Basket of fresh vegetables

Boosting Your Immune Response – Helpful Suggestions

Keeping your immune system strong is very important if you want to stay healthy. The immune response is a defense function that helps control inflammation. (This view of inflammation comes from my twenty-five years of family practice medicine.) Inflammation, with heat, redness or swelling often with pain and fever, is the body’s response to invading antigens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These antigens are attracted to what they need to live and grow.

We have thousands of viruses and bacteria in our body that live in harmony with us. Our body is constantly eliminating toxins, but sometimes it gets overwhelmed.

It is when the balance is thrown off that inflammation begins as a self-correcting response to an accumulation of excess toxins, triggering infections such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, cystitis, vaginitis, otitis media and all the other medical terms for particular types of inflammation.
Excess toxins may enter the body in many ways. Some are just by-products of living. Others are from injuries, taking drugs or alcohol, cigarette smoking, breathing polluted air, consuming pesticides in our foods, or by allergic reactions which, I believe, often comes from mental toxins.

The immune system is everywhere: under the skin, inside your bone marrow, in the lymph glands and in your blood and spleen. All parts of the body participate in the inflammatory immune response. Every person can help to unburden their own immune system. There are some easy ways of doing this. Make sure that the natural exits from the body for toxins are kept open. This includes ensuring that the bowels function daily, drinking adequate pure water so that the urine flow is over one quart a day for adults and cleaning the sweat from your body daily with a bath or clean cloths. Remember, you need to sweat a few times a week whether its from exercise, a sauna, sex or menopausal hot flashes, or just the hot weather of summer. So turn off those air conditioners some times. Breathing easily and deeply in an unrestricted way is important – exercise can help you do that.

A few nosebleeds or an occasional leaking of blood from hemorrhoids are ways the body excretes blood toxins. Who knows if men by shaving daily are removing toxins accumulated in their beards…arsenic does get trapped inside hair. Men more than women carry handkerchiefs to blow the toxins out of their noses. Women have menstrual periods and it is easier for them to eliminate toxins that way. Maybe that is why women live longer.

Occasionally, if you get a cold or flu, celebrate this inflammation. You are detoxing every time you blow your nose, and through sweating. Also a fever destroys the imbalance of the viral overgrowth, and as a bonus, if the fever is high enough, at 104, the hidden cancer cells, that we probably all have, are also going to self-destruct!

Remember to follow your food cravings when you are sick. Your body knows best what it needs then. Usually you will not want to eat anything that has a lot of iron in it like meat, or iron containing vitamins and minerals when you have a fever. Iron will help the growth of bacteria and could get you deathly ill if you take extra when you are sick. However, the homeopathic iron medicine Ferrum phosphoricum 6X strength, which is made from iron phosphate is useful whenever you have a fever or inflammation. Two pills taken every 2-4 hours, as needed, is safer to use for your fevers than antipyretics like Tylenol or aspirin which have been associated with liver toxicity.

There are also combination homeopathic medicines for the flu or grippe or simple fevers. These homeopathic combinations, available in tablets or liquid from your health food store or pharmacy, are very safe and have been used by Americans for over 100 years. If you read the ingredients, most often, they include Aconitum napellus 5X, Eupatorium perfoliatum 6X, Belladonna 6X, Sulfur 6X or Bryonia alba 6X. Any age person, on any medicine, can safely take these combinations. Of course, you want to use your judgment, and if you are getting worse, an antibiotic, antiviral agent, aspirin or other drugs or surgery may be needed to avoid complications.

Boosting your immune system requires paying attention to your diet by eating five vegetables and fruits everyday, and avoiding sugar. Foods like garlic and onions help your immunity. Garlic has been used for years to help the lungs get over bronchitis and colds. Try not to microwave your food.

Studies done on AIDS patients show that they can increase their depressed T lymphocyte cell counts and the immune response by writing a diary about things that bother them. Crying has been shown to strengthen the immune system too.

20 Co-factors

Dr. Jeffrey Leiphart, a psychologist who works with AIDS patients at the Center for Social Services in San Diego, California has identified 20 health behaviors, psychological issues and medical issues that facilitate progression of HIV illness or AIDS. Since AIDS by definition is acquired immune deficiency knowing about these 20 Co-Factors could boost your immune system no matter what the cause. Remember, it is all a matter of balance…and we are finding ways you can participate in your health restoration and really make a difference.

Co-Factors that facilitate progression of HIV Illness/AIDS, and Other Immune Problems. (Knowing about them can help you avoid trouble!)

Health Behaviors:

  1. Restricted breathing patterns
  2. Low level of water/fluid intake
  3. Poor appetite/eating patterns/nutrition
  4. Inadequate or disrupted sleep
  5. Excess of toxins/drugs/cigarette smoking
  6. Lack of physical exercise
    Psychological issues:
  7. Excessive internal speediness/disrupted autonomic balance
  8. Sustained internal survival stress (SISS) “fight-or-flight”
  9. Lack of access to (comfort from) trusted support person, confidant
  10. No previous crisis experience; no developed coping strategies
  11. Lack of self-assertiveness/inability to say no
  12. Lack of life goals/purpose/focus (with death preoccupation)
  13. Fixed belief system that HIV(+) means certain AIDS & death
  14. Lack of secure home/nest/safe place
  15. Presence of sustained (unmanaged), (multiple-loss) grief
  16. Inability to self-nurture or convalesce during illness
  17. Insufficient funds to cover necessities (food, shelter, insurance)
    Medical Issues:
  18. Passive, uninformed relationship to health & medical care
  19. Repeated exposure to HIV; untreated infections (syphilis, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes, CMV, others)
  20. Excessive (over) use of antibiotics and/or steroids.
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Written by Jacquelyn J. Wilson MD

Explore Wellness in 2021