By Monique G. Bain, MAC, LAC, Acupuncture Physician
Our body’s immune system is constantly at battle as thousands of viruses, bacteria, parasites and toxins are inhaled and eaten every day or invades our bodies through scrapes and cuts. We don’t realize the battle is taking place, however our immune system is constantly fighting for us. A weak immune system makes you vulnerable to infections, from the common cold, flu and even Covid-19. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time worrying about our immune systems until we are sick or a pandemic like the one we are dealing with today.
Chinese Medicine practitioners have been dealing with immune system disorders for thousands of years and has had great success in increasing immunity by regulating imbalances and stimulating hormones and neurotransmitters. Studies have shown that acupuncture can strengthen a weakened immune system by increasing red and white cell counts, T cells counts (T cells destroy harmful bacteria and viruses in the body) and enhancing humoral and cellular immunity and increasing levels of interferon as well.
A compromised immune system is a major component of most chronic diseases and results in frequent colds, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue and so on. Here is how to boost your own body’s “security detail” naturally and easily and protect yourself.
Get Regular Sleep – lack of sleep disturbs regulation of key chemicals produced by the immune system to fight infection. In fact, less than 7 hours per night has been shown to triple your chances of getting ill.
Take some herbs and supplements – Astragalus (huang qi) is one of the most frequently used Chinese herbs and is used to fortify the lungs and protect the body against external pathogens. Modern research has confirmed that astragalus increases both specific and non-specific immunity.
Ganoderma (ling zhi) – is essential for rebuilding a person’s constitution. It increases the number of white cells and inhibits the growth of various viruses and bacteria associated with the flu. Clinical studies shows that Ganoderma increases the production of cytokine and interleukin and has a broad spectrum of antibacterial activities.
Cordyceps (dong chong xia cao) – It enhances overall immunity by increasing lymphocytes and natural killer cells and the production of interleukin, interferon and tumor necrosis factor.
Vitamin C and Zinc are two important elements to support the immune system. Foods that are high in Vitamin C are red peppers, cabbage, strawberries, tangerines, oranges, Kiwi. Foods high is Zinc include chicken, barley, lamb, turkey and beef. Another good addition would be garlic to your meals for it’s antibacterial and antiviral properties.
De-stress – Stress hormones suppress the immune system. Finding ways to reduce stress such as acupuncture, exercise and meditation will improve your immune system by releasing endorphins which have deep relaxing effects on the body.
Healthy diet – Eating too much sugar, greasy foods, chilled or raw foods, alcohol do not build a strong immune system. Eating fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and nuts are the cornerstone of a good immune system. Data suggests that gluten is destructive to the immune system.
If you are not getting enough sun, make sure to add Vitamin D to your supplementation. Unfortunately, almost 1/3 of the US population is Vitamin Deficient. Optimizing your immune system is the best way of keeping disease away.
For more info about Five Element Wellness Center, call 954-657-8342, visit www.5elementwellnesscenter.