This article is the sequel to, “Your Immune System - Key to Your Health”, an article about how your immune system works and issues that can arise. Here we are exploring those things that disrupt our immune system and how to rebuild it while repairing the damage. It is important to understand there is a strong correlation between the health of the gut and the immune system, they go hand in hand. Your immune system is a complex system and when it is weak, suppressed, out of balance, or overstimulated it does not function properly.
Top 5 Things That Disrupt Your Immune System
1. Unhealthy diet/inflammation
Plain and simple...a poor diet creates nutritional deficiencies in which the person then becomes a walking toxin sponge where inflammation sets in. GMO grown foods, preservatives, packaged foods, and white sugar (an excitotoxin, which offers no nutritional value) are all culprits to the problem. An unhealthy diet causes inflammation, which can turn into chronic inflammation and then a damaging rippling effect begins. Did you know that leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), certain cancers, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma are all directly linked to chronic inflammation? Inflammation opens the door for a health crisis! It’s all because inflammation creates the “perfect environment” for the immune system to begin to malfunction and fall apart!
2. Unhealthy gut
If your gut is unhealthy, suffering from leaky gut syndrome is common. Did you know 80% of your immune system comes directly from your gut? Therefore a weak gut equals a weak immune system and a strong, healthy gut equals a strong immune system. Leaky gut happens when the semipermeable layer in your gut is compromised and allows toxins to enter your bloodstream. The most common symptoms of leaky gut are inflammation, fatigue, unsettled stomach, headaches, and new allergic reactions to certain foods. Your digestive system and immune system are compromised when suffering from leaky gut syndrome. The ongoing influx of undigested food particles, as well as fungi, bacteria, and other waste from a leaky gut, triggers a constant inflammatory response from the immune system. This fatigues the immune system and maintains a pro-inflammatory environment inside the body. Although inflammation can become chronic and even cyclic there are many natural approaches and remedies that can support our natural innate ability to heal. To learn more about leaky gut syndrome read Dr. Nuzum’s article, “Leaky Gut Syndrome”.
Stress suppresses our immune system. Stress causes your body to produce higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and decreases the body’s lymphocytes, white blood cells, that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for viruses, including the common cold and cold sores. High-stress levels also can cause depression and anxiety, which leads to higher levels of inflammation. The hormones our body produces when it’s stressed decrease your immune system response, as chronic stress creates a fight or flight response. Stress affects the whole body and this is how it can show up:
The liver processes toxins continuously. Some of them actually go right to the brain, and the immune system is keeping tabs on all these, fighting against pathogens defending us daily to maintain homeostasis. Being exposed to toxins through medications, prescribed and over the counter altering your microbiome negatively impacts your immune system. For example, did you know that acid-blocking heartburn medications like Prilosec and Nexium decrease stomach acid and allow yeast and bacteria to overgrow, lowering your immunity? All of this is why Dr. Nuzum puts great focus on detoxing allowing for a fresh start.
When our healthy bacteria is destroyed our immune system suffers. Even the use of the standard hand sanitizer damages the immune system as the toxic ingredients strip the skin from its natural microbes that are there trying to defend us! Washing with natural soap and water is a completely different thing as it is part of cleaning and keeping the germs off your hands, but at the same time not disturbing your natural microbes.
5. Lack of sleep
Struggling with getting quality consistent sleep with good sleep cycles? Without quality sleep, your body will not be able to heal fully from the days, weeks, or even years of stress and damage. The immune system is influenced by the sleep-wake cycles of our circadian rhythms. Sleep deprivation has a similar effect on the body’s immune system as stress because it disrupts the production of white blood cells, crucial for fighting infections. Brains deprived of sleep can impair judgment, increase compulsive behaviors, and cause forgetfulness, obesity, dementia, even cancer.
Ways to Build Your Immune System
First and foremost pay attention to your eating habits. Americans overeat (all the wrong foods) on a regular basis and it’s to our detriment. Nature not only supplies an abundance of healing foods that we can eat to help reduce inflammation within our bodies but also think about how we developed in environments where food was scarce. Surviving and functioning at a high level in a food-deprived/fasted state with short periods of eating and lengthy fasting times. Eating mindfully and giving your body a break from the digestive process is crucial.
Second, if food is causing bloating and/or you are having reactions, eliminating grains and dairy from your diet is important. If your immune system is overrun, your digestive system will not be working properly, and can not digest certain foods, even organic wholesome foods. Focus on a clean organic diet that contains a variety of meat and fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and healthy fats. Include anti-inflammatory foods such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, celery, bone broth, coconut oil, bok choy, beets, blueberries, chia seeds, walnuts, and wild-caught salmon. For people with autoimmune conditions or low immune system function, Dr. Nuzum recommends following his Leaky Gut Diet found here- https://www.drnuzum.com/leaky-gut-diet
Gut health is crucial. Supplementing meals with Gut Health or Ful-Biotic (a probiotic) will help feed your gut healthy bacteria and grow a colony of beneficial flora and fauna in your digestive tract. Adding a digestive enzyme to meals enhances digestion. Supplementing, if you are deficient, with Vitamin D3 can be beneficial in helping with normal immune system function.
Reduce stress and work on elevating your mood. By taking time to relax with activities like yoga, meditating, journaling, or taking a walk you will feel good and cared for. Find humor in every day, laugh a little. A great supplement with many mood-boosting benefits is curcumin. It raises the levels of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline and serotonin and increases the production of dopamine in the brain promoting feelings of calm and well-being which help lower stress. Curcumin is found in Dr. Nuzum’s Super Curcuminoids.
Toxicity is healed by ridding the body of daily toxins and unhealthy substances accumulated over time. Making sure that elimination pathways are working properly by detoxing regularly helps your immune system handle daily toxic exposure and stressors. Detoxing is very important in establishing optimal health. It is a long process and that is because disease builds up and detoxing takes time to remove the toxic effects that brought on the disease. Equalizer in your drinking water is a good addition to helping detox. Also, starting every day with warm lemon water first thing in the morning. This provides vitamin C and stimulates your liver and digestive system to work at its best filtering and eliminating the toxins. To learn more about detoxing read “Detox for Life” written by Dr. Nuzum and Gina Nuzum. If you are ready to detox, Dr. Nuzum has a 2-Week Detox Program and a 21-Day Detox Program that will get you started on your way to better health.
Another very important practice is to optimize your sleep and re-energize your body. Your body needs consistent, good-quality sleep to have energy resources to fight off those germs. Here is what you can do:
- Turn off Wifi at night
- Set your cell phone on airplane mode
- Sleep in a dark room
- Diffuse lavender essential oil
- Keep room temperature at 68 degrees Fahrenheit
- Meditate/pray/Stretch before bed
- Go to bed close to the same time every night
Taking an adaptogen like Dr. Nuzum’s Super Earth Energy is yet another helpful way to optimize the energy levels of a well-rested body because it stimulates the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary energy source for every cell in the body. Super Earth Energy is particularly helpful at cleansing heavy metals from the liver. Cleansing cells and organs will reduce their workload and energy consumption allowing for more energy elsewhere in your body.
Remember, we only have one immune system and when we are mindful of taking care of it our hope is it will keep us healthy. If you would like help, please reach out to us and we will gladly assist you in getting to your optimal health naturally.