintaining optimal immune function.
The immune system is highly complex and important to our well-being. A strong and balanced immune system is required for health maintenance. Using natural agents, it is possible to help restore an immune system imbalance or weakness.
The immune system is composed of many interdependent cell types that collectively protect the body from bacterial
, fungal and viral infections, as well as from the growth of tumor
cells. Many of these cell types have specialized functions. The cells of the immune system can engulf bacteria
, kill parasites
or tumor cells, or kill virus-infected cells. These cells often depend on the T-helper subset for activation signals in the form of secretions formally known as cytokines
, or more specifically interleukins.
A shift in cytokine
balance can result in many serious disorders. If you have an imbalance between Th1
, it will be reported elsewhere, along with what to do about it.
Causes and Development
Immune responses can be depressed by various external influences including emotional stress, physical stressors such as inadequate sleep or athletic overtraining, environmental and occupational chemical exposure, UV and other types of radiation, common viral or bacterial
infections, certain drug therapies, blood transfusions and surgery. Dietary habits also have an impact on immune response. Excessive fat, alcohol or refined sugar
consumption or inadequate protein, calorie, vitamin, mineral or water intake fosters decreased immune performance as well. In addition, the biological state of aging counteracts immune function, particularly after age of 40.
Immune deficiencies are also attributed to acquired infections or diseases that target the immune system, such as AIDS
, while others, particularly primary immunodeficiency diseases, are often due to genetic abnormalities. Not all primary immunodeficiency diseases are genetically determined, however. Some occur without a known cause. One of the most frequent immunodeficiency diseases, Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID), which includes hypogammaglobulinemia, adult-onset agammaglobulinemia, late-onset hypogammaglobulinemia and acquired agammaglobulinemia, usually occurs sporadically and has no clear pattern of inheritance.
Chronic and acute mobilization of immune defenses, induced by a variety of diseases and conditions, places undue stress on the immune system, weakening its capacity to deal effectively with infectious organisms and other immunological requirements elsewhere in the body. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, multiple sclerosis
disorders in general, primary chronic polyarthritis, chronic candidiasis
, cancer, neurodermatitis, ulcerative colitis
, Crohn's disease
, food and other allergies, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
) and chemical sensitivities.
Nutrient deficiency is a well-known cause of immune system malfunction. It has recently been demonstrated in an animal species is that nutrient deficiency in one generation can affect immune function in succeeding generations, even if they're not nutrient deficient. In that experiment pregnant mice were given a zinc-deficient diet. Their offspring had defective immune function, even though they and their mothers were fed a zinc-adequate diet as soon as they were born. Second and third generations of mice also had defective immune system function (although less severe), all while maintaining a zinc-adequate diet. "This study", the researchers said, "has important implications for public health and human welfare, as the consequences of fetal impoverishment may persist despite generations of nutritional supplementation.
Dietary supplementation beyond the levels considered adequate might allow for more rapid or complete restoration of immunocompetence".
Put another way, it is possible that immune system defects suffered by you (including over-reactivity to foods) could be due to nutrient deficiencies suffered by your mother in the months before you were born. It is also possible that diet supplementation (vitamins, minerals, and so on) above the usual levels might aid in a more rapid recovery.
Signs and Symptoms
Because immune deficiency does not always present itself in clear patterns, faulty immune function and its specific underlying cause often elude detection.
Impaired immune function manifests in countless ways and varying degrees. It can exist as a genetic or acquired immunodeficiency, or as a transient or permanent state of depressed immune function due to other factors. In either case, the level of reduced immunocompetence - the body's ability to respond to pathogenic organisms, tumors
or tissue damage - is dependent on the nature of the condition, which components of the immune system are affected and to what extent.
Treatment and Prevention
General ways to enhance your immune system include being breastfed as a baby, exercising sufficiently but not excessively, stress management, avoiding food and other allergens
, and being well-nourished; supplements such as TMG
, vitamin C
and other antioxidants
; hormones such as HGH (human growth hormone - can be used homeopathically) and DHEA
; colloidal silver, and l-arginine.
A high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement (especially B6
, folate, pantothenic acid
, C, zinc, selenium
, and manganese
) can be an important starting point. Some are available with thymus
extracts in them.Phytonutrients
or foods can be used such as garlic, B-1
,3-D glucan, olive leaf (extract), echinacea, ginseng, astralgalus, goldenseal, lemon balm, modified citrus pectin, carnivora (venus fly trap), some mushrooms and plant sterols
. Animal-based preparations include thymus proteins, lactoferrin and shark liver
oil. Anecdotal evidence supports the use of Bob Beck type electrical devices such as the magnetic pulser and 'Black Box' or Zapper.
There are natural ways we can strengthen our immune system. Some of these ways are listed here:
- Get plenty of sleep and rest, the body rejuvenates and strengthens when it is at rest. Many people like to think they can function just fine on 5 to 7 hours a night, but the truth is, we require at least 8 to 10 hours per night.
- Cut down worry and learn to de-stress, there are studies that prove that stress and depression effect the body physically and can even weaken the immune system.
- Eat a well balanced diet, don't skip meals. The four food groups have everything our bodies need to thrive. Learn the vitamins in your food and get a good dose of each one.
- Always take a multivitamin, learn what your body is lacking. Ask your doctor what vitamins and minerals you should increase for your age. For example, women need extra calcium. We need extra folic acid as well.
- Have a regular exercise regimen. Exercise makes our body stronger, increase circulation of blood and nutrients, and helps flush the body of toxins.
- Drink plenty of water, this helps flush the body of toxins and keeps you well hydrated.
- Eat foods with high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are vitamins in your diet that can reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases and can give your immune system a boost. Eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are excellent sources of antioxidants. Antioxidant vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotine. Food sources include: fruits and vegetables, dairy products, melons, berries, dark greens, whole grains, dairy and meats (high protein).
There are things we can do to strengthen our immune system. Start today for a healthier you!
A weak or deficient immune system can lead to dysfunctions such as autoimmune
diseases (including allergies) and tumor