Factors can act as immune suppressors and weaken body and predispose it to infection and cancer, diseases that further rob the body of energy and vitality. Similarly, overwork, multiple stresses, lack of rest or sleep, as well as lack of exercise depletes body of energy and vitality, leaving it more vulnerable to attack and with a reduced ability to defend itself. In effect imbalances in lifestyle and emotional / psychological factors lead to immune weakness.
Conversely, factors can strengthen the body and prepare it to deal effectively with immune suppressors. Nutrition plays a key role and detailed below are the most important ones.
Remove all food allergens. Allergens not only suppress the immune system, they also become critically dangerous during stress or infection. The danger centers on immune or adrenal systems becoming unregulated, inflammation and disease becoming chronic, and nutrient deficiency due to compromised and down-regulated absorptive capacities. Phyto-nutrient support from Withanolides in Ashwagandha and Curcumin in Turmeric can help regulate that inflammatory cascade (through inhibition of NF-kB and COX enzymes). However identification and removal of common allergens such wheat, gluten, corn, milk, dairy products and beef should be done first. And unfortunately for some people, this includes removing the nightshade-family foods (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers) as they can promote inflammatory in auto-immune conditions such as arthritis. Meanwhile ensure intake of probiotic fermented foods and prebiotic fibrous foods – to ensure Lower Intestinal health.
Phyto-nutrients Bromelain from Pineapple and Papain from Papaya both contain powerful digestive enzymes and are best eaten before a meal. Papain can also treat indigestion, allergies, chronic diarrhea, hay fever, sports injuries and other causes of trauma. And Bromelain is anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and can break down mucus in respiratory conditions.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen decrease immune prostacyclins that act in the GI tract to both protect and repair gut mucosal lining. And damage to this lining will increase GI permeability. Meanwhile other medical drugs can upset the balance of gut intestinal bacteria that leads to GI permeability. Upset caused to these bacteria will lead to and contribute to the formation of food intolerances and allergies, as well as dysbiosis of the colon.
Whole Food Diet
A whole food diet rich in fiber and whole grains, fruits and vegetables is best. This is to ensure the food eaten has all the nutrients inside that your body needs – that is, those nutrients haven’t been taken out during food refinement and processing. Furthermore, the fiber in whole food is essential for clearing out toxins and inhibiting the build-up of harmful bacteria. In doing so, those toxins and those bacteria are prevented from circulating in the body where they can trigger inflammatory disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Moderated sugar intake
Not only can sugar cause blood sugar problems, energy imbalances, weight problems and diabetes, it can also suppress the immune system. Fruits that have fiber as well as sugar are great for a quick snack, and there are numerous natural sweeteners such as honey.
Moderate intake of saturated fat (from white and red meats) is needed for immune health. But an excess of them is pro-inflammatory, immuno-suppressive and implicated in increasing the risk of cardio-vascular diseases. The key is to balance and (when ill) replace saturated fat intake (and Omega 6 Polyunsaturated fat intake from vegetable sources) with Omega 3 fats. These fats are so essential for homeostatic cellular function that they have been seen in studies to reprogram patients’ immune systems and relieve them of pain and the need for medications. In effect Omega 3 oils help regulate the immune system and chronic inflammatory disorders. In addition, Omega 9 fats found in Olive Oil have anti-inflammatory effects. The best sources of Omega 3 oils are ground Flax seed and deep water fish such as Salmon and Halibut.
Eating sufficient but not excessive protein (from sources such as fish, lean poultry, lean cuts of meat, whey protein and soy isolate) is essential for forming defensive immune compounds such as White Blood Cells and antibodies. Protein also makes Glutathione that is abundant in White Blood Cells and elevated Glutathione levels enhance immune function (and also enhance liver health). Individual amino acids such as L-Arginine stimulate thymus activity and the number and activity of T lymphocytes. And amino acid glutamine boosts the immune function and helps fight infection in endurance athletes and critically ill patients: Glutamine is rich in whey protein. Required enzyme co-factors for protein use in immune enhancement are Vitamins B6, B5, Folic acid, and the minerals Magnesium and Zinc.
Anti-oxidant and phyto-nutrient support:
Diseases can be genetic triggered by Free Radical damage to cellular DNA and RNA. Conversely, those genetic predisposing factors diseases may be modulated and the expression of them suppressed by Anti-oxidant and phyto-nutrient intervention. Anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients also have a wide range of immuno-supportive roles with use in preventing, treating and curing a wide range of diseases such as cancer. And it is important to note that these natural compounds have synergistic effects, enhancing isolated effects when working in combination with each other (e.g. Vitamin C being boosted by Carotenes).
The nutrients that will support immune function are Bioflavonoids, Carotenes, Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and Folic acid, and the mineral Selenium. Added is the judicious intake of Iodine, Copper, Iron and Zinc (considering the possibilities of them off-setting each other in absorption or having immuno-suppressive effects if taken in excess).