How to Improve Your Immune Function So It Can Fight Its BEST!
The recent virus event(s) has made everyone start thinking about their immune system. Some are getting a vaccine to try to increase immunity to the virus. Others are trying to use vitamins and minerals to improve their immune function so they don’t get sick. It is a good idea for us to review the immune system to get a good idea of how to improve it.
Life is messy. Our existence creates waste. No matter where you go, there is a need to clean up. I clean my house. I mop the floor. I get out all the spider webs, and bugs. I clean the toilet and scrub the shower. The kitchen must be cleaned a lot. People make waste like urine and feces, but there is also a lot of microscopic waste like skin cells that are left all over. They say 25% of house dust is skin cells… yuck!
The inside of the body is just as messy and must be cleaned continuously. Many different cells and organs do the cleaning. The liver cleans up the toxic chemicals. The spleen cleans the particulate matter out of the blood. Our immune cells do most of this! These cells are amazing!
Types of Immune Cell Functions
Macrophages – clean up dead or infected cells and debris. They are not specific, they just look for junk, but must be activated by T-cells or neutrophils. Macrophages eat up, digest tired old cells, and spit out the amino acids and fats so they can be recycled. When antibodies bind to proteins that are not needed macrophages then eat them and recycle the amino acids.
T-cells – bind to infected cells and kill them by punching holes in them. Each T-cell is specific to a single virus or invader.
B-cells – make antibodies to bind to invaders outside of cells; they are also specific to that infection.
Antibodies – are proteins that bind to specific viruses or waste floating freely to mark it for clean-up by the macrophages.
NK cells – Natural killer cells do not need to recognize a specific invader. They will kill everything that is not healthy. Healthy cells have proteins on the outside that tell the NK cell not to kill it. When a cell becomes senescent, cancerous or infected with a virus, it stops making those proteins, so the NK cells take it out, and leave the carcass for macrophages to clean up.
Neutrophils – These are the white blood cells that make pus. They can be either specific to a certain pathogen, or non-specific by just knowing that it is “not one of us.” They also make a lot of signals to T-cells, B-cells, and macrophages to “come and help!”
Beyond these, there are other types of cells, for example, some that cause allergies.
Our cellular immunity (T-cells, neutrophils, and macrophages) can take out the infected cells before they become virus factories. Vaccine immunity only gives antibodies. This is why natural infection is so much better than vaccine immunity. Those with natural infections have lifetime immunity whereas vaccines that only produce antibodies may only last a few months.
Autoimmune diseases – We think of these soldiers of ours turning against their own people. Autoimmune disease is “friendly fire.” We are fighting against ourselves. Actually, there is a natural response to the clean-up processes that suppress inflammation, but chronic stress and deficiencies can allow inflammation. Moreover, we have excess of some proteins being made that must be cleaned up by the immune system, causing us to make more antibodies against ourselves. It’s simply a cleaning process.
Stress – Short-term stress activates the immune function of all cells allowing healing and repair. However long-term stress causes more suppression of immune response. Stress has the most far-reaching effect on immune function. Stress suppresses the cellular immunity and increases antibodies, allowing autoimmune disease. What’s more, it decreases NK cell function, allowing cancer to grow because there is more suppression of T-cells.
There are simple ways to manage stress. For example, controlled breathing helps induce the relaxation response, which improves immune function. Meditation also has a greater effect than diet.
Nutrients for a Stronger Immune System
Vitamin D Keeps the immune system from overacting. It prevents autoimmune disease. It stops the excessive “cytokine storm” that causes the lungs to fill with fluid in SARS-CoV-2 infections. Vitamin D status is the most important factor in preventing serious complications of infection. Vitamin D binding protein is macrophage activating factor – allowing the macrophages to clean up debris.
Zinc is necessary for T-cell function. Those who were deficient in zinc in the Middle East died of infections by age 25. Zinc is a common deficiency, especially in men.
Garlic. A high quality, 12-week study in 146 people found that supplementing with garlic reduced the incidence of the common cold by about 30%. Garlic improves the function of macrophages and NK cells to prevent both infections and cancer. 
Probiotics have multiple immune effects. The bacteria in our intestines regulate the immune system to a great degree. They have been shown to help prevent allergies, eczema, and viral infections, as well as improving the response to vaccination.  The chemicals produced by these bacteria decrease inflammation in the entire body.
Prebiotics help to grow the good probiotics. “What you feed is what you get.” If you feed the good bacteria with fiber from fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, you will get more of the anti-inflammatory bacteria in the intestines.
Vitamin C helps the neutrophils to kill invaders, and the macrophages to clean up the mess. Low levels of vitamin C increases the risk of viral infections. When there is a current infection, much more vitamin C is needed. In the 1950s Dr. Cathcart showed that high doses of vitamin C could stop a virus, but not kill it. He used vitamin C to “bowel tolerance,” meaning until the person got diarrhea. He found that “bowel tolerance,” or the ability to absorb vitamin C increased two to five times during an acute infection.
Mushrooms have multiple different immune effects. There is one direct effect of activating macrophages, allowing them to clean up after an infection. They also provide prebiotics for the intestines, allowing good bacteria to decrease the inflammatory response. Mushrooms contain beta glucan, which is great for respiratory infections, decreasing the length and strength of symptoms. They have also been shown to decrease cancer risk, and even improve cancer treatment.
Ginger has been used for centuries to help fight infections and prevent cancer. The active ingredient increases the NK cell function to get rid of senescent, infected, or cancerous cells.
PLAN for Improved Immune Function:
- Exercise regularly, not too much. Excess exercise causes inflammation.
- Manage stress, don’t over-extend yourself. Do meditation and controlled breathing.
- Get plenty of sleep – at least 7 hours for an adult. Go to bed by 10pm.
- Make your own food.
- Eat a colorful, well-balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Have mushrooms regularly.
- Use spices a lot, like garlic, ginger, and turmeric.
- Healthy fats – wild-caught fish, flax seeds. Avoid corn, soy, and canola oil.
- Don’t smoke.
- Avoid sugar
- If you drink alcohol, drink only once a week.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take the following supplements:
- Zinc 100mg per week.
- Selenium 1mg per week.
- Vitamin C 500 to 1000mg per day, increase to 2,000mg three times a day if you get an infection.
- Vitamin D3 10,000 iu per day.
- Probiotics – take a high-dose probiotic once per week.
The supplements are important, but not the most important. It is common for people to take a pill and assume they are getting healthy, but health does not come in a pill.
“The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals.”
The point is that everyone should not run out and get some more supplements to try to have a better immune system. If you are deficient, by all means a supplement is a great idea. The recommendations above are based on thousands of tests I have done and found to be common deficiencies. So, here are the most important things for a strong immune system– in order of importance:
- STRESS REDUCTION
A properly-functioning immune system can protect everyone from every infectious disease or cancer. Health is your greatest wealth. It is definitely worth all your efforts to keep your immune system functioning well.