As I head to the midway point of my training I’m getting really excited as I’ll be able to work with real clients, woohoo! So I’m super busy working on coaching programmes and useful handouts to get started after Christmas!! I genuinely can’t wait to help people – whether it’s to lose weight, eradicate or improve a medical concern, or simply to boost health to the next level.
This week’s modules were pretty intense and more scientific than some, but at the same time made so much sense when I began to properly understand how the body works. What I’d like to focus on for this week’s post is the immune system and resulting symptoms when it is compromised. Don’t worry, I won’t give the scientific version as that would give me a headache to write! Okay, let’s go….
We’ve all heard of the immune system, but what is it actually?
The immune system is a network of structures and processes within the body, like an army of cells, that work together to protect us from disease or invaders. When it functions as it should, it will identify threats that include toxins, viruses, bacteria and parasites and will keep them out or destroy them. At the same time it recognizes and welcomes the healthy tissue.
So what do we mean when we refer to a strong or weak immune system?
A strong immune system is one that functions well and results in a person rarely succumbing to disease or virus etc. They tend to miss picking up all those winter / school gate ailments. Great, that’s what we want to aim for!
However, there are a number of factors that contribute to having a compromised immune system. The main ones being as follows:
Quality of Diet: 65% – 70% of our immune system lives in our gut/stomach! It needs to be nourished kindly to perform at its best.
Delivery at Birth: Babies delivered by C-Section do not get to swallow the good bacteria in the vaginal passage and therefore have reduced immunity from the start.
Baby Milk: Babies not breast fed miss out on essential antibodies, enzymes, and white blood cells that simply aren’t replicated in formula milk.
Antibiotics: Over use or regular use as a young child can seriously compromise the immune system as it kills both the good and bad bacteria.
Other drugs: Chemotherapy is high on the list as it kills good and bad cells.
Stress: Prolonged periods of stress release hormones that prepare us for emergency or danger, but severely depresses our immune system.
Presence of Parasites: These are tiny organisms, usually worms, that feed off the nutrition in the body. Over time they have the ability to deactivate certain immune system cells. They are in fact more common than you might think as they are transmitted via mosquitoes, fleas and flies as well as contaminated or badly/undercooked food, poor hygiene… there’s quite a list!
Polluted Environment: The body is coping with the toxic load that comes into the body via food, our lungs and our skin etc.
How do these factors affect the immune system?
I’ll leave out the technical bits regarding how the process specifically works in the body and just say that a poorly performing immune system gets confused and rejects healthy properties mistaking them for a threat. Here are the most common symptoms:
Frequent urinary infections
Stomach problems / Diarrhea
Flu, colds and sore throat
Slow healing Injuries
What can you do?
Anyone suffering with these symptoms should look at rebalancing their microbiome, meaning the genetic content of all the microorganisms inhabiting their body.
Diet: As I mentioned earlier, 65% to 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut and therefore it stands to reason that diet is the first thing to address.
To get a specific understanding of your body’s response to certain foods/drinks, a process of food elimination is recommended. It may also be appropriate to add probiotics and supplements and it goes without saying I’m sure that a good diet, which includes plenty of fruit and veg and no processes foods, is also essential. This is a just a quick overview as the purpose here isn’t to give you a specific list of foods to eat as that will be very individual, but to help you understand the causes and give you an idea of what can be done to help heal the body. Feel free to contact me if you’d like more information of how this would work.
Minimise use of Medications: Modern society expects instant solutions and doctors are generally happy to prescribe armfuls of medications for every which ailment. Searching out a natural alternative is always a better option, even if your doctor doesn’t like it! Depending on the nature of the complaint be sure to thoroughly research and consult with your doctor before withdrawing from medication.
Reduce Stress: Easier said than done I know, but stress is a huge trigger for a multitude of conditions including chronic disease, so it is highly beneficial to find a way to alleviate stress. Great stress relievers include yoga, meditation, walking, running, playing an instrument, listening to music… the list is endless as it really is a personal choice as to what makes you feel good.
Minimise Pollutants & Chemicals: Eat organic food, don’t smoke, use natural skincare and cleaning products. Consider external factors such as over-exposure to the sun, electrical gadgets etc.
Get enough sleep: Essential for your body to recover and then maintain a stable immune system.
It’s important to remember that everybody’s microbiome, personal situation, medical conditions etc., are very individual. Rebuilding the immune system may be a quick process or it may happen gradually over a period of time. Either way, it is essential to do to establish good health and will leave you feeling like a new person!
On a related note you may have heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome… I’ll talk about this more specifically soon.
Thank you for reading! I hope this has helped some of you – I’d love to hear from you below if this sounds familiar…