The immune system is responsible
for protecting the body against infection. Its major components include lymph
nodes, bone marrow, spleen, thymus gland, and tonsils. The immune system creates
antibodies, which react to specific infectious agents. In most cases, an antibody
is created the first time that the body encounters a germ. The antibody then remains
in the body, preventing a second infection by the same germ.
including HIV and Lupus, weaken the immune system. Antibodies do not form normally,
and infections easily overtake the body. In some cases, medications can help
counteract weakened immune systems.
the last ten to twenty years has there been any real understanding of the complexity
and importance of the immune system. Scientists have come to realize that stress
and improper nutrition can lead to a breakdown in the immune system. The best
way to form a strong immune system is through maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
healthy diet, and regular exercise can keep the body in the best shape possible to fight infections.
Cleanliness, especially regular hand washing, can also help keep germs from
invading the system.
appear to interfere with the body’s immune function. Sugars inhibit white
blood cells in their attempts to destroy bacteria. Alcohol and high dietary fat
also interfere with immune function.
can also weaken the immune system. Many ear infections are caused by allergic
reactions, especially to dairy. In these cases, antibiotics may treat the infection,
but it will recur almost immediately. When allergies are affecting immunity, it
may be necessary to discover which food or environmental agent is causing the
problem, and avoid it as much as possible.
Facts and Recommendations:
Acidophilus, which is found both as a supplement and in foods such as yogurt, helps the body
to fight both bacterial infections and yeast infection.
A helps to strengthen skin and mucous membranes, preventing germs
from penetrating these. Supplementation may help prevent infection and speed recovery
from certain illnesses, such as measles and diarrhea.
C acts as an antiviral agent, elevating the body’s interferon
levels. Even taken in small amounts, it appears to reduce the duration and severity
of illnesses. In some studies, Vitamin C has helped reduce the risk of hepatitis
infection as well.
Zinc supplements appear to increase immune response. Taking Zinc lozenges when a cold
starts often shortens the duration and severity of the infection. It is unclear
whether Zinc also acts to prevent infection.
Ashwagandha works to stimulate the immune system overall, with many components that promote
Astragalus reduces autoimmune response such as that caused by rheumatoid
arthritis and lupus.
the components of Cat's
Claw stimulate the immune system.
Echinacea supports immune function. It works both as a preventive measure and to treat infection
once it has set in. Echinacea works by increasing the number of "killer white cells", which fight
disease. It works well both by itself and as an enhancer of traditional medical
Tea has antibacterial properties and stimulates the production
of immune cells.
Licorice has long been used in Chinese medicine to enhance the effects of other herbal
remedies. This enhancing behavior may be the reason for Licorice's effectiveness at improving immunity. It stimulates immunity in several ways, including
encouraging the growth of T-cells and interferon.
Ligustrum Fruit has many immune-enhancing effects, including cancer inhibition. It appears to increase white blood cell counts.
mushrooms enhance immunity, and appear especially effective in
helping the body to inhibit cancer growth.
mushrooms stimulate white blood cells to produce interferon. They
appear to help increase immunity in laboratory studies.
MGN-3 is a natural product isolated from rice bran. It has been shown to improve the
natural killer cell function of the immune system response. This may be beneficial
in patients with cancer,
AIDS, and other immune system deficiencies, although the published studies are
Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication.