Health News – Sushma Shah, Naturopathic Doctor
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Building And Maintaining Our Immunity – Our Bodies’ Greatest Defense System

Immune System

Immunity – Our Greatest Defence System

Our immune system is our army of soldiers of different ranks that help maintain balance and structure within the body when there is invasion of any unfavorable particulates in our body. When our immunity is suppressed or weakened we are more susceptible to infections and cancer! Hyper immunity, which is the opposite of a suppressed or weakened immune system, seems to be more prevalent these days and one of the main symptoms is allergies.  In autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus erythematous, our immune system makes antibodies to our own body tissues that cause inflammation, pain, or malfunction of those organs and tissues.

Living a healthy lifestyle with a positive attitude will support the body to optimal health such as getting the necessary nutrients, taking time to relax, recreate and not block or weaken our natural energy circulation due to various immune system suppressors.


Boosting Your Immune System Naturally

The following suggestions would definitely benefit individuals suffering from chronic fatigue, are susceptible to viral infections, or any individuals with a repeated illness or infection.

  1. The avoidance of chemicals and other factors listed in the immune suppressor list* below may also help minimize immune function weaknesses. Stress and emotions are definitely concerns for weakening the immunity. Care in lifestyle, diet, and supplements are very important.
  1. A rotating diet without the regular use of dairy products, wheat, corn, sugar, yeast or any other foods that one may be allergic or intolerant should be avoided.
  1. Wholesome foods that are free of chemicals and pesticides are best. Care must be taken in the prevention of food being exposed to microorganisms, including parasites, as they have a very negative influence on our immune health. Avoiding chemicals in foods and chemical consumptions, such as alcohol, caffeine, cocaine, marijuana, and nicotine promotes optimal health.
  1. Adequate amounts of certain vitamins are very important for proper protein production. Essential fatty acids are also required for healthy cells and tissue. However, excess protein and saturated fats clog the vascular and lymphatic systems and may also suppress the immune system. Diets that consist of detoxing and fasting may strengthen the immune functions and reduce immune overload and reactions as they may be seen in allergies, infections, or autoimmune problems such as rheumatoid arthritis. In reducing the intake of allergenic substances and cleaning allergenic materials from the body can reduce symptoms and allow the T lymphocytes (a specific type of white blood cell) to restore their balance and reduce hyperactivity.


It is very important to prevent vitamin deficiencies and also eating foods that are high various immune boosting nutrients.  Basic multiple supplements for immune enhancement can be useful that provide adequate amounts of antioxidants, however, it would be best to talk to you naturopathic doctor before starting any supplements at all.


Immune System Suppressor List*

  • Aging
  • Allergies: Pollens, Dust, Food
  • Infections:   Virus’s, Bacteria, Yeasts and fungi, Parasites
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Drugs: Cortisone and other steroids, Anti-inflammatories, Adrenalin, Insulin
  • Lack of sleep
  • Airplane travel
  • Stress: Social, Work, Financial, Emotional extremes, Depression, Loneliness
  • Overeating
  • High-fat diet including excess (PUFAs)
  • Sugar
  • Excess iron
  • Malnutrition (especially in infants and elderly)
  • Nutrient deficiencies: vitamins A, C, and E, B vitamins, especially B5, folic acid, B6, and B12, zinc and selenium, essential fatty, protein
  • Chemicals in diet and environment: phenol and formaldehyde, hydrocarbons, air/water pollution
  • Drugs, recreational: marijuana, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines
  • Alcohol


Immunologic Problems Related To Specific Nutrient Deficiencies In The Body

Vitamin A       Reduced cellular immunity, slow tissue healing, increased infection rate, lowered IgA levels (which affect defense at the Mucous membranes).

Vitamin C        Decreased phagocyte function, reduced cellular protection, and slow wound healing.

Vitamin E        Decreased antibody production and response; with selenium. Deficiency: lowered cell-membrane integrity.

Vitamin B5      Lowered humoral immunity, increased irritation of stress.

Vitamin B6      Lessened cellular immunity, slow energy metabolism.

Vitamin B12    Decreased lymphocyte proliferation and PMN bactericidal activity.

Folic Acid       Reduced blood cell production, perhaps increased cervical cancer.

Zinc                 Decreased T and B cell function and thymic hormones. Increased infection rates, and slow healing.

Iron                 Decreased cellular immunity and neutrophil activity. (Excess iron can also impair bactericidal activity.)

Selenium       With vitamin E deficiency, antibody response is lowered, increased cellular carcinogenesis.

Copper            Lowered resistance to infection.


* Adequate levels of these nutrients will support or enhance these immunological functions.

Before starting any supplements or vitamins, please talk to your naturopathic doctor. The information on this article is not intended to treat or cure any health issues.

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