Winter is here. Is your Immune System ready?

Immune System Support – Winter Newsletter June 2017

Take special care in the cold weather months to support your body’s natural defence mechanisms against the trauma of colds, flus and other nasty viruses.

Nobody likes getting sick, and it always feels much worse coming down with a bug in the cold weather! Cold, wet and windy weather conditions can seasonally impact our immunity, however it is not only colds and flus of which we need to be wary.

If the immune system is weak and the initial defences have been infiltrated, a virus or pathogen can further weaken the body killing off healthy cells, contributing to inflammation, and potentially creating a cascade of other health problems, including increased cancer risk. Once the immune system steps into hyper alert and becomes over activated we face the risk of developing autoimmune system disorders.

Bhagirath Singh, scientific director of the Institute of Infection and Immunity in London, Ontario highlights that a number of common problematic health conditions are linked to viruses.
“Once inside a cell, they are tough to get rid of. They have a propensity to stay in your system and cause long-term chronic diseases.”

A well-known example of this is the chicken pox virus, which can stay in the body for a lifetime and remerge as shingles in later life. More recent studies have revealed that adenovirus-36, a symptomless virus found in the gut, may later trigger obesity and inflammation; and the coxsackie viruses which cause the common cold can contribute to heart disease.

“In all comers with heart failure, about one in eight has a virus as the cause,” says Dr. Peter Liu, scientific director of the CIHR’s Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health in Toronto. “In people under 30, it is one in three.”

When the immune system is healthy these viruses are cleared from the body within a matter of weeks. If the virus sticks around the consequent damage can become catastrophic to your health. CIHR’s Bhagirath Singh further explains that in some cases a virus can result in cancer because once the virus enters the cell and forces its own organisational system into the cell, the cell can then mutate and grow uncontrollably. Healthy immune cells will destroy and digest cancer cells, but if the cell is weak mutation can occur. The best-known example of a virus-cancer link is HPV, which causes cervical cancer.

What can you do to maintain immune system strength integrity and avoid serious disease?

It all comes back to your gut function…

Scientific research is showing up time and again that immunity is strongly tied in with gut function; or more specifically with the trillions of microscopic bacteria that reside within the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, 70% of our immune system resides in the gut.

Each person has a unique makeup of gut microbiota (the term used to describe the colonies of microflora within the gut), much of which is determined in the early years of our development. The microbiota is influenced by the health of the parents, particularly the mother, and is then dependant on dietary and lifestyle factors throughout life.

The microbiota is in constant communication with the immune system allowing good bacteria to thrive in the body, and eradicating bad bacteria and foreign material. The gut microbiota is therefore critical to making sure the immune systemis in the best possible state to fight diseases – from the common cold, to serious ones like cancer. The interaction of the immune system and the microbiota not only plays a significant role in determining cancer risk, research being undertaken is also showing that specific bacteria may even play a role in determining chemotherapy effectiveness.

Unhealthy changes in diet, medications like antibiotics, aging, and significant stress are all factors that can negatively impact the microbiome function, and often result in compromised immunity.

Check out this youtube clip explaining what the Microbiota is and how it links to your immune system: What is the human microbiome? (Published in a recent article by Hannah Rose Wardill from the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute  in conjunction with The Conversation)

Immune Support and Gut Flora enhancing practices:

1. Take a Quality Probiotic

In 1907, Nobel Laureate, Elie Metchnikoff published a groundbreaking study that linked longevity with consuming fermented milk containing Lactobacilli, a bacterial strain that produces lactic acid and helps maintain healthy intestinal microflora. Probiotics are now days well known for their health giving and immune supporting benefits however there are many unreliable products on the market so choose a quality probiotic to ensure you are getting the proper support for your gut health.

2. Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics

Antibiotics kill all bacteria, both the bad bacteria that can make you sick and the good bacteria your body needs. This disruption of intestinal harmony causes a lack of diversity among bacteria that’s sure to affect your health. Pharmaceutical companies are masters of the sickness industry where disease is the market for their patented drugs. Contact our office about alternative approaches to antibiotics.

3. Stay well Hydrated with Negatively Charged Water
Water helps all of your body’s systems function at optimum levels. Drinking water that carries a negative charge ensures the cells get all the oxygen necessary to function as they were meant to, therefore water with high oxygen and negative charge is critical to sustain good health and counter disease. Negatively charged water easily penetrates cells, optimises hydration and flushes away toxins. Water is essential in the production of lymph and integral to the immune system to circulate white blood cells and nutrients to maintain health in all of the body’s tissues.

4. Incorporate Fermented Foods into your Diet

Fermented foods are a great way to introduce good bacteria to your gut. Fermented foods, especially cabbage, offer high levels of vitamin C. A weakened immune system caused by low vitamin C levels can make any infection more serious. The antioxidants, vitamins and beneficial bacteria of fermented foods and drinks are destroyed by heat so make sure your fermented products are raw and unpasteurised. Some of the most well known fermented foods for promoting gut health include: Sauerkraut, Yogurt, Kefir, and Kim chi.

5. Eat Less Refined Sugar

Refined sugar feeds bad bacteria and upsets gut flora balance. Packaged and processed foods are often high in hidden sugars. Eat a variety of fresh, natural and unprocessed foods to nourish the body on all levels and boost a healthy bacterial balance.

6. Lower Your Stress Levels

The intestinal walls are covered by neurons and send vital information to the brain and throughout your body. This neural connection between the gut and brain is why stress has a major impact on gut health. The chemical messengers sent from the brain to the gut in times of stress affect how well your gut works. Be aware of when stress is negatively impacting you and choose healthy methods to balance your lifestyle and mood. Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

Follow these simple guidelines to stay well this Winter – prevention is a smarter and more effective approach to maintaining wellness. If you would like a more in-depth individual assessment of your health please contact our bookings office to organise a personal consultation.

Find out more about our range of Phi’on Products to specifically support your immune system: Probiotic Products // Awe Immune Tonic // Agility Colloidal Silver // Esteem Phytonutrients & Mineral Liquid // Icon Oxygen Spray

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