In this age of massive information and misinformation, I would be imprudent for me not to have a discussion on this most important topic of your healthcare, your immune system.
Your Immune System – Your Best Friend
Well, it’s not just one thing. There is a matrix of billions of interconnected cells and proteins working in synergy to protect our bodies from infection. Together this network has record of every microbe, be it virus, bacteria or fungus, that has ever been defended, This way this system can quickly recognize an enemy and defeat it before it does harm. This system is your loyal best friend and has your back 24/7.
This matrix includes: White Blood Cells; these important defenders are made in the bone marrow and travel in the Lymphatic System which begins in your lungs ans travels throughout your body, especially when you move, to seek out those enemy microbes that want to rob you of your goof health. Spleen; This organ filters out destructive microbes and also breaks down old and damaged red blood cells. It also helps the bone marrow create antibodies and other components that fight disease. Antibodies: These cells are stealth defenders that recognize enemy microbes by the material they secreat or the antigens on their surface, then they mark those enemies for destruction. Lymphatic System: This complex system does everything from absorbing fats and lactic acid, to dealing with cancer cells and bacteria. It also contains Lymph nodes which traps destructive microbes. Thymus: The specialized organ, located between the sternum and heart, that acts like an incubator where the T-cells grow. T Cells: A type of lymphocyte white blood cell, carried by the lymphatic system, that attacks destructive microbes. Bone Marrow: The soft material inside the bone which produces blood cells, both red and white as well as platelets. The red cells carry oxygen from the lungs, pumped by the heart throughout the body, White cells fight disease and platelets help clot the blood so we don’t bleed out from a cut.
Notice that I took the word strengthen out of this sub-title? You see, you hear and read all over the internet about making your immune system stronger. The fact is, if it’s too strong then you will likely acquire an auto immune disorder, like allergies or asthma. Too weak, and infections take your body on their terrible ride. Balance is what we want to achieve. There is no magic pill, vaccine or potion that will do this. You simply must take care of your body to achieve this balance. Here are 5 things you can do to help your best friend, your immune system, to stay, or get into balance.
1 – Sleep
Restful sleep and a healthy immune system are partners to keep you healthy. A highly touted study, by Luciana Besedovsky,1,2 Tanja Lange,1,2 and Jan Born states that: “Sleep and the circadian system exert a strong regulatory influence on immune functions.”
The number one way to help your friend the immune system to stay balanced for you is to get at least 7 hours as an adult. Teens need 8-10 and preteens and infants over 12 hours of restful sleep. Sleep Hygiene is a whole separate blog. I’ll instead refer you to a Healthline article that covers it pretty well.
2 – Qigong
Most Articles won’t include Qigong as an immune system aide, as few in our culture understand Qigong and it’s benefits. Most reputable articles will cite meditation, moderate exercise, deep breathing, and stress reduction as important tools for helping our friend the immune system. Qigong has all of these attributes in one form. While I practice 20 – 60 minutes a day of my own personal practice besides teaching Qigong, even a 10-minute practice is beneficial. This will reduce stress, bring you a positive mindset, move your blood, lymphatic fluid and Qi, while keeping you fully present in each moment, the overall purpose of meditation.
Your stomach contains acids that kill most destructive microbes. There are antibodies in the small intestine lining. The friendly bacteria, (there are 300 to 500 different kinds) break down the food you eat so you can absorb those healthy nutrients. Gut yeast called candida is also present, (along with a bunch of other organisms like fungi), and can get out of balance if sugar and flour are consumed in excess, or if you take antibiotics too often. A little gut yeast is actually good for you as it can help absorb nutrients. When out of balance, it can cause infection, which can tax the immune system.
A healthy Gut is one of the first lines of defense against destructive microbes. Most studies show that a balanced healthy diet, with a variety of fruits and vegetables, will keep the microbiota, or the microbiome in balance. And there is that word again, Balance.
Anything that gets you moving, everything moving, in a lot of different directions, is helpful. Remember that the lymphatic fluid delivers the white blood cells and other lymphocytes to carry on the war against the destructive microbes. How does the lymphatic system move? It moves when we move. I have a saying, it’s not mine, but it’s something I say every day to someone: “Move it or lose it!”
Cardio exercises the heart, and that get’s the blood flowing which delivers oxygen to every cell in our body. If you want a cell to break down, deprive it of oxygen, Move it or lose it! Exercise also make you breath deeper, exercising the lungs. Remember were all that lymphatic fluid it sourced from? Yes, the lungs. Can we sing it one more time? Move it or lose it!
5 – Supplementation
This is a tricky one. Mostly, I recommend getting your nutrients from food. However, every one of us is unique and has a unique mirobiome and DNA. I’d check with your doctor on this, but here’s what I did for myself. I tested my DNA to see if I had any gene mutations that changed the way I absorbed nutrients. We all need vitamins and minerals. We mostly get those from the food we eat, if we eat food and not processed crap. Speaking to that, it’s part of lifestyle. So, we have our DNA which programs our body to be what it is and work the way it does, but then there’s what we do with that program, which is where lifestyle comes in.
I found a company, which I checked out thoroughly, and I invite you to do the same. They have the DNA test, and a lifestyle assessment. Now the lifestyle assessment is free, it’s a questionnaire about how you do life. How you eat, drink, sleep, play, work, and your vitals like age gender ethnicity, etc. All that, plus your DNA testing (which is not free) gives you a personalized look at what you need to nutritionally keep your immune system balanced. But you still need the other 4 things, OK. You can’t take your personalized supplements and sleep 3 hours a night, or leave any of the above suggestions out.
What I discovered about my nutrient absorption was that I did’y absorb vitamin D very easily, I needed a co-factor. I also didn’t absorb folate without it being pre-methylated. I also needed more omega 3 than the average person. By adjusting those nutrients, I am a much healthier person! There are about 7.75 billion people in the world, and there are about 7.75 different combinations of DNA. No two people are alike, not even identical twins! So why would a generalized nutritional supplement work for everyone? It won’t.
If you decide to buy anything through the above link, I will get some compensation. If you don’t want me to get compensated, go directly to ID Life and you won’t pay any less, but I will be out of the loop.