INCREASING IMMUNITY THROUGH NATURAL METHODS


Originally Written by: Rona, Zoltan, M.D., M.Sc.

Dr. Rona is one of the most well known holistic doctors in Canada. He is a graduate of McGill University, and also has completed a master’s degree in biochemistry and clinical nutrition. He is past president of the Canadian Holistic Medical Association. He has written several books on health, including The Joy of Health and Return to the Joy of Health, as well as numerous articles for magazines and medical journals.

The basic function of the white blood cells and the immune system is to gobble up foreign invaders, bacteria, viruses and parasites. There are many ways you can stimulate the immune system to do this in a better way and there are many ways you can suppress it. Emotional and spiritual factors, a positive mental attitude, self-esteem, visualization, relaxation, yoga, breathing exercises and meditation all have a very good effect on immunity. You should have a healthy diet and adequate digestive function. Digestive enzymes like bromelain, papain and trypsin are important to help digest food and eliminate the bacteria, parasites and viruses that come in our food supply. Immune system suppressors weaken the immune system’s ability to fight cancer, infections and allergies. Things like alcohol, aging, chemicals (particularly phenol, formaldehyde, and hydrocarbons), silver-mercury dental fillings, air and water pollution, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are all immunosuppressive. Prescription drugs like cortisone and steroids, the birth control pill, antibiotics, recreational drugs, marijuana (when  smoked, not ingested), nicotine, cigarette smoking, cocaine and amphetamines all suppress the immune system. Lifestyle habits, lack of sleep, airplane travel, stress, depression, overeating, high fat diet, excessive iron, malnutrition, particularly in protein and vitamins and trace minerals like selenium, zinc and essential fatty acids are also immunosuppressive. Lately it has been shown in medical literature that excessive iron in the system has an immune suppressant effect and may actually increase your risk for both cancer and heart disease.

SUGAR A neglected and often forgotten immune system suppressor is sugar. Ingestion of 100 grams of simple carbohydrate (sucrose, glucose, fructose, honey, or even orange juice) significantly reduces the ability of the neutrophils of the white cells to engulf and destroy bacteria. In addition, ingestion of 75 grams of glucose depresses lymphocyte activity. This starts approximately 30 minutes after ingestion and lasts over five hours. In contrast, 100 grams of starch or complex carbohydrates has no adverse effects. This was reported by Sanchez in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1973. In other words, if you eat a lot of sugar, you end up with a suppressed immune system. One way you can treat yeast problems is to eliminate sugar. A study by Horowitz and Horowitz (1984) showed that women with recurrent Candida vaginitis had a higher dietary sugar intake and higher urinary sugar. So if you are bothered by vaginal yeast infections or yeast overgrowth in the gut, you must avoid sugar.

HERBS Herbs like astragalus, garlic, licorice, echinacea, golden seal, ginseng, germanium, blue-green algae, bee pollen, bromelain, calendula, cayenne, chapparal and chlorella are all naturally occurring herbs and whole food products which are power-packed with a long list of nutrients. Echinacea is used for increased immunity and colds and flus. Garlic and onions have natural antibiotic and immune boosting effects. Seaweeds like kelp and dulse, Shitake and Maitake mushrooms, Tea Tree Oil and turmeric are all natural immune system boosters.

ESSIAC is a combination of burdock, sheep sorrel, Turkish rhubarb and slippery elm which helps boost the immune system and prevents cancer and other serious illnesses. It has been used in the treatment of peptic ulcers, colds and flus, hemorrhoids and colitis.

SPIRULINA is a whole food compound which has a lot of protein and a long list of vitamins and minerals. It has been used to help weight control and lower cholesterol and to normalize blood sugar. It also has many compounds which improve the immune system.

ALOE VERA contains many mucopolysaccharides, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which have a tremendously potent effect on the immune system. The best type is the whole leaf cold process type which has about eight times the potency of other types. Its effectiveness has been well documented in the treatment of burns, sun damage, acne, bacterial infections and parasitic infections. It has astringent properties and it stops bleeding. It is very good for the treatment of abrasions, ulcers, inflammation and fungi.

LICORICE ROOT increases the fluidity of mucous from the lungs and bronchial tubes. It stimulates the flow of saliva, has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective in the treatment of ulcers and gastritis. It does improve immunity and can be used as a general immune system tonic and is effective in the treatment of anything that causes adrenal exhaustion, including low blood sugar attacks, chronic fatigue and viral conditions.

SAW PALMETTO BERRY has diarrhetic properties. It is very well known as a urinary antiseptic. It has traditionally been used for treating prostate enlargement and prostate infections. Lately there have been some reports that it helps prevent prostate cancer. It also aids in sexual potency.

PARSLEY is another immune system modulator, very effective for viruses, flus and colds. It’s antibacterial and has been used in the treatment of bronchitis and pneumonia. It helps aid digestion and is very effective in the treatment of gas. It also has a beneficial effect on prostate problems and prostate enlargement. Parsley has a lot of carotenes, vitamin C, magnesium and it is a good source of iron.

ROYAL JELLY is very high in vitamins and mineral content, has an antibacterial activity and also improves the immune system.

BEE POLLEN is very good for people with allergies. It also treats chronic prostatitis and seems to help urinary flow. It may reduce the symptoms of radiation sickness in cancer treatment, and is often used to treat fatigue, depression and boost immunity.

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS like evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil and olive oil support the immune system.

AMINO ACIDS such as arginine, ornithine, carnitine, cysteine, glutathione, lysine and taurine are parts of the building blocks of protein. They are tremendously important; deficiencies in these amino acids frequently produce immune system weakness.

You don’t have to take all these things but certainly you can experiment and some people combine them together in different teas.

ANTIOXIDANTS Antioxidants or free radical scavengers react with oxygen to stabilize free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules due to their electrons being out of spin balance. Free radicals are created by things like tobacco smoke, alcohol, air pollution, food additives, pesticides, sunlight, and X-rays, and they cause a chain reaction which leads to injury, tumours and cell death. In order to protect ourselves against free radicals we can take things like antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants are produced in our bodies and some come from outside.

BETA CAROTENE is one of the best known of the antioxidants, and is found primarily in plants. It is known to destroy carcinogens, and helps to promote healthy bones, teeth and skin. It protects against ultraviolet radiation. It converts to vitamin A with the help of zinc and thyroid hormone, so people who don’t convert beta carotene into vitamin A end up with a deep carrot coloured pigment in their hands and soles of their feet. It is non toxic, and you can’t really overdose on beta carotene, but you can overdose on vitamin A obviously. The best source of beta carotene is carrots.

VITAMIN C is a very potent stimulator of the immune system. It is especially effective in the treatment of allergies. If you take high enough doses of vitamin C, it acts like an antihistamine-decongestant when you push the dose up to where you almost get diarrhea. That is the bowel tolerance dose. Studies show that vitamin C lowers cholesterol. It helps convert tyrosine into adrenaline. It helps prevent aging, cancer, heart disease and is important in all connective tissue functions. It is synergistic with bioflavonoids.

SELENIUM is one of the most important of the anti-oxidants. It works together with vitamin E. It protects the immune system by preventing the formation of free radicals. It helps maintain the heart and the thyroid, and it is known to destroy carcinogens. Animal studies have shown that in high enough doses it actually destroys tumours. It promotes healthy bones, teeth and skin. There are all kinds of studies that prove that together with beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, it helps prevent cancer and reduces the risk of cancer from 20 to 40%. However, it is possible to overdose with selenium; anything above 600 micrograms per day could be toxic.

VITAMIN E Vitamin E is known to prevent fat and cell membrane rancidity. It also enhances the immune response. But you have to be careful with vitamin E; if you take more than 2,000 units per day, you actually cause a weakening in the immune response. I don’t recommend that healthy people take more than between 400 and 800 units per day. However, if you are a smoker, you may want to take about 1,200 units or more. If you have an autoimmune connective tissue disease like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, massive doses of vitamin E can dampen the overactive immune response. You may want to take about 2,000 units. Vitamin E improves oxygen utilization and it has been documented to lower heart disease risk as much as 46% in men and 26% in women. Together with iodine and other nutrients, it helps reduce fibrocystic breast disease.

COENZYME Q10 is one of the most potent of all antioxidants. It has had a lot of publicity because of its use in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or fibromyalgia. Doses of between 150 to 200 mg. daily for approximately six weeks helps in reversing many of the symptoms. Q10 is involved in 95% of the cells’ metabolic reactions. It has additional benefits of lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and stabilizing heart conditions. In fact it is a very effective treatment for angina pain. It is useful for improving fatigue, thought processes, muscular function and cardiac complaints. A threshold effect occurs, and it may take five to six weeks for full benefit. We recommend 90 to 200 mg. daily for a five to six week trial. It is fairly pricey, so you may not want to go beyond that, and if it is not really working for you after five or six weeks, it is not likely to later on.

ZINC is important for hair, skin and nails, for the health of the prostate gland, and it’s very important for the immune system in preventing colds, flus, allergies and cancer. It is tremendously important in reproduction and gonadal function. Wound healing, growth, mood, thinking, memory, behaviour and eating disorders all respond to zinc therapy.

FOLIC ACID In young women, folic acid deficiency is associated with changes in the lining of the cervix identified with pre-cancer. In other words, it is very important in protecting women against cervical cancer. That has been established. Some good sources are dark green leafy vegetables, beets, cabbage and other greens.

IODINE is also tremendously important for preventing cancer. It protects against breast cancer in particular. Iodine converts estradiol, the pro-cancer estrogen into estriol, which has anti-cancer effects. It has long been known that fibrocystic breast disease responds nicely to iodine treatment, and in many cases, taking large amounts of kelp or dulse helps shrink fibrocystic lumps or cystic breasts. It is needed for energy metabolism and proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Some good sources of iodine are kelp, dulce and other sea vegetables. Bladder rack is a type of seaweed, and it is high in iodine as well as other trace minerals like silicon, selenium, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B12.

TEA TREE OIL is a broad spectrum antiseptic. It has potent effects against fungi, bacteria and parasites. It is usually used topically for treatment of acne, blisters and athlete’s foot. You can use it to inhale in a vapourizer. It helps with bronchitis, cold sores, wounds, boils, burns and insect bites and it is helpful for sore throats. You can gargle with it. It is effective against Candida infections. It seems to penetrate the skin a lot better than water soluble types of treatments and it doesn’t burn the skin.

LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS AND BIFIDUS These normal gut flora are effective because they help synthesize vitamins like biotin, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, B2 and vitamin K. Normal gut flora also helps you synthesize the short chain fatty acids which are protective against the development of bowel cancer. Lactobaccillus helps to degrade various toxins and xenobiotics and chemicals we find in our food, air and water. It helps prevent the colonization of the gut by parasites and Candida and other pathogens and helps stimulate the normal immune response. It helps control high cholesterol levels and prevent infection, cancer, allergies and many immune system problems.

MALABSORPTION If you don’t digest your food well, and your absorption is faulty, then it is quite possible that you may run into some problems with your health despite the fact that you are taking a long list of vitamins, minerals, and herbs. For example, if you have inadequate amounts of hydrochloric acid secreted by your stomach, a long list of symptoms can occur directly from this. As we get older, into our fifties, sixties and seventies, the amount of hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach decreases and as a result a lot of foods do not get completely digested. Protein doesn’t get broken down as well as it should, and you get symptoms like bloating, gas and flatulence immediately after meals, indigestion, either diarrhea or constipation but most commonly constipation. Other symptoms of malabsorption include abdominal cramps, weight loss, greasy stools, easy bruisability, anemia and increased intestinal permeability. Conditions associated with low gastric acidity which can indicate you are lacking hydrochloric acid are acne, iron deficiency, chronic intestinal infections with parasites, Candida and bacteria. You can get weak or cracked fingernails – some people have vertical ridges in their fingernails often due to iron deficiency which is related to a lack of hydrochloric acid production. When you take hydrochloric acid into the system, the nail health and nail ridging improves. Many people who have injury to the gastrointestinal lining suffer from chronic Candida yeast infections, chronic auto-immune diseases, impotence infertility, muscle atrophy or cramps, and fatigue. Fatigue is very common. In fact, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is often associated with gastrointestinal malabsorption syndromes. Irritable bowel syndrome is a very difficult and chronic condition to treat. Recent research has shown that it may be associated with chronic parasitic infections. Blastocystis hominis which has been considered to be a non-pathogenic parasite amoeba, has been found in 80% of the cases of irritable bowel syndrome, and sometimes other parasites too. You would think that in North America we wouldn’t be subject to this, but we are finding more and more of our food is contaminated, our water supply has been contaminated, and there seem to be a growing number of cases of parasites discovered all across Canada and the United States. There are signs and symptoms that may alert you to parasites, although not everyone who has these symptoms has parasites. You may have chronic abdominal problems, pain or cramps, colitis, allergies, foul smelly stools, irregular bowel movements, rashes that come and go, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, intermittent fevers, gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rectal bleeding, weight loss, even arthritis.

How can we diagnose these things? Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory in the U.S. has a test called a Comprehensive Stool and Digestive Analysis, which checks for a variety of different bowel function problems through a stool test. For example, hydrochloric acid insufficiency, pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, bile deficiency, food allergy, intestinal hypermotility, parasitic infections, occult blood, Candida overgrowth, the presence of lactobacillae, pathogenic bacteria, the presence of blastocystis hominis, giardia, entamoeba coli and trachuria, and it is predictive for colon cancer because it also measures butyric acid.

PARASITES What do you do if you have parasites? There are a lot of natural things you can take which have a strong antiparasitic affect, including aloe vera juice, golden seal, betaine and pepsin hydrochloride, glutamic acid, and other acidifiers, stomach bitters like Swedish Bitters, wormwood, black walnut and cloves (as discussed in Hulda Clarke’s book). Essiac, which is a combination of slippery elm, burdock, Turkish rhubarb and sheep sorrel is also effective against parasites, as is garlic, onions and grapefruit seed extract. You don’t have to take all of these things, but some people respond to one or more or a combination of them.

Advertisements

~ by 619 on November 11, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: