Immune is a term that reflects that you are protected, resistant… invulnerable. And believe it or not, our bodies do a remarkable job on their own. To put into perspective, think that it has been calculated that we have more bacteria in our bodies than human cells, so technically we are vehicles of other living organisms more than humans. By nature, all these organisms don’t have any control, and if left alone, would outgrow even their own environment and host by itself. But don’t worry, we have innate mechanisms in our bodies to keep them in check. Even when a more aggressive organism tries to take over one of our organs we need our own defense system to aid even if we would be using the strongest of the antibiotics.
What we have recently learned, is that certain cancers can be the result of a failure on the regulation of those immune checkpoints, and working in correcting these important defense mechanisms can be an effective treatment for cancer and many other conditions.
The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. Either too much function or to little function could be a problem. The objective of this blog is to talk about the important concept of having the “force within us” and finding out how to manipulate it to improve our daily lives or even aid in the treatment and recovery of many conditions.
There is a widespread unfamiliarity with the concept that stress, of any kind, can decrease our immunity by elevating certain substances in our bodies such as cortisol. Even though there is a reason for that to occur under acute special situations but on a chronic basis it can be detrimental to our health.
HOW TO FUEL OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
This bring us to our first line of defense which is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
Eating nourishing foods rich in certain vitamins can help your immune system fight illnesses. The main problem is fitting in our daily habit all the nutrients and minerals needed to keep all the cogwheels of the system working well, hence my usual recommendation is that unless you are certain to be getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, you may want to consider taking a multivitamin with minerals.
Most Americans fail to meet dietary recommendations for many reasons, including strict dieting, poor appetite, changing nutritional needs, or less-than-healthy food choices. Taking a once-daily multivitamin is an uncomplicated way to fill in small nutritional gaps.
Once the main nutritional gaps are met we can then focus on how to enhance our immunity. There are countless literature reports on certain compounds in our diet that might increase certain types of herbal products that might do just that. Over the past several years studies ranging from basic bench research, animal studies and even human trials have shown that astragalus, turmeric, milk thistle among other can have a regulatory effect on the T lymphocytes that are the managers of the immune system.
We could envision in the future that after having certain parameters of the immune system evaluated, instead of going straight for the big guns of pharmaceuticals a small dose something like elderberry might all that is needed for that cold that is taking over the enjoyment of winter.
But again, bear in mind the elderberry or any other herbals mentioned are not doing anything on their own; they are working with our own body’s immune system, because the force is strong inside of us.
May the force be always within you and when it is not, may you find the herbs, vitamins and minerals to boost it.
Mike Cusnir – OR Supplements
By Dr. Mike Cusnir. Specializing in Hematology/Oncology, Dr. Mike Cusnir has been in practice for more than 15 years. As a graduate of the Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology from the University of Maryland, Greenebaum Cancer Center (Baltimore, Maryland), oncologist Dr. Cusnir brings top notch experience in the scientific filed. Dr. Cusnir is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Medical Oncology and the American Board of Hematology.
Dr. Mike Cusnir’s Committment to Integrative Medicine
Dr. Mike Cusnir is also making integrative medicine a part of his practice by graduating from the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine in October of 2012. This fellowship, created by Andrew Weil, MD in 2000, has achieved international recognition as the leading integrative medical education program in the world. He has authored and published multiple peer review articles on the field and he has also presented his research in the most prestigious American and European medical meetings. He has completed the first clinical study of the benefits of miracle fruit for cancer patients whose chemotherapy drugs leave an unpleasant taste in their mouth. His research has gained the attention of major media outlets being featured, among many other, on CNN and The New York Times. You can connect with Dr. Mike Cusnir on Twitter.