Understanding Individual Immunity

Why do two people exposed to the same disease entity and observing the same precautions respond in opposite ways? Why do some get sick, while others remain unharmed or recover quickly?

The difference is the strength of our individual immune system!

The immune system is the body’s natural defense system that defends the body from external disease-causing entities, such as:

  • viruses
  • bacteria
  • fungi
  • pollens
  • food allergens

Occasionally, the immune system can mistakenly attack the body itself, causing an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. (more info about auto-immunity can be found here)
The “soldiers” that the immune system sends into battle are white blood cells, such as macrophages and T and B lymphocytes, that are produced in the bone marrow and the thymus gland. Blood proteins known as antibodies counteract the attack of antigens, the harmful foreign substances.

Immune Stressors

A science-based program for enhancing the body’s immune defense ability would take into account the various stressors that can weaken the immune system and cause its dysfunction. These include:

  • pharmaceutical drugs
  • toxicity caused by certain foods or environmental toxins
  • smoking
  • sleep deprivation
  • hormone imbalance
  • digestive malabsorption
  • emotional stress
  • genetic predisposition

The strategies of such a program would therefore be to optimize digestion and nutritional factors, provide psychological support, and control lifestyle factors, such as diet, weight, sleep and exercise.

Nutritional Support

The nutritional support element of the program should focus on testing and supplementing specific nutrient deficiencies that can create susceptibility to infection. These include vitamins A, E, C, D and B6, as well as minerals such as zinc, copper and selenium, all of which strengthen white blood cell anti-viral and anti-bacterial actions.

Simple methods of testing for zinc deficiency, through taste perception or a hair sample, or taking a saliva sample to measure the level of an immune antibody, can be a helpful reflection of one’s immune status. A protein supplement protects the immune cells and helps to fight infection. In addition, the immune system can be boosted with mushroom, hormone and botanical extracts. At the same time, there should be an emphasis on education regarding immune-supporting foods.  One could utilize specialized test information and other personal medical data to generate a complete individual Prescription Food Plan, based on research on one’s individual medical conditions. Such a plan incorporates many nutritional recommendations, such as the limitation of refined sugar sources in the diet, since these suppress immune function as much as 50 percent for 5 hours after consumption. This plan would accomplish one of the many goals of natural medicine – to use the food as medicine in maintaining health and preventing serious disease in the future.

Physical Method

Many research studies have also indicated that white blood cell activity, nervous system and hormone regulation are all enhanced through physical procedures like acupuncture, spinal adjustment, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), cranial electric stimulation (CES) and intramuscular injection of vitamins that are not well absorbed orally. Such physical or energetic boosts to the immune function work synergistically with nutritional therapy to accomplish maximum benefit for patients.

Psychological Support

Finally, one could also utilize training in meditation and relaxation techniques, aided by biofeedback technology, since research has made it clear that uncontrolled increases in the body’s stress hormones suppress the immune system.

To schedule a complementary 15min. preliminary consultation with one of our physicians to assess your immune status and address your health concerns, call NHMC at (425) 775-6001.