by Dave Foreman
In the last issue of The Herbal Pharmacist®, I wrote
about how to keep your immune system in top
shape by following my Four Pillars of Great Health.
In this edition, I want to further expand your
knowledge of the body's intricate defense system
by explaining how the immune system functions.
In a nutshell, we are each born with the ability to
keep our bodies free from disease-causing invaders.
This is best known as immunity, derived from the latin
immunis, meaning "protection from disease." The
immune system consists of a vast network of tissues,
organs, cells and chemicals. Our bone marrow,
thymus gland, tonsils, lymph nodes, lymphocytes
(white blood cells), phagocytes, natural killer cells,
antibodies and interferon are the collective "armed
forces" that battle the germ-warfare bombarding
our bodies daily.
IT TAKES TWO
Let's take your learning up a scientific notch.
What most people don't know is there are two
types of immunity protecting the body: innate and adaptive. Innate immunity exists at birth and gives
us our first line of defense against disease.The skin,
mucus secretions, and the acidity of the stomach
are examples of innate immunity.These all act as
barriers shielding us from unwanted pathogens.
Adaptive immunity is our second line of defense.
We acquire this immunity as we go through life.
The adaptive immune system is intelligent by design,
remembering foes from the past and poised to wage
war when exposed to them again.This is why people
usually get chicken pox and the measles only once,
although they may be repeatedly exposed to the
disease. Unfortunately, some invaders like viruses
can mutate and change their offensive strategy,
evolving into a disease our adaptive immunity cannot
"remember" thus triggering an illness event.
The precise components of the immune system
and how they "know" to react against bacteria,
viruses, parasites and abnormal cells are still unknown.
What experts do understand is that without a
properly functioning immune system, a wide variety
of health challenges can occur including cancer, HIV,
allergies, asthma, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome,
cold sores, bacterial and viral infections, digestive
health maladies, thyroid, yeast infections and some
SUPPORT & STIMULATE
Supplementation is critical to maintaining a strong
and properly functioning immune system. I prefer
to divide supplements for immune health into two
categories: Support (safe to take for extended
periods of time) and Stimulate (used at the first
onset of symptoms for up to two weeks).
Stimulating supplements often trigger an increase in
the production or activity of certain immune cells.An
example of this is echinacea. Echinacea is thought to
support the immune system by increasing the production
and activity of white blood cells known as
lymphocytes and macrophages. Echinacea may also
increase the production of interferon, an important
part of the body's response to viral infections.
Supportive supplements usually provide the immune
system with helpful tools or nutrients, allowing the
body to function optimally. An example of this is
WGP 3-6 (beta-glucan).This supplement provides
a key compound used by the immune system to
arm the immune cells or macrophages for action.
When the immune system comes into contact
with a foreign invader, it will then be prepared
DAVID FOREMAN'S TOP PICKS FOR IMMUNE HEALTH
Used in conjunction with my Four Pillars of Great Health,
these supplements help to promote healthy immunity.
DESIGNED FOR SHORT TERM USE:
-Vitamin C(high doses)
DESIGNED FOR LONG TERM USE:
-M.D. Select Advanced Immune Support
-WGP 3-6 (Beta-Glucan)
-Cell Forte with IP-6
To find the product that is right for you, remember to always consult with your health care provider.