Our immune systems are not so immune anymore

Our immune systems are not so immune anymore

It is often stated that inflammation is the root cause of most, if not all, disease.

It is often stated that inflammation is the root cause of most, if not all, disease.

by Debbie Williams — 

It is thrilling to see more people reading labels at the grocery store. People are becoming aware that the food and drinks touted as “healthy” might, in fact, be anything but. Grains, sugars (especially high-fructose corn syrup), the bad oils and preservatives are wreaking havoc on our immune systems.

The cover of the February 23, 2004, Time magazine alarmed us with “The Secret Killer” — the surprising link between inflammation and heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and others. This is still getting a lot of press. Our immune systems have never been so overwhelmed from pathogens, chemicals and a variety of toxins.

The immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. To function properly, it must detect a wide variety of agents, known as pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue. It is this recognition of “non-self” agents that triggers white blood cells to respond to the various harmful invaders.

These harmful organisms may include viruses, bacteria, fungi, microbes, parasites, toxins and cancer cells. Studies show that even today healthy and active young adults operate with compromised immune systems. In fact, numerous reasons exist as to why most Americans have suppressed immune systems. They include antibiotics, pollution, exposure to toxins, injury and stress.

An immune response is how the body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses and substances that appear foreign and harmful, known as antigens. These foreign organisms are referred to as “non-self.” Antigens are substances on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi or bacteria. Nonliving substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs and foreign particles (such as a glass fragment) can also be antigens.

The immune system recognizes and destroys substances that contain antigens. Inflammation occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat or any other cause. The damaged cells release chemicals that cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues, causing swelling. This helps isolate the foreign substance from further contact with body tissues.

The chemicals also attract white blood cells called phagocytes that “eat” germs and dead or damaged cells. This process is called phagocytosis, in which the phagocytes eventually die off. Pus is formed from a collection of dead tissue, dead bacteria, and live and dead phagocytes. This biological activity occurs in a normally functioning immune system.

However, in some diseases, such as arthritis, the body’s defense system, or immune system, triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign substances to fight off. In these diseases, known as autoimmune diseases or autoimmune disorders, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues. This is classified as chronic inflammation.

It is often stated that inflammation is the root cause of most, if not all, disease. Inflammation can be defined as redness, swelling, tenderness, heat, pain and a disturbed function of an area of the body, especially caused from a reaction to injurious agents. During the healing process, the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection by foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses. This is classified as acute inflammation.

So what can an individual do to strengthen or enhance the immune system? If the recognition of non-self agents is the trigger that unleashes the power of white blood cells, does it not make sense that an optimally functioning immune system will help an individual to win more of these battles?

An extensive amount of research has been done, and is still ongoing, on a natural long-chain polysaccharide called beta glucan. This natural compound is found in baker’s yeast, mushrooms, oats, barley and algae, as well as in other sources.

Beta glucan has been studied for more than 50 years at the finest universities and teaching hospitals in the world, including Harvard, McGill, Tulane, James Brown Cancer Center, Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins and MD Anderson. In Japan, PSK Krestin, a form of beta glucan, is a licensed drug that has been used there as a cancer treatment for more than 30 years. This treatment in Japan ranges from $900 to $1,800 U.S. dollars, depending on body weight.

Some types of arthritis are the result of misdirected inflammation. Arthritis is a general term that describes inflammation in the joints. Some types of arthritis associated with inflammation include rheumatoid, psoriatic and gouty arthritis.

A friend of mine has rheumatoid arthritis. She could not even turn a doorknob. After taking the beta glucan with resveratrol and vitamin C, she was able to play golf again after only a couple of months. However, when she stopped taking the beta glucan her pain returned. She is now a believer in the supplement and will continue to take it. (I hear that story a lot.)

We should all be equipped with good immune health, and not just by chance. So why not look into the highly purified beta 1, 3-D glucan compound? It offers a safe, low-cost, natural supplement that increases your level of immune response by activating the white blood cells, without over-stimulating them. Not sometimes, not maybe, but every time you take it.

 

Debbie Williams is an immune health coach and represents natural health products. She is currently studying to become a certified nutrition coach. ryltoday.com/deb or call 623-444-0557.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 3, June/July 2014.

 

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