We are currently in the middle of a rare and dreadful pandemic. Anytime I want to talk about things we can do to protect ourselves from these scary times, I begin by reminding my friends, family members and customers that I am a Naturopathic Doctor, not a Medical Doctor. As such we discuss body systems and do not seek to diagnose, cure or treat any named diseases. So, I am not trying to tell you how to prevent or “cure” any diseases – current pandemics, or even common diseases. Your body has a system to help you stay healthy, even in times of environmental stress. It is the immune system, and I simply want to help you understand some things that you can do to keep your immune system strong and active so that it will be better able to protect you in such times.
In a blog we did several years ago, I stated that “your immune system is made up of many body parts with big names like bone marrow, tonsils, spleen, thymus, and a subsystem called the lymphatic system with its many lymph “nodes” (collection points).” You can look back on our website at the blog entitled “A Child’s View of the Immune System” to get those details.
The bottom line is that the body has a system to protect you from the adverse effects of all kinds of pathogens. Let’s define “pathogen”. Directly from the web, I found this definition: “In biology, a pathogen, in the oldest and broadest sense, is anything that can produce disease. A pathogen may also be referred to as an infectious agent, or simply a germ”. We often refer to some common pathogens as bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungi, poisons, parasites, …, anything not natural to the body which could result in disease if not killed, eliminated, or simply passed on.
So, it stands to reason that the stronger and healthier our immune systems are, the better they will perform these functions. The next logical question then is “how do I keep my immune system strong?” I have a few ideas.
- Dr. Joel Wallach, the Father of modern supplementation for humans, made a list several years ago of some 90+ nutrients that your body needs every day to perform all of its required functions. I did a blog several years ago on his complete lecture, but for purposes here I’ll just reiterate that he said “if you die before the age of 120, you’ll either die of an accident or a nutritional deficiency.” Therefore, it makes sense that a great place to start is to ensure you’re getting as many of these nutrients each day as possible. An absolute minimum would be a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement!
- Just as your house collects clutter and needs regular cleaning, so does your body. Normal, less-than-perfect lifestyles necessitate regular body cleansing. Such a regimen is essential to good health. Next week, I’ll talk about a “whole body” cleanse that I like and personally use twice a year. Again, a great place to start.
- Exercise regularly. Several body systems need movement to perform their functions. I recently read a medical article that declared that “a sedentary lifestyle is the new cancer.” It referred to the increase in disease which can be attributed to our just “doing nothing.”
- Learn your genetics. You may need to be taking supplements to counteract family genetic weaknesses. I take a number of things for my heart because most of my family have died of heart failure. My cardiologist told me this has already once saved my life!
- I don’t know who introduced the statement “cleanliness is next to Godliness”, but I understand the thought behind it. Clean lifestyles are also necessary. We live in a dirty, polluted world. We overtax our body’s immune systems by not taking better care of ourselves. Bathing, brushing your teeth, washing your hands regularly, and other common hygiene habits are necessary. Look at the differences in health conditions and life expectancy figures between our country and many countries where even simple water sources aren’t available.
There are many herbs, teas, supplements and essential oils to assist your body in putting up a good fight against those pathogens that would make you ill. But daily attention to our overall health and good health habits, including good nutrition, plenty of rest and exercise, and adjustments of unhealthy lifestyles and habits, will often “win the day”. Work at staying healthy and you won’t have to work so hard to get well.
Give your body a “fighting chance”. Give it the tools to strengthen your immune system, so it can fight the common pathogens in our own environments and keep us healthy.
Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Alternative Health Clinic and Market, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit thehealthpatch.com.