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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Immune health

This is such an important subject! So many people are concerned about immune health. More and more I am seeing autoimmune disorders as well!! Now, vaccinations have increased so much since I was a child. These day by two years of age, U.S. children receive as many as 24 vaccine injections, and might receive up to five shots during one visit to the doctor. Studies are coming out about a vaccination link to autoimmune disorders. My family has had personal experience with this specific issue. Studies are linking Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune demyelinating disease to the flu shot and recently following immunization with the recombinant hepatitis B and tetanus vaccines. My uncle had the experience with the flu vaccine and suffering immediately with Guillain-Barre syndrome. He was hospitalized for 6 months due to a staph infection he also caught while in the hospital. He now can walk with a cane which is the good news. I also had a client in his 80s that suffered Guillain-Barre after the flu shot, (different part of the country and different decade). He was told from his Doctor that this sometimes happens! Like that makes everything okay! Anyhow, back to the immune system. You have to look at your immune system as something you earn. In most cases, you are exposed to a pathogen, your body makes antigens and you are equipped to fight it off next time you are exposed. However, let's talk about your internal environment. Let's compare for a moment, your body to a trash can. There are clean, shiny trashcans, (mostly at the store, waiting to be sold) and there are dirty, smelly trashcans that are screaming for a cleaning. Let's start with the shiny trashcan - or a clean internal environment of a healthy body. You fill up the trashcan and it is dumped and a little dirty. You fill it again, it isn't dumped as fast and when it is emptied it is a little smelly, and attracting flies and rot. You keep filling and dumping and slowly a buildup occurs. The floor and walls of that trashcan is now covered in a thick, toxic sludge. When you realize it's toxic nature you hose it out and start the process again - right? Okay - a clean body...you eat, break everything down in your pipes, and move it though and out of end of the pipe system. Let's say that elimination slows down. Your pipes become full of toxic sludge. At this point you are absorbing through the villi in the intestines what is on the walls of the intestines. Yuck, now your whole body is toxic and the villi lay down and break off and whole, rotten, undigested food enters the blood stream and you become inflamed systemically. Whether you understood that or not, you get it, it's not good! Okay - now, what does this have to do with the immune system? Well, everything! At first exposure to a pathogen (undigested foods, or chemical, or herbicides or pesticides ...) your lymphatic system responds by grabbing it up. Your lymphatic system is a team of garbage collectors. If the lymph doesn't grab it all up properly your white blood cells chases it and it drains into your circulation, and you're rid of it. If your lymphatic system is backed up due to poor elimination, water intake and/or exercise then there are cells in the liver (Kupffer cells) that try to then remove the pathogen from the blood. They are primarily in charge of cleansing the blood of foreign materials and toxic substances. Sometimes due to the toxicity of the body if the first two lines of defense are not able to finish this cleaning process these particles excite the immune system and we get circulating immune complexes (CIC). Once CIC are recognized by the immune system as unwelcome, antibodies form to destroy invaders. Then they are cleaned up in the blood by white blood cells before they cause inflammation.
if that went over your head I apologize. Here's something quite simple, limit toxins coming in, make sure your pipes are clean by cleansing "every 3,000 miles or 3 months" like you would your car and home air filters. Eat more whole food than dead, processed food. And hydrate hydrate, hydrate. 1/2 your body weight in oz. daily. (No, coffee and sweet tea do not count, herbal tea does though). Eating well and digesting it is good. Try enzymes not only with food but in between meals to digest toxins in the blood. If you are suffering from an autoimmune disorder then use immune modulors (like Astragalus and colostrum). If you just need to stimulate a weakened immune system, then besides the changes discussed above you can stimulate with vitamins, minerals and immune stimulating herbs like garlic, echinacea, antioxidants and rose hips... I have others, but enough is enough. Call with questions on what would be best for you!