The immune system: How it works and how to make it work better The function of the immune system is to recognize, attack and destroy foreign invaders while not attacking what normally belongs to the body. In order for the immune system to function normally it cannot be over stimulated or suppressed. The goal of obtaining a healthy immune system is to normalize the immune system. The organs involved in immune function are the spleen, thymus, tonsils, and lymph glands. There are essentially three primary causes of over stimulation or suppression of the immune system. The first primary cause can be related to emotional and lifestyle stress. When the body is stressed, whether physically or emotionally, the body thinks it is being attacked. It will stimulate the immune system to prepare for the invasion. If this perceived attack continues for abnormal length of time, the immune system may begin to attack the body itself. The body acts in a similar way whether the stress is real or perceived. Long-term emotional stress will cause the overstimulation of the immune system and if there is no true invader, the immune system will have nothing to attack so it will attack the body and this can lead to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Long-term overstimulation can, in essence, burn out the immune system and suppress its normal functions. The solution to this cause is to identify the problem and correct it. This sounds simple but oftentimes is a very involved process. Major stresses in someone’s life include, but are not limited to: the death of a family member or friend, moving, a new job, family problems, divorce, money problems, drug problems and abuse. It may take some soul-searching before you can identify the cause of your stress. If you feel you’re under stress and cannot determine the cause or to have determined the cause and cannot figure out a way to correct the problem, professional counseling they necessary. If financing professional counseling as a problem, contact your local mental health society for advice and help that will fit into your budget. Most cities or counties have this service available. Exercise and yoga have been shown to greatly reduce stress and help to normalize the immune system. A second cause of over stimulation or suppression of the immune system is chemical stress. Chemical stress can come in several forms. The most common form, which is the one we have the most control over, is nutrition or lack thereof. One step that is easy and can be implemented immediately is to clean out your colon. Constipation of your colon as well as of the organs in the body will adversely affect your immune system. Most people have consumed toxic foods over their lifetime. It is important to clean up the colon because the colon is the place with nutrients can absorb and toxins are passed out of the body. If the colon is clogged up or constipated, nutrients absorbed in waste products cannot be passed out. This means nutrients may be passed out of the body and cannot be absorbed, and waste products, which should be passed out of the body get reabsorbed back into the body, and now the immune system begins to attack these waste products and this puts a necessary stress on the immune system. The seven major foods that will clog up your system are alcohol, meat, sugar, dairy, coffee, soda, and artificial sweeteners. Other clogging or constipating foods and habits are smoking, over eating, consumption of large amounts of cooked foods, wheat, eggs, additives, dyes, hydrogenated oils, chemicals and free radicals. The solution to this problem is to drink plenty of distilled or filtered water. A general rule is that if you’re not urinating at least eight times the day, you’re not drinking enough water. In addition to water your diet must consist of at least 60 to 70% raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. There are certain supplements and herbs, which will help with normalizing the immune system. A supplement should be made with whole foods. This means the supplement must contain concentrated fruits, vegetables and herbs. Nutrients work best when in their natural whole state and not extracted and processed. There also nutrients that are found in whole foods we have not discovered yet, but are essential to good health. If we consume these foods we are getting all the nutrients we need in a form that we can best utilize. Echinacea, goldenseal, and other herbs can be helpful in normalizing the immune system when used short-term. Garlic, ginger, horseradish, onion, and Hot peppers can also be used. If you take equal parts of those five ingredients and puree them in a blender or food processor with organic raw apple cider vinegar, you have what I call “Dr Joe’s Super Tonic”. By taking three to four large tablespoons of this tonic you will help normalize the immune system function. This works wonders when you’re feeling under the weather or just as a general tonic help maintain a normally functioning immune system. I have found this to be the closest thing to the cure for the common cold. The last and perhaps most overlooked cause of a new system malfunction is bio- mechanical stress. The immune organs, as well as all organs and the body, are controlled by the nervous system. The brain sends messages down the spinal cord out nerves to every part of your body. If there’s any interference between the brain spinal cord and parts of the body, the body cannot function properly. The most common interference is a bone in the spine moving out of alignment and pinching a nerve. If you’re pinching a nerve that goes to a part of the body related to immune function, the immune system will be compromised. If you’re having pain in your back, you most likely have a pinched nerve. However, only about 10% of the nerves feel pain. 90% of the nerves do not feel pain. You may have pinched nerves and not be aware of it. This is why it is so important that everyone gets their spine checked to be sure there are no pinched nerves. Just like a car tune up, maintenance of the heating and air conditioning unit in your house, teeth and eyesight checkups, it is imperative that you get your nervous system checked. A qualified chiropractor will be able to do this evaluation and be able to determine if your nervous system is functioning at the highest level possible. Your nervous system controls everything and if it malfunctions it will cause serious health problems. As much as mental health and good nutrition are important, without a normally functioning nervous system you can never obtain a high level of good health. You may want to take a look at Dr. Joe’s Immune Booster to give your body a boost. To set up an appointment please call my office at 770-427-7387 or you can send us a message in the live chat.