Immune Depressors to be Aware of:
…Long term courses of drugs: antacids reduce nutrient assimilation, antibiotics destroy friendly bacteria vital to GI immunity, anti-inflammatory drugs (like acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen) inhibit white cells that fight infection.
…Long term exposure to smoke, chemicals and pollutants put a strain on the body’s natural detoxification system and lead to genetic mutations that cause cancer.
…A diet high in chemicalized “non-food” foods: I call these foods “foods in a box,” that your body generally rejects or ignores. Fake fats like olestra that rob cancer-fighting carotenoids are especially disrupting.
…Repeated exposure to allergens (from foods, chemicals or environmental allergens) causes the immune system to take a dive because immune defenses are all channeled to deal with the allergen rather than to fight infection. (In turn, allergies are usually the result of impaired immunity.)
…A diet high in saturated fats, refined sugars or trans fats: Trans fats increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and decrease HDL (good) cholesterol, and are regularly found at high levels in women with breast cancer. Saturated fats interfere with prostaglandin E1 which regulates efficient T-cell activity. Excessively sugary foods suppress white blood cell activity for up to 5 hours!
…Low intake of protective, antioxidant and enzyme-rich fruits and vegetables.
…Excessive dieting or low nutrient intake which depresses interferon activity. Overeating also depresses immune response.
…A lifestyle low on rest. Natural killer cell activity is reduced by as much as 28% when sleep is cut by 4 hours (clinical tests at U. CA. San Diego School of Medicine).
…Having parents who smoke, drink to excess or abuse drugs. Children born to addicted parents have more genetic predisposition to illness and infections.
…Not being breast-fed as a child. Breast milk is rich in antibodies, essential fatty acids and interferon that strengthen a child’s developing immune system.
…A poor outlook on life or severe, long lasting depression. In addition, people who overextend themselves may be unusually susceptible to immune system malfunction.
Does Your Immune System Need A Boost?
It isn’t easy to measure immune health. Each one of us is different and the character of immune response varies widely. I’ve worked for years to develop ways people can communicate with their bodies. Here’s a personal quiz to monitor your immune status: If you answer yes to more than 3 of these questions, your immune system is probably sluggish.
1. Do you get long lasting, chronic infections, colds, respiratory problems or allergies? 2. Do you have or have you had in the past any immune-deficient diseases, like chronic fatigue syndrome, Hashimoto’s or fibromyalgia? 3. Do you have a history of malabsorption problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (I.B.S.), or chronic diarrhea or constipation? 4. Do you have diabetes or liver disease? 5. Do you have bouts of systemic candida or yeast infections that don’t seem to go away even after conventional treatments? 6. Do you have a skin disorder like adult acne or rosacea? 7. Have you recently undergone surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment? 8. Have you ever been the recipient of an organ transplant? 9. Have you undergone long-term treatment with antibiotics or steroid drugs? 10. Do you have periodontal disease? 11. Do you drink 2 or more drinks of hard alcohol 4 to 5 times a week or take recreational drugs on a regular basis? 12. Are you a smoker or are you exposed to second-hand smoke on a regular basis?