How to boost your immune system naturally

The functional medicine model supports the whole person by taking into account the following elements; physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and spiritual factors. Miskawaan Health Group (MHG) has experienced doctors that use optimal nutrition, targeted supplementation, innovative therapies, detoxification and mind-body practices to support the immune system. There are many reasons why you should consider boosting your immune system now. The current viral threat that comes from coronavirus disease (COVID-19). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. There is currently no effective pharmaceutical or vaccine therapy available to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, a strong immune system can help to prevent cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world. A capable immune system can also help prevent issues with opportunistic bacteria and other viral infections.

Start with the Gut - Optimize Your Gut Health

The gut is paramount in immune function because it is seventy percent of the immune system. The microbiome plays an integral role in keeping the immune system ready to fight off any intruders. The use of probiotics from supplements greatly supports the microbiome. The term probiotic is derived from the Greek term’s "bios" meaning "life" and "pro" meaning "for.” Thus, Pro biotic ~ "for life." The World Health Organization defines probiotics as "live microorganisms" that can confer health benefits for the host when used in "adequate amounts.” Lactobacillus acidophilus helps maintain intestinal health and serves as a natural antibiotic. Acidophilus is also a nutritional supplement that maintains the 'normal' balance of good bacteria in the intestines. Bifidobacteria show promise in the treatment of cholesterol reduction, cancer prevention and immune stimulation. The good bacteria “probiotics” produce antimicrobial compounds that can inhibit the growth of pathogens. They also aid digestion, nutrient absorption and positively contribute to immune function. “Disturbance in this microbial balance can have negative consequences for health resulting in elevated inflammation and infection that are contributory factors in diabetes and cancer. There is a growing awareness that the microbial balance in the colon may become increasingly perturbed with aging and therefore hasten the onset of certain diseases.” [1]


Immune supporting probiotics in food

The use of probiotics with prebiotics has been shown to improve the survival of the probiotics. The probiotics contained in fermented foods have tremendous immune-boosting powers. Some examples of probiotics in fermented food are miso, tempeh, kimchi and sauerkraut. Miso, a traditional Japanese food, is a fermented soybean paste. Tempeh, a traditional Indonesian food, is a fermented soybean cake; it is high in protein. Grains such as rice or barley are sometimes added to tempeh. Kimchi, a traditional Korean food, is fermented cabbage, traditionally made with radish, garlic, red pepper, green onion, ginger and salt. Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage, is a traditional German food. Foods like miso, tempeh, sauerkraut and kimchi are very helpful for gut health and immune function.

The term "prebiotic" was coined in 1995 by Gibson and Roberford as a "non-digestible food ingredient that confers benefit on the host by selectively stimulating growth and/or activity of one bacterium or group of bacteria in the colon and thus improve host health"[2] Prebiotics help feed good bacteria. These include fiber from food choices such as chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion green, garlic, leek, onion, Chinese chives, asparagus, legumes and green tea.

Stress Assessment

The importance of stress reduction for immune function

According to the American Institute of Stress It has been estimated that 75 to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. Stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide on the job. Many people resort to the use of pharmaceutical over-the-counter remedies or self-medicating with detrimental agents, such as alcohol, to cope with stress. These so-called remedies only make the problem worse and can weaken the immune system. Our ancestors experienced brief stress responses, which provided them with necessary bodily functions to get them out of danger quickly. But in modern society, with all of the pressures of work deadlines, family commitments, and a host of other stressors, many people spend much more time in sympathetic nervous system activation than in parasympathetic activation. Sympathetic activation is meant to be brief, whereas parasympathetic activation is meant to be long lasting. Sympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system responsible for "fight or flight." Parasympathetic nervous system Is activated when a person is relaxed. It is responsible for digestion, rest, utilization of nutrients and supports our immune system.

Natural ways to reduce stress to support immune function

Functional medicine doctors know stress can negatively affect multiple systems in the body. Miskawaan Health Group (MHG) helps to identify the stressors and uses various proven natural methods and teaches you skills to reduce or eliminate stress. There are many ways to support the mind-body to reduce stress, which includes meditation, visualization, affirmations, comedies (laughter), and psychological therapy. To support the physical body, practice the following: keep yourself well hydrated (one half your body weight, in fluid ounces per day (ounce = 30 ml)), adequate sleep (seven to nine hours), deep breathing exercises, moderate physical exercise (aerobic and anaerobic), yoga and acupuncture.

Proper individualized nutrition is foundational to reduce stress. The use of adaptogens, vitamin C and B-complex become more important when under stress. Adaptogens are natural substances found only in a few rare plants and herbs. The plants and herbs provide special nutrients that help the body achieve optimal mental, physical and work performance. The adaptogens have three distinguishing qualities:

  • They are completely non-toxic to the human body and would have no harmful or negative effects no matter what amount or how long they are used.
  • They catalyze responses in the body to increase the body's mental and physical performance as well as provide resistance to stressful insults at the cellular level.
  • Their effect is to balance and normalize the body's systems leading to overall homeostasis and health.

Adaptogens can improve your response to stress or changes in the environment. Try to identify your personal stressor and eliminate it, if possible. Consider changes to your view of the stressor. As you learn to identify the stressor, you can begin the see patterns and modify your behavior.

Supplements to boost your immune system

“Nutrition is a critical determinant of immune responses and malnutrition the most common cause of immunodeficiency worldwide.”[3] In studies involving more than 1,327 hospitalized adult patients, 40% to 55% were found to be either malnourished or at risk for malnutrition, and up to 12% were severely malnourished.[4] Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin (other fat soluble vitamins are E, A and K) that actually functions as a pro-hormone (a precursor to hormones). Cedric F. Garland, Dr. P.H., cancer prevention specialist and his colleagues estimate that 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide by increasing intake of vitamin D3, particularly in countries north of the equator. Vitamin D3 is available through diet, supplements and exposure of the skin to sunlight. Vitamin D is important in mucosal integrity and gut permeability (Leaky gut). Deficiency of vitamin D can make you more susceptible to osteoporosis, periodontal disease, infectious disease, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease and depression.

When you have low vitamin C levels white blood cells of the immune system cannot function well. Doctors recognize normal healthy patients have anascorbate (vitamin C) level of 0.7 to 1.4 mg/dL. When cancer patients are diagnosed, they usually have ascorbate (vitamin C) levels that are low: 0.1 to 0.4 mg/dL.[5] Women with deficiencies in vitamin C and folate have a higher risk of cervical cancer. Study showed that women with low vitamin C intake have a risk 10x higher than women who eat more foods that are high in vitamin C.[6] As an added bonus, vitamin supports the stimulation of collagen formation for anti-aging.

IV Vitamin C immune support

Intravenous nutrition offers better bioavailability of nutrients to the body’s metabolic needs. A synergic application of IV and oral nutrition increases nutrient absorption potential. Intravenous (IV) vitamin C can have an anti-cancer and immune boosting effect on the body. If the white cells (neutrophils and monocytes) have enough anascorbate (vitamin C) they can carry hydrogen peroxide. These cells can inject hydrogen peroxide into cancer cells which kills them.[7] Vitamin C also plays a role in preventing, shortening the duration, and alleviating many different infections. [8]

Peptide Therapy can boost your immune system

A peptide is a short chain of amino acids that are linked together and can be thought of as a small protein. In our bodies, these small proteins typically act as signaling molecules. They bind to receptors on the cell surface and tell other cells and molecules what to do. By attaching to receptor proteins on the surface of certain cells, peptides will stimulate how that cell responds to certain stimuli which supports cellular communication. As naturally occurring biological molecules, they play an important role in any form of biological activity

The most common peptide used in peptide therapy is Thymosin alpha-1. Thymosin alpha-1, or TA1 is a peptide that is naturally produced in the thymus gland and lymphoid tissue. It basically helps the body’s ability to protect against foreign invaders that can harm the body. It has been studied extensively for its ability to enhance the immune system of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. It is so useful in boosting your immune system that it has been shown to be effective for the treatment of many conditions such as bacterial infections, viral infections and cancer.

[1] Duncan SH, Flint HM Probiotics and prebiotics in health and ageing populations. Maturitas. 2013 March 11.
[2] Gupta et al., Saulnier et al., Bosscher et al.
[3] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 66, 460S-463S, Copyright © 1997 by The American Society for Clinical Nutrition
[4] J Am Diet Assoc. 1996; 96:361-366,369 Abbott Laboratories, Maidenhead, UK
[5] Houston, R., “Understanding Cancer and Natural Therapies,” Townsend Letter, 2008; Aug/Sept, p.109-12.
[6] Slattery, M., et al., “Dietary vitamin A, C, and E and selenium as risk factors for cervical cancer,” Epidemiol 1990; 1:8-15.
[7] Hoffer, A., Vitamin C and Cancer, Discovery, Recovery, Controversy. Kingston, Ontario: Quary Press, 2000.

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