How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
The Immune System and How it Works
The subject of how to boost your immune system naturally is a loaded subject and could easily fill a book. The first thing I think could use explaining is what is an immune system?
The immune system is not confined like all the other systems. Other systems have specific organs in a certain pattern aligned to do a certain function and the system, even when it reaches the whole body, doesn't ever encroach upon another system.
The blood stays in the blood vessels no matter how deep into the body it goes to nourish and take away waste. The systems interface with each other, but the respiratory system is the respiratory system and the circulatory system is the circulatory system and the nervous system and digestive system are also separate and dedicated to the function of the system it belongs in. The only major exceptions to that system confinement are the liver which has so many functions it is included in more than one system and the immune system which encroaches all over the place. There isn't even a total agreement on what constitutes the immune system.
This is a list of all the parts that can be considered the immune system:
- Bone Marrow
- Lymphatic System
- White Blood Cells also called Lymphocytes.
- Complement System - a many stepped process where a series of proteins come together on the surface of an intruder and culminate in its destruction by puncture.
- Cytokines which are small proteins that are produced in cells and modulate functions more locally than lets say hormones would. (For this reason some put these in another system).
The structural parts of the immune system are the spleen, thymus and bone marrow. This is where the white blood cells are produced. The lymphatic system which arguably is a system all on its own holds and transports so many of these immune cells that some just incorporate it into the immune system totally even though it has other functions, like fluid balance, detoxification etc.
The main part of the immune system however is not structural- meaning making up parts of the body like organs and vessels etc. It is specialized cells and proteins made by them.
This system starts with basic white blood cells also called lymphocytes that develop into so many different types with so many different functions that you would run away if I tried to tell you all about it. But these cells are what patrol and protect the whole entire body from harm.
You have probably heard of T-cells matured in the Thymus and B- cells made and matured in the Bone marrow. Both are also made in the Spleen. These white blood cells get distributed all over the body to react and morph in different ways to handle whatever eventuality occurs in the tissues of the whole body.
Antibodies Role in Immunity
The different white blood cells create the rest of the immune system. This includes the antibodies and the complement system as well as ways to neutralize and clean up the system.
Antibodies are specialized proteins produced by the white blood cells, specifically the B cells. Antibodies render intruders unable to effect damage because it ties up the protein spike on the surface of the intruder that it would use to do so. With the antibody locked onto it, it can't engage with the cells it would normally invade.
When a challenger winds up in the body it is called an antigen. When a B-cell finds an antigen it immediately starts reproducing itself with proteins that will stop that individual intruder. This revs up and the B-cells turn into plasma cells that push out this protein at a super rapid pace. This protein is what we know of as antibodies.
The plasma cell uses all its energy to keep pumping out antibodies and doesn't even have enough left over energy to reproduce itself. It works itself to death. But some stay behind, imbedding themselves in the body's tissues to provide a memory and stand ready if the same intruder happens to come back. T-cells also have their own memory T-cells as well.
T-cells work with B-cells but they don't themselves create antibodies. They are mostly involved in a direct attack on intruders to puncture them. T-cells turn into other white blood cells to help with other aspects of the process.
The whole immune system is based on a kind of cascading effect. There are effects that wind up in engulfing and digesting the intruder with specific cells.
There is a complex series of steps by which many different proteins come together and punch holes into the intruder injecting hydrogen peroxide into the intruder that causes it to dissolve itself. This is called the complement system. This was one of the first discoveries of the immune system. When I was in college learning it, it was called Fixing Complement.
And then there are varying sizes of cells that just come and clean up the aftermath.
Also, there are varying combinations of these effects.
Acquired Immunity vs Natural Immunity
Lately we have been hearing about acquired immunity vs cellular or natural immunity. That is just added jargon. Acquired immunity refers to when the immune system uses antibodies to neutralize an antigen before it is eliminated. And cellular or “Natural” immunity just refers to the other modes white blood cells initiate to eliminate an intruder without neutralizing it first. Neutralizing the antigen is useful because it keeps the intruder from infecting healthy cells till it can be addressed and eliminated. Antibodies do the neutralizing.
So how do we boost this system? There are so many ways. And a lot of it isnot doing things that weaken it, like taking drugs and poor eating choices and generally not taking care of yourself.
You have to think when you put something into the body, “Does the body have a natural pathway of using this, or is it going to get deposited somewhere to keep it away from the body’s vital workings?” That's what happens to unnatural things. They act like poisons. If they can't be eliminated, they get deposited in fat and in the intestines and anywhere the body can stick it so it's out of the way. These things generally drag the body's health down and waste immune and other system resources in combating the poisonous effects and keeping them trapped. They also make you fat because the body needs the fat to store the poisons in. These are good reasons to use mother natures recipes instead of man made ones if you can at all help it.
Eating sugar or even too many other carbohydrates aggravates the spleen. This lowers immunity as the spleen is an immune system work horse creating white blood cells including the B-cells and T-cells. Incidentally, it's also involved in red blood cell replacement as well.
Boosting Your Immune System
Conversely the best way to boost the immune system or maintain its health is to live a healthy lifestyle.
Sleeping regularly helps a lot. Much of the body's healing and rejuvenation happens during sleep and that is when those white blood cells that start everything get made.
Mild Exercisegets things moving and circulates immune cells around even to the furthest reaches of the body and stimulates the production of more immune cells.
Exposure to Sunlightis extremely important. The body not only makes Vitamin D which is very involved with the immune system, but getting 5 min of that early morning sun and those orange sunrise colors sets the body to creating a whole natural pharmacy that can be used throughout the whole day. Melatonin production, for example, is greatly increased by this sun exposure and it is important in regulating, among other things, parts of the immune system.
Good Nutritioncontains nutrients known to make the immune system work well. Some of these are:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
Almost any good natural food will contribute to building at least some aspect of the immune system. A natural food's raw unadulterated source is obvious at a glance. If you can't recognize it, it is a processed food.
If you have heard that you should eat foods of varying color they were right. The natural dyes in food tend to be antioxidants and those tend to help the immune system function along with practically everything else.
Certain foods have been singled out in history as being especially effective in creating healthy effects. We call these Herbs to distinguish these foods.
Like I said practically any natural food will provide fuel enhancing the immune system. Well practically every herb will too. There are some herbs especially noted for doing this. Here is a list:
- Oil of Oregano
- Black Elderberry
I'd say these are the heavy hitters, but I don't think I ever wrote about an herb where I didn't say that it enhanced the immune system somehow. But if you are having any particular problem with an immune system weakness or increased immune challenges, definitely go to the top five on the list first. The other 3 are heavy hitters in general and could be used all the time and may prevent weakness and overwhelm and the need for the top five.
Although Garlic is multifaceted and something I don't think I'd ever eliminate, but then again I am Italian.
Also something that can not be measured or underestimated is synergy. The whole natural world is just a synergy fiesta. I would recommend that you read about the above herbs and pick out at least three that you feel an attraction for and start with that. We have the best herbal supplements for you to choose from and we even have a special right now where you can get three of the top five herbs on the list in a money saving package.
Remember herbs are food, so just like you experiment with what you eat in your general diet, you should feel free to do so with the herbs. May you find the perfect synergy that works for you. And do let me know how it goes. Click here to start your order!