When talking about improving immune system health, I always like to begin with the following quote from Dr. Lawrence Wilson:
“Factors that impair the immune system include nutrient deficiencies, contaminated air, water and food, unhealthy lifestyles and too much exposure to harmful microbes. Other factors that weaken the immune system are negative attitudes and emotions and the presence of toxic metals, toxic chemicals and biological toxins in the body. Others are sluggish metabolism, lack of rest and sleep, excessive stress or too much exercise. As these causative factors are removed or corrected, the immune system improves.”
It’s now common knowledge that 75-80% of your immune system is located in the digestive tract. When your immune system health is not functioning at optimum levels, immediate focus should be placed on two areas: (1) your digestive tract and (2) your liver which is the main filter of the body. There is not one supplement or modality alone that can effectively restore immune system health even though many would have you believe differently. I have personally found that in order to help your immune system heal, you must address proper cleansing, healthy diet, exercise, hormones, restful sleep, quality supplementation and herbs. All of these have a synergistic effect while providing the immune system the help and support that it needs to repair.
16 Ways to Naturally Improve Your Immune System Health
1. Digestive tract cleansing and Liver/gallbladder cleansing – A must, especially at the beginning of fall and spring as well as after a round of antibiotics or other prescription medications. If one has never performed a cleanse, I suggest doing three back-to-back cleanses and then one digestive tract/liver/gallbladder cleanse in the spring and fall. For digestive tract cleansing Oxy-Powder is one of the best oxygen-cleansing products on the market today.
2. Parasite/Harmful Organism Cleanse – Everyone has parasites and unfortunately parasites are easier to pick up than most people realize. Many worm parasites have a long life span and can cause chronic infections. People can be infected and remain asymptomatic for many years while the parasites are setting up house, continually making babies and even going to the bathroom in your body. Some worms can live a long time and secrete things that will control your immune system, tricking it into thinking they are actually part of your body. Using several rounds of a parasite/harmful organism cleanse is needed in order to get the entire life-cycle of parasites. I highly recommend and use a harmful organism cleanse.
3. Very healthy diet – Eliminate gluten, refined sugar, processed dairy and most pre-packaged foods. Too much refined sugar brings your immune system down and can literally ruin your health. And it may be the biggest reason so many people get sick around holidays in which sugar is overly consumed. Cook at home with fresh and organic ingredients and try to completely eliminate dining out for a while. Many are finding that eliminating all gluten from the diet helps with weight loss as well as with many types of lifestyle illness such as diabetes. Green leafy vegetables are excellent for the immune system. Put a capful of raw, organic apple cider in each glass of purified water that you drink throughout the day. Incorporate essential fatty acids into your diet. Eat as close to nature as possible. Drink pure, clean water or prepare some of the organic fruit water recipes.
4. High Quality Probiotics – I suggest a spore bearing probiotic such as Latero-Flora taken at night before bed. Probiotics help to keep the gut (where 70-80% of the immune system is located.) populated with friendly bacteria.
5. Enzymes – Enzymes aid in digesting food, transporting nutrients, carrying away toxic wastes, purifying the blood and converting protein. On a larger scale, enzymes also slow the aging process and support our body’s wellness and homeostasis. Though our body produces enzymes naturally, our natural enzyme production begins to decline after age 25. As we age, our body produces fewer enzymes, and eventually we may become enzyme deficient. This is when many people begin to notice the effects of aging, including joint pain and circulatory problems, slower injury and wound healing, and increased internal inflammation and disease. In terms of healthy immune system function, enzymes are extremely important. White blood cells are especially rich in enzymes, which help them to digest and destroy any foreign organisms – such as viruses and bacteria that try to harm our bodies. Every day, millions of enzymes within our bodies help to renew, sustain and protect us making them very necessary for a healthy immune system.
6. Selenium – Selenium is one of the minerals that is essential to health immunological activity. Good sources of selenium are goat’s milk, free-range eggs, Pau d’Arco Tea or a quality selenium supplement.
7. Pau d’Arco Tea – Pau d’Arco tea contains selenium which is one of our body’s natural defenses against yeast infections. Its antifungal action can aid in the elimination of candida. Because of its antifungal properties, it is useful for fighting fungi that promotes athlete’s foot and other skin infections caused by fungi. Pau d’arco also has a cleansing ability and may be very useful for relieving intestinal infections, destroying parasites, and restoring colon health. A number of infection fighting substances known as napthoquinones seem to destroy certain disease causing bacteria, without destroying beneficial bacteria. This makes it an excellent natural antibiotic. As a preventative, pau d’arco has been shown to help build our immune system with the stimulation of macrophages that fight disease. The old Roman phrase, caveat emptor- – let the buyer beware, is applicable when buying Lapacho, Pau d’arco or Taheebo. As with many newly discovered helpful treatments, Lapacho is being marketed and used, often without appropriate background info. Unscrupulous suppliers have found it very profitable to grind up both the inner and worthless, bitter outer bark, and sometimes the entire tree, often without regard as to whether or not it was the correct Lapacho tree. This adulterated or even worthless material is shipped to unwary American packagers and is sold to the public as Pau d’arco, Taheebo, Ipe Roxo or Lapacho. Fortunately, there is also very high quality Lapacho in the U.S. The challenge facing the consumer, in order to achieve maximum effectiveness, is to know which of all the brands available is truly 100% inner lining of the Red or Purple Lapacho Tree. While there are numerous varieties of Lapacho trees in South America, only the inner lining of the tree has known medical value. It is this inner lining (or phloem) which carries nutrients made by the leaves to other parts of the tree and is, with the cambium layer (where all the new cells are produced) the “life” of the tree.
8. Transfer Factor – In my opinion, one of the best immune supplements on the market today. The company that makes Transfer Factor is multi-level-marketing and thus the product is expensive. This is one of a very small handful of MLM products that in my opinion is worth the money especially for those with compromised immune systems. Google 4Life Transfer Factor for information.
9. Herbal Medicine – Star anise can help the immune system protect the body against a number of different strains of flu virus. Star anise is also helpful in reducing chronic pain, cough, urinary infections, and respiratory infections. Another powerful herb to consider is Anamu. It combines antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and antitumorous capabilities into a powerful enhancer of the body’s immune defenses. For many centuries, it was used as a remedy for anxiety. Because it actually stimulates the production of T-cells, it is one of the most powerful herbs you can use to boost your immune system.
10. intraMAX – intraMAX is a liquid organic multi-vitamin/mineral complex. It is my suggestion that everyone should be on an organic multi-vitamin/mineral. intraMAX is organic and non-gmo.
11. Vitamin C – I would suggest taking to bowel tolerance. Vitamin C helps with stress and may act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help to combat free radicals, allowing your immune system to be better equipped to combat invading bacteria and microbes. I use Vitality C with GMS Metabolites.
12. Vitamin D-3 – Get out in the sun for 30-45 minutes each day or take an emulsified form of Vitamin D-3. Most people need at least 5000 IU per day, more for those fighting illness. If possible get your Vitamin D-3 levels checked before beginning supplementation and then again at 4-6 months. I use and recommend Bio D-Mulsion Forte.
13. Stress Relief – We live in a very fast-paced and stressful world. Chronic stress is quickly becoming known as the real “silent killer” in adults and children. “Some kinds of stress — very short-term, that last only a matter of minutes — actually redistribute cells in the bloodstream in a way that could be helpful,” says Suzanne Segerstrom, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky who has conducted studies on stress and the immune system. “But once stress starts to last a matter of days, there are changes in the immune system that aren’t so helpful. And the longer that stress lasts, the more potentially harmful those changes are.” This makes it imperative to deal effectively with stress issues before they become a factor for illness or disease. Walking is a great stress reliever. Activities such as gardening, rebounding, hobbies, sports, etc. are also good for relieving stress. Talking to a trusted friend, practitioner or pastor can also be helpful. Working on anger, resentment, victim mentality and other toxic emotions is also healing to the entire body.
14. Adequate Sleep – Adequate and restful sleep is VERY IMPORTANT for healing and repair of the immune system. Going to bed (sleeping — not reading, watching TV or on your laptop) by 10:30 PM every night goes a long way in restoring stress hormones to healthy levels thus supporting healthy immune function.
15. Chiropractic – Frequent chiropractic adjustments can also improve one’s immune system as well as provide stress relief. Your nervous system and immune system are very connected and work together creating optimal responses for the body to heal properly. Neural dysfunctions due to spinal misalignments stress the body and can cause changes that can lead to a poorly coordinated immune response. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to boost the coordinated responses of the nervous system and immune system.
16. Massage Therapy – Hands on healing techniques such as massage therapy may help to decrease stress, improve circulation and lymphatic drainage as well as enhance overall immune function. Lymphatic drainage techniques such as dry skin brushing, deep breathing and rebounding are also very helpful to help the body effectively eliminate toxins.
BONUS – Hormones. In order for your immune system to work properly, hormone levels should be addressed. Your adrenal glands have a significant influence on your immune system. They produce hormones that are vital to several metabolic functions, including DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and epinephrine. Your adrenal gland’s production of cortisol is essential to maintain immunity. Low levels of the progesterone | estrogen ratio have been linked to some autoimmune diseases. Your progesterone balance has an effect on proper T-cell and NK cell activity. During pregnancy, progesterone aids immune system development in the fetus which may be another reason progesterone levels are high during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Every single day your body is bombarded with chemicals, toxins, environmental pollution, noise pollution and even electromagnetic frequencies which after time can begin to have an effect on your immune system health. Certainly the above suggestions provide a large amount of information and not everything mentioned above needs to be incorporated. However, it’s good to remember that a healthy diet and cleansing are always foundational in helping the body to get well and stay well.
In conclusion, illness isn’t normal and there’s no reason one should be laid up multiple times every year with a cold, the flu or strep throat. We also need to understand that there really are people that stay healthy for years on end. How are they able to accomplish this? Most would say they were blessed with “healthy genes” but is that really the real reason? Probably not. More likely it is because they have learned to focus on their immune system health. This includes choosing to eat a very healthy diet, to exercise, to use supplements, to get adequate sleep, and to avoid toxic environments as much as possible. There’s no reason you can’t do the same.
1. Peter S. Goodman. Star Rises in Fight Against Bird Flu. The Washington Post. 2005 November 18.
2. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 470-1.
3. Guiraud P, Steiman R, Campos-Takaki GM, et al. Comparison of antibacterial and antifungal activities of lapachol and beta-lapachone. Planta Med 1994;60:373-4.
4. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 180.
5. Oswald EH. Lapacho. Br J Phytother 1993/4;3:112-7.
6. Kung HN, Yang MJ, Chang CF, Chau YP, Lu KS. In vitro and in vivo wound healing-promoting activities of beta-lapachone. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2008 Oct;295(4):C931-43. Epub 2008 Jul 23.
7. Son DJ, Lim Y, Park YH, Chang SK, Yun YP, Hong JT, Takeoka GR, Lee KG, Lee SE, Kim MR, Kim JH, Park BS. Inhibitory effects of Tabebuia impetiginosa inner bark extract on platelet aggregation and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation through suppressions of arachidonic acid liberation and ERK1/2 MAPK activation. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Nov 3;108(1):148-51.
8. Park BS, Lee HK, Lee SE, Piao XL, Takeoka GR, Wong RY, Ahn YJ, Kim JH. Antibacterial activity of Tabebuia impetiginosa Martius ex DC (Taheebo) against Helicobacter pylori. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr 21;105(1-2):255-62. Epub 2005 Dec 15.
9. Park BS, Lee KG, Shibamoto T, Lee SE, Takeoka GR. Antioxidant activity and characterization of volatile constituents of Taheebo (Tabebuia impetiginosa Martius ex DC). J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jan 1;51(1):295-300.
10. Bezerra DP, Alves AP, de Alencar NM, Mesquita Rde O, Lima MW, Pessoa C, de Moraes MO, Lopes JN, Lopes NP, Costa-Lotufo LV. Antitumor activity of two derivatives from 2-acylamine-1, 4-naphthoquinone in mice bearing S180 tumor. J Exp Ther Oncol. 2008;7(2):113-21.
11. Balassiano IT, De Paulo SA, Henriques Silva N, Cabral MC, da Gloria da Costa Carvalho M. Demonstration of the lapachol as a potential drug for reducing cancer metastasis. Oncol Rep. 2005 Feb;13(2):329-33.
12. Tandon VK, Singh RV, Yadav DB. Synthesis and evaluation of novel 1,4-naphthoquinone derivatives as antiviral, antifungal and anticancer agents. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2004 Jun 7;14(11):2901-4.
13. Schmeda-Hirschmann, G.; Papastergiou, F.Z. Naturforsch. 2003, 58c, 495.
14. Pinto CN, Dantas AP, De Moura KC, Emery FS, Polequevitch PF, Pinto MC, de Castro SL, Pinto AV. Chemical reactivity studies with naphthoquinones from Tabebuia with anti-trypanosomal efficacy. Arzneimittelforschung. 2000 Dec;50(12):1120-8.
15. Cas Lek Cesk, Nouza K, Wald M. Systemic Enzyme Therapy. 1995 Oct 4;134(19):615-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7585873.
16. White PhD, Aaron. A Guide to Transfer Factors and Immune System Health.
17. Hoffmann, PR, Berry, MJ. The Influence of Selenium on Immune Responses. 2008 Nov;52(11):1273-80. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700330.
18. Vitamin D and the Immune System.Investig Med. Aug 2011; 59(6): 881–886.doi:10.231/JIM.0b013e31821b8755.
19. Wintergerst ES, Maggini S, Hornig DH. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(2):85-94. Epub 2005 Dec 21.
20. Segerstrom, S. C. and Miller, G. E. (2004). Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry. Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 130, No. 4.
21. Suzanne C. Segerstrom et al. “Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry.” Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 130, No. 4, 2004.
22. Bruce S. McEwen. “Protective and Damaging Effects of Stress Mediators.” The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 338:171-179.
23. Sleep as a mediator of the stress-immune relationship, Psychosomatic Medicine January 1, 1998 vol. 60 no. 1 48-51.
25. Brennan PC, Triano JJ, McGregor M, et al. Enhanced neutrophil respiratory burst as a biological marker for manipulation forces: duration of the effect and association with substance P and tumor necrosis factor. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1992; 15(2):83.
26. Jockers, Dr. David. Chiropractic Boosts Immunity. February 2011.Natural News.com
27. Brennan PC, et al. Enhanced Phagocytic Cell Respiratory Burst Induced by Spinal Manipulation: Potential Role of Substance PJ Manipulative Physiol Ther 1991 (Sep); 14 (7): 399–408.
28. Ironson G, Field T, Scafidi F, Hashimoto M, Kumar M, Kumar A, Price A, Goncalves A, Burman I, Tetenman C, Patarca R, Fletcher MA. Massage therapy is associated with enhancement of the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity. Int J Neurosci. 1996 Feb;84(1-4):205-17.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.
Related articles across the web