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Source: Andrew Baird 1)
Boosting your immune system naturally and effectively. One of the best ways is to boost your microbiota through probiotics in the form of supplements and fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and miso. Prebiotics also encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria through indigestible fibre usually in starchy foods. Gut bacteria help boost your mucosal immune system in particular. Variety is perhaps more important than quantity. The mucosal surfaces are the point of entry for most infectious diseases.
Boosting your sleep and your melatonin through more dark time helps keep the bad bacteria under control and stimulates the immune response. Melatonin is one of the most powerful antioxidants and this helps the immune system communicate better and clean up its free radical damage.
Sunshine during the summer helps boost your Vitamin D levels and synthesis of this also requires good gut bacteria. Avoid washing off summer sunshine for a day or so.
Boney broths with gelatine (or vegetarian gelatine) and, to a much lesser extent, sunflower seeds for vegetarians help repair the intestinal barrier. Herbs like slippery elm, marshmallow root, licorice root, plantain and yarrow would be very useful in healing the gut. Amino acids in gelatine like alanine, proline and glycine are very good for improving the effectiveness of the immune system and these could be supplemented separately. As final synthesis of the active Vitamin D takes place in the kidneys (which requires magnesium) it’s worth considering low Vitamin D (after plenty of summer sunshine) as being related to a deficiency in magnesium. Low Vitamin D can also be due to inflammation and infections. Magnesium chloride or Epsom salt baths or massages might go some way to remedy this. Magnesium glycinate supplementation is another way of restoring magnesium deficiencies and providing glycine for healing inflammation in the gut.
Drinking water helps in production of lymph, oxygenates your blood and allows the kidneys to remove toxins which can be reduced by eating organically. Conversely, antibiotics can damage your gut bacteria and efforts to avoid these when not absolutely necessary through food and herbs will keep the immune system intact. Beneficial gut bacteria are also very susceptible to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup pesticide. Birth control pills can also affect your gut bacteria.
In the context of bringing up a child then a natural birth can provide the best start for the bacteria that will develop to provide the immune system. Cesarean births can take swabs of the vaginal fluid to baby's mouth, face and the rest of body. Delaying cord clamping for 3 minutes at least increases stem cell concentration in fetal blood and these play a crucial in the development of the immune system amongst others. Leaving the vernix on the newborn baby and delaying the first bath. The skin on babies has a well-developed immune system and this acts as the first barrier against pathogens. Lots of close skin contact also help swap body fluids that help pass antibody messages back and forth. In the same way, there is a role for breast feeding to transfer immunity that the baby needs. The colostrum given in the first hour after birth will provide a major boost to the immune system.
Co-sleeping with parents creates calm, love and a trusting bond which reduces stress. Babies are breastfed twice as much and the milk is crucial to the immune system which develops considerably in the first 6 months. Those babies go on to have more loving relationships which helps the immune system. Donor milk can sometimes help those having difficulty expelling their own milk.
First foods are best to be more balanced foods like carrots and butter, boney gelatine soups with barley, egg yolks and avocado to prevent the developing immune system being affected by too high blood sugar levels. The egg whites might be harder to digest at first. Sauerkraut or kimchi with liver for digestibility. Easily mashable fruits and cooked vegetables like sweet potato, help provide flavonoids, Vitamins A and Vitamin C which play a role in fighting those early infections.
Having pets, playing in the garden and living rurally all boost the immune system in childhood.
Vitamin D plays a major role in boosting the immune system. Vitamin D is affected by stress and this includes oxidative stress. A high carbohydrate diet without much fat may lead to insulin resistance and oxidative stress. The extreme point is obesity where Vitamin D levels are found to be low.
Too much sugar and antibiotics can also affect the gut bacteria. Inflammation in the gut perhaps from food intolerances will also affect Vitamin D levels. Some foods can provide Vitamin D in relatively small amounts. Examples are herring, salmon, mackerel and lard from outdoor reared pigs.
Fasting in different ways can boost the immune system possibly because of the cellular recycling of damaged immune cells (autophagy), the improvements in Vitamin D status and reduction in blood sugar levels. Fasting from early evening meal to breakfast, protein restriction, 5 days on 2 days off, a 3 day water fast (if well enough) or a very low carbohydrate diet for at least three weeks are examples. The benefits of fasting are maximised by getting better sleep which encourages autophagy. Illness can play a role in this recycling as well as providing future immunity against some illnesses and reducing others. Measles (reduces lymphatic cancer), mumps (reduces ovarian cancer) and chickenpox (reduces household shingles risk) are three examples. Autophagy can also be stimulated by cold shock, foods like blueberries and brussel sprouts and herbs and spices like turmeric and cardamom.
Antioxidants from foods like raw garlic, onions, capers, cloves, cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, oysters, red peppers, guavas, kiwis, berries, camu camu powder, Indian gooseberries and vegetables will all boost the immune system. Coenzyme Q10 can be obtained from sardines and resveratrol can be obtained from red wine and peanut butter. Antioxidant supplements can be used for additional alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 and glutathione stimulants like milk thistle, sulfur foods and selenium from brazil nuts all have their uses at different times. Reducing sugar and lowering grain intake will allow more Vitamin C to get into the cells and use up less Vitamin D, magnesium and zinc in insulin regulation. A diet of more fat from coconut oil, butter, lard and olive oil will help you obtain Vitamin A, D, E and K better and crucially enable you to absorb the important antioxidants as well. If you can afford organic then it is most important to buy organic fat as fat is where toxins are stored. You will be able to fend off infections quicker and they will be less severe in nature.
Herbs like astragalus, ginseng, borage, echinacea, liquorice and sage among many more also help strengthen body defences. Cannabinoids activate receptors in the immune system, colloidal silver can be used as a natural antibiotic, raw honey contains a probiotic that boosts immunity and hydrogen peroxide that acts as an antimicrobial. A deficiency in iodine can affect the thyroid and the immune system and this can be countered with eating a small amount of kelp, shellfish, fish, cranberries and potatoes. Medicinal mushrooms can increase production of B and T lymphocytes which are the crucial immune cells that help control our response to pathogens. They are also a natural cancer preventative. Other herbs and spices are useful in specific cases. For example, juniper berries for urinary tract infections.
People who are more social tend to have less infections. Family support and sound relationships will reduce stress in difficult times. Music, singing, sounds, specific frequencies, Tibetan crystal bowls, meditation, exercise and reducing stress all improve the immune system.
Techniques to reduce the effects of electromagnetic fields, air and water pollution like negative ionisers, air filters, water filters, magnetic devices, house plants and flowers, garden streams and fountains, swimming under waterfalls and hiking up mountains. The immune system is very responsive to right brain thinking. Visualisation, the colour red, inspiring and transformative films all help. Cuddling, hugging, sex and love making all boost oxytocin which boosts the immune system. Viewing great art, yoga, exercise, walking in nature, particularly near ancient trees, sea swimming, walking along the sea shore, dancing, walking barefoot on the grass, prayer, religion and spirituality, a cheerful attitude, being happy, practising gratitude and laughter all boost the immune system.
Therapies help like Ayurvedic medicine, chiropractic, homeopathy, osteopathy, craniosacral therapy, Alexander Technique, Reiki, massage, saunas, hot/cold switches, hot stone massages, coffee enemas, colonic hydrotherapy, detoxing by sweating in warmer climes, reflexology, acupuncture, aromatherapy and leech therapy.
Living well is the best immunity. That's why I choose to boost my immune system naturally!