Immune Power

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Immune Power

Empower your Immune System; it stands between you and certain death

It orchestrates repair of our injuries, shields us from viral, bacterial, fungal and parasite invading organisms, kills off damaged, malfunctioning and senescent cells, and prevents cancers of all types – we need it to work really well. On the other hand it can turn on us – destroying our joints, melting our flesh, dissolving our brains and ultimately launching us on the path to death…
Update on Knowledge of the Corona Virus

Update on Knowledge of the Corona Virus

Strategies for Surviving Covid-19 I take six newsletters on health from Integrative Physicians – doctors who specialize in treating root causes of diseases, not just the treatment of symptoms with drugs, but focus on overall health and prevention of disease. Three of...

Covid19 and Vitamin D status

Covid19 and Vitamin D status

What might be the correlation between Vitamin D blood levels and Covid19 severity? That question has been ringing in my brain since I noticed the death rates in New York vs those in Florida - is it a latitude issue like seen in MS and other autoimmune disease, meaning...

More on Vitamin D3 and Some Websites to Bookmark

I bought and downloaded a book titled "The Five Habits of Health Transformation" by Mike Adams who calls himself the Health Ranger. He runs a website called NewsTarget.com, a terrific site with a ton of information that, while not specifically aimed at seniors, is...

Immune Power and an Update on Shoulder Healing

We added another category this week, focused on various elements of the immune system and foods and supplements that support and enhance its function. What good is it to look good, seem fit, and yet be sick all the time . The category will feature articles on the...

It has been said that drugs don’t heal; the body heals itself – doctors and drugs just enable the process.

A powerful and well-tuned immune system is our #1 ally, and we want to nurture and strengthen it with loving care. As we age, the immune system weakens, and we need to support it in every way possible. Many nutrients enhance immune function. The milk infants receive from their mother contains several factors that establish and build immune function; whey proteins, colostrum, certain bacteria. Even bacteria in soil are important for immune system development. Some mushrooms have powerful immune stimulant properties. Certain fats are essential for immune operation. The immune system depends on the presence and health of bacterial cultures native to the human gut. If we kill them off with antibiotics all hell can break loose.

The list of immune-helpful foods is lengthy, and we will spend lots of space below compiling information to flesh out the details. But the most impactful place to start is with the levels of Vitamin D in our blood and tissues, especially as we age, Vitamin D becomes critical.

Vitamin D is actually a hormone, made in our skin from cholesterol by exposure to Ultra-Violet energy in sunlight. We know that over a thousand cell types have receptors for vitamin D, effecting 51 organs in the body, and it is fundamental to immune system function. Our modern understanding of vitamin D and its importance in health came from the experience and experimenting of Psychiatrist John J. Cannell beginning in the year 2000, at the Atascadero State Prison in California.  A year later he founded the Vitamin D Council to collect and publish research on Vitamin D. Our understanding of the critical importance of Vitamin D on immune function has exploded from that inception.

Low Vitamin D levels are associated with progression and severity of virtually all diseases of aging. Low Vitamin D levels cripple the immune system against foreign invaders. A class of antimicrobial peptides known as Cathelicidins, that kill fungi, bacteria, and viral pathogens by destroying their shells, cannot be made without vitamin D.

What are adequate levels of vitamin D? The primary test is the 25-OH- Vitamin D Test (25 hydroxy Vitamin D). The range considered adequate has climbed year by year, and now is considered to be optimum between 50 to 80 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl) of blood. I keep mine above 70 ng/dl year-round, because the “optimum” keeps going up.

Vitamin D and its metabolites are regulators of over 2000 genes, involved in the heath of bones and stem cell niches, arterial function, immune function, brain health and the health of nearly every organ of the body. Vitamin D only works optimally with the availability of co-factors magnesium, zinc and boron, and requires Vitamin K2 to marshal calcium into bones and teeth and out of soft tissues like arteries and joint spaces. Vitamin K2 is made by friendly bacteria in our guts, and is found in small quantities in some fermented foods (Gouda cheese and Natto for instance) but to get optimum levels it is best to take a supplement.

In the last year or so there have been a number of studies and authoritative reports that vitamin D (particularly the active form in the body – vitamin D3) has an immense impact on the operation of the human immune system. It has been shown to activate genes that ramp up the killing power of T-cells, and their effectiveness at protecting us from viruses, bacteria and fungi. It is also proving to be perhaps the most important immune factor in preventing a broad spectrum of cancer lines. Check out a recent Vitamin D3 Article. At the same time, several studies have shown that much of the world population suffers needlessly from vitamin D deficiency in the winter seasons, particularly seniors that spend most of their time indoors, and dark-skinned people in latitudes  distant from the equator.

On the other side of the coin, there are foods, drinks such as most soft-drinks and alcohol that, if overdone, will tank your immune system. One of the best ways to diminish your immune function is over-training – exercising too hard and too often for systemic recovery to occur.

Then too the immune system can become the enemy and start attacking our joints and organs. There are a whole class of nutritional factors called immunomodulators that have the ability to normalize the system and make it behave more correctly. They rev up some immune responses and tone down others; often correcting autoimmune diseases or decreasing symptoms.

There is some overlap in this topic and others – Hormone levels effect immune operation, most things that enhance immune function are foods, and could as well be under the Nutrition category. Some types of exercise boost immunity; others knock it for a loop. So bear with us as we attempt to unfold this massive yet incomplete body of information, and distill the practical things we can do to optimize your immune systems.

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