factors affecting immune health

Immune support:

Exercise

Increases motility of lymph fluids and the clearing of immune (and metabolic) wastes, as well as improves mood, increases metabolic rate and energy levels. Tai Chi and Yoga are especially useful with regards to calming the nervous system and down-regulating stress responsors.

Light to moderate best for immune system (eg Tai Chi)

  • Excessive exercise (leading to exhaustion) depresses immune system for hours after exertion, increasing risk of infection at that time
  • Exercise increases Free Radical production

Food Allergies

  • Remove source of allergens from diet: remove milk, dairy, wheat, gluten, corn, citrus, nuts, eggs, processed food / food additives
  • White Blood Cell proliferation in membrane and lining of GI tract resulting from allergen presence releases inflammatory compounds that cause GI tract to become more permeable, prompting upward spiral in immune activity and decreased nutrient absorption leading to immuno-deficiency

Stress and immunity

Stress stimulates SNS (sympathetic nervous system): Adrenaline and corticosteroids inhibit white blood cell formation and function and cause thymus gland to shrink

PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) enhances immune function: PNS dominates during rest, relaxation, visualization, meditation and sleep and potent immune-enhancing compounds released during deep sleep

Immune tips:

Mind Body therapy – this can include journal writing about stress full events in order to clear them, as well as journaling positive emotions.

Being creative, finding meaning in life, trying new things, having positive relationships and the possible use of psychotherapy can all be useful in boosting the immune system.

Meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis, relaxation, positive mental attitude all promote immune function and homeostasis.

Laughter: positive emotions enhance immune system

Immune System Suppressors:

Aging

Stress responses (work, social, financial), emotional and psychological experiences / trauma / extremes (eg low esteem, depression, loneliness, etc), lack of sleep

Allergies and infections

Chemicals in diet and environment leading either to direct damage on body cells (eg free radical) or toxic overload and impairment of liver break them down and excrete them, leading to their continued circulation in body and exposure of it to damage

Medical intervention: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and some antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and steroid medications having a direct, suppressive or side effect that is negative in terms of cellular, tissue and organ function

Drugs (illegal and legal: Alcohol, Nicotine)

Hormones (Cortisol, Adrenaline, Insulin)

Food:

  • Excess iron
  • Allergy foods
  • Inflammatory foods
  • Overeating, High saturated and vegetable Polyunsaturated fat intake, Sugar
  • Malnutrition and deficiencies in Vit A, C, E, B5, B6, B12, Folic acid, Zinc, Selenium, EFAs, Protein
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