The immune system can function better by supporting it in two ways: “Protecting it from environmental threats” and “Boosting it with natural strategies”. Here are some simple ways we’ve found to boost immunity.
Protect Your Immune System by Avoiding These Environmental Threats
- Toxic Mold – Toxic mold is not just a new buzz word, it’s been around since the beginning of time and humans are just not paying attention to the detrimental effects that is has on human beings. Check out our friends over at SurvivingToxicMold.com and you’ll learn all about the toxic effects of being exposed to this nasty stuff. They’ll help you figure out if you’re being exposed and how to get rid of it.
- Smoking and Tobacco Use – Surgeon Generals warnings have only recently in the last 50 years been headed regarding smoking and how it can attack your immune system’s ability to fight off nasty pathogens. This includes also second hand smoke so make sure you stay clear of smoking, smoke filled buildings and other’s who are puffing the “no-no”. ( Smoking negatively affects immune system)
- Avoid all Chemicals – We are living in a modern sesspool of chemicals and it’s only going to get worse. We can’t control the chemicals that corporations and businesses are releasing into the outside air around us but we can control what we bring into our homes and put in our bodies.
- Stop using Chemical Cleaners and replace them with less toxic versions. Some of our favorites are Seventh Generation, Better Life, and Grab Green.
- Stop buying furniture that uses harmful chemicals in their production processes and opt for safer choices like cotton linens and mattresses, bamboo products, glass and porcelain. Always check the manufacturer to make sure you know what you are buying. Most home products put off dangerous chemicals called VOC’s that can wreak havoc on the immune system and cause reactions, autoimmune disorders and the worst, cancers!
- Avoid toxic soaps and body washes on your skin and opt for natural versions like Goat’s Milk Soaps or homemade versions made with essential oils and beneficial oils that nourish your skin not irritate it. Remember you skin is a huge defense for your immune system so take care of it.
- Avoid exposure to heavy metals – We don’t normally think of heavy metals as immune suppressors but according to many studies they are indeed one of the worst offenders to the immune system.
- Viruses & Bacteria – The most obvious environmental trigger that lowers immunity are viruses and bacteria but did you know you can limit your exposure to them by doing just a few conscious things each day like:
- Clean your home with essential oils
- Diffuse essential oils in your home to kill bacteria and viruses
- Wash bed linens and towels weekly
- Keep touched surfaces clean with plain old hydrogen peroxide. We suggest buying a spray nozzle and keeping several hydrogen peroxide bottles under sinks and in closets that you can use throughout the week.
- Wash your hands often throughout the day and every time you use the bathroom to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.
- Lack of Sleep – There have been many studies that link the lack of sleep to lowered immunity. Keep a steady pattern of going to bed between the hours of 8-10pm to avoid having too much stress put on your adrenals and sleep at least 8-9 good hours per night.
- Avoiding Sunlight – Against what is popular, the sun is actually GOOD FOR YOU. Just like anything including water too much can be harmful. Avoid using toxic sunscreens that contain cancer causing chemicals and make sure you are out in the sun at least a min of 30 minutes per day in direct contact with your skin. Getting a daily dose of sun can increase your Vitamin D levels which can be directly related to increased immunity.
- Toxic Water – Stay away from bottled water that contain xenoestrogen-causing chemicals and tap water. Instead Find a Local Spring or Filter your own tap water using Berkey Water Filtration Systems in your home. Remember water can have a lot of unwanted pathogens that can harm your immune system instead of building it up.
- Processed, Chemically Contaminated and Genetically Modified foods – We all know that food can either build your immune system or tear it down. Each day you have the choice to eat good nourishing foods or you can make bad choices by choosing to compromise your immunity by choosing that quick processed version. You might be thinking, “I don’t want to spend that extra .75 cents on the organic version but if you knew exactly what pesticides, namely glyphosate are doing to your body .75 cents is a good investment into good immune system function. Genetically modified foods are just making their debut in the world of paid studies and the studies look pretty bad. Too bad American agriculture put the cart before the horse on the GMO industry and started using humans as guinea pigs. Learn about GMO’s and how they can effect your health.
- Being Sedentary – Sitting around or laying around too much can increase your chances of getting sick and lowers your immune systems defense. Get up, move and stay active even if it’s cleaning around the house or organizing and running errands.
- Allowing Stress to Control You – Stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol has been shown in studies to reduce the immune system’s function. Whether it’s your boss at work, time crunches or the kids are stressing you out..find ways to relieve that stress like taking a walk, listening to music or meditating in nature.
Here Are Some Simple “Natural” Ways To Boost Your Immune System:
Some researchers, from Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina, published results in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. They studied a group of 1002 healthy adults aged from 18 to 85 years, over a 12 week period during the US autumn and winter seasons in 2008. They found that the link between exercise and increased immunity causes a transient increase in immune system activity, increasing the numbers of white blood cells and immunoglobulin in the blood, which acts to reduce a person’s susceptibility to disease. The people who exercised regularly had lower levels of stress hormones in the blood, and there is a definite link between low levels of stress hormones and improved immunity.
Extracts of echinacea have positive actions on the immune system which is your body’s defense against germs. In research studies it has shown it increases the number of white blood cells, which fight infections. Keeping some on hand is always a good idea.
Sitting in the Sun – to increase Vitamin D
Vitamin D has additional roles beyond it’ effects on calcium and bone homeostasis. … Vitamin D can effect the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. The best way to get Vitamin D is to expose large parts of your skin to the sun for 15-30 minutes every day. Exposing your skin to longer periods of time can be harmful so if you are going to be out in the sun longer than 30 minutes make sure you cover your skin with long pants or shirts or wear a hat to protect your neck and face. If you do not have access to the sun it is best to consume 4,000IU’s or more per day of Vitamin D3, which is the form that is absorbed the most.
Apply Essential oils that boost immunity
Essential Oils are made from the bark, leaves or stems of plants and carry valuable medicinal compounds that are able to benefit the body. Each essential oil carries their own specific properties and many oils have the ability to boost the immune system.
One of the most effective ways for you to absorb essential oils into the body is by diffusing them into the air with an essential oil diffuser. This is where the term, Aromatherpay comes from. When you diffuse immune supportive essential oils on a daily basis it helps defend your body against pathogens.
By inhaling, breathing in, or diffusing the oils into the air, the oils get absorbed directly into the lungs. There they are quickly absorbed into the blood stream when they cross the airway/capillary system.
In Aromatherpy, as it pertains to immune system reactions, oils are divided into two groups with two responses. The first group of essential oils increase activity in different parts of your immune system. Essential Oils in this group are Bay laurel, Cinnamon leaf, Eucalyptus globulus, Frankincense, Oregano and Sage. This first group of essential oils are considered to be strong and are suggested to be used when you have been exposed to viruses or other disease producing organisms.
This second group of oils, as it pertains to the effect on the immune system, are considered oils that may help your body build up your immune system so they are more preventative rather than acute treatment or infections. They help keep your white blood cells in production according to Kathi Kevilles’ book Aromatherapy for Dummies.
Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Myrrh, Pine needle, Sandalwood, Tea Tree, Thyme – linalool and Vetiver. Kathi states in her Aromatherpay for Dummies Book that these essential oils work with the body to fight infection and to help it heal itself.
In controlled studies researchers have found evidence that mindfulness meditation has an influence on some select parameters in a manner that supports human health and well-being and reflects in the immune profile. Specifically, mindfulness mediation showed evidence to be associated with the reduction in proinflammatory processes, an increase in cell-mediated defense parameters, and an increase in enzyme activity that guard against cell aging. If this isn’t enough evidence that just slowing down and purposely choosing to meditate doesn’t benefit your immune system, we’re not sure what other evidence we need. The question becomes, “How do I effectively meditate”.
HOW TO MEDITATE
- You can either sit or lie down in a comfortable position. If you want to make this a part of your every day habit you can purchase a meditation chair.
- Close your eyes.
- Try not to focus on controlling your breath; just breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
- If you are meditating inside you can choose scripture readings, nature or creation or focus on the being of “The Creator”.
Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
In the world of holistic health the use of Black Elderberry has been commonly used to support the immune system. There is substantial lab and clinical evidence (R1, R2) that elderberry boosts the immune system and protects against getting ill. Some of these clinically proven effects are: Enhanced Cytokine Levels, A boost in the amount of antioxidants and it’s ability to slow down the effects of a virus.
Dry Brush your Lymphatic System
Dry skin brushing is a method of massaging the lymphatic system, which is an important part of the immune system. The lymphatic system’s main function is to collect and transport waste to the blood. When the immune system is working hard to fight unwanted pathogens it sends them to the lymphatic system and the lymphatic system helps to detox them out of the body. So without the relationship between immune system and lymph you have dysfunction and the chance for toxicity and illness to thrive. You’ll need a special brush to dry brush your skin. Using brushes that are too harsh that break the skin are not safe as they can cause tiny cuts and cause infections.
Take Colloidal Silver
In studies, colloidal silver demonstrated a non-toxic effect on immune system cells and its ability to interfere with the immune response by decreasing cell proliferation when stimulated with mitogens, suggesting that colloidal silver can be considered as an immunosuppressive agent. (R1) With antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, silver is re-emerging as a modern effective medicine because all pathogenic organisms are failing to develop an immunity to it which is a beautiful thing. When buying colloidal silver make sure that you are looking for a product that carries a small PPM (parts per million) as you want the particles to be as small a possible. One brand that is widely trusted is “Sovereign Silver” brand.
Ginger root is one of those amazing creations of the world that supply multiple immune system benefits. Several of these benefits are brain protection, cancer prevention, anti-viral and anti-bacterial in nature.
Some of the brain benefits were published in a study in 2012 in an issue of the journal “Neuropharmacology”. They cultured brain tissue and found that one of the active properties in ginger called (6-shogaol), actually prevented damage to the microglia, which are immune supporting cells in the brain. They also found that it triggered activation of certain genes that cause a pro-inflammatory enzyme that some (steroidal drugs) target.
Ginger has also been proven in studies to inhibit some forms of cancer. One of those studies was published in a July 2011 issue of thhe “Official Journal of the Balkan Union of Oncology”. They study revealed that Ginger provided a non-toxic activation of the immune system that prevented cancer from forming, killed existing cancer cells as well as prevented it from spreading.
Ginger also works in amazing ways with other plants like garlic and lime to create an anti-bacterial powerhouse against antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, a bacterium that causes intestinal and food-borne illness. According to lab results you must mix an equal portion of all 3 to get the antibacterial benefits.