Optimizing your immune system
We are all living in this humanitarian crisis. Obviously, as with any damage to our health, some will be more affected than others and some better prepared. The strength of our immune system can have a positive impact in order to counter the reproduction of a virus in our body.
I am sometimes asked here in Montreal if osteopathic care can help the immune system? We will see some possible applications while taking into account that any form of bodily tension and damage to health reduces the protective efficiency of the organism because they require an amount of energy or ATP to maintain them. Osteopathy is always a great way to optimize all of the body’s systems. Repairing the digestive tract and relaxing the organs is particularly important since the immune system is affected by a deterioration of the intestinal membrane and a good osteopath can prevent a deterioration in health.
I recently listened to a podcast by Dr. Matt Cook, a specialist in infections and immune system in California who offers avant-garde treatments to treat Lyme disease and various serious health problems, among others. I’ve included in this text some relevant information from his speech.
How does the immune system work?
In fact, the immune system is divided into two, an innate system and an adaptive system. The first is the response to a viral infection or antigen that makes you feel sick. The fever and the various associated symptoms which generally last between 7 and 10 days are the consequences of the innate immune system which defends itself with its different cells and inflammatory responses to take over the invaders. Then the adaptive immune system keeps in memory specific proteins of this viral or bacterial attack and the next contact with this attacker is entirely taken care of by the adaptive system and we have no symptoms of disease. The response of the first immune system, by the response of the fighting cells, is crucial for healing and the presence of fever is in itself a sign of healing and not a sign of disease which must be suppressed with drugs according to Dr. Thomas Cowan , an expert in immunology.
It is good to consider that 60% of the immune system, IS, seems to find itself at the border of the digestive tract. So the microbiome and the integrity of the digestive tract is essential in order to prepare a solid foundation for the IS. Adding bone broths and colostrum with their glycosaminoglycans and a whole arsenal of molecules essential to the functioning of the SI seems to be an excellent asset in order to maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall and strengthen the IS. The repair of the digestive tract in itself is a whole subject that would come in a future blog.
How does a virus reproduce?
A bacteria is said to be invisible to the human eye. If the bacteria had eyes, a virus would be invisible to them. These more than tiny organisms seek to survive inside a host, an animal cell, and hack into DNA transcription mechanisms so that the cell can reproduce their own. Thus viruses can multiply and transfer to neighboring cells. When a cell, or a set of cells, is hit, the immune system sets in motion and sends its fighting cells to the scene to stop the invasion. Edema is created, through the dilation of the arteries, and the ground becomes the site of inflammation. A variety of molecules are secreted to carry out this process and some are pro-inflammatory like cytokines nf-kappa-b (nuclear factor kappa B) and Tnf and some are anti-inflammatory like Nrf-2 which decrease the inflammatory response when the area is under control. However, when the inflammation gets out of control, there is what is called a cytokines storm, when these pro-inflammatory molecules are constantly secreted and perpetuate the general inflammatory.
This was the case during the Spanish flu of 1918, which in this particular case rather affected children and young adults, perhaps because older people had passed through the epidemic of the Russian flu to the late 19th century. There was a chain reaction of cytokine production which led to excessive inflammation and possibly dramatic consequences in the lungs, sometimes leading to death from sepsis as well.
The same is true for Corona Virus, according to Dr. Matt Cook. The epithelial cells of the lungs, the surface cells, are affected and go into apoptosis, or cell death, which creates even more inflammation. There is edema and less exchange with the outside and therefore less oxygen in the blood and possibly, sepsis and death for some.
Boosting the immune system
We will see several tips tactics to stimulate and optimize the immune system. You are also invited to do more research to deepen these means and be able to apply them healthily.
1. Stimulate the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system involves a circuit of fluids which circulate thanks to the movement of the body and under the action of muscles and joints. These fluids carry back waste and serve as transport for the immune system. Without movement, there is stagnation and therefore a possibility of developing various symptoms linked to the accumulation of toxins and cellular waste.
- Jump, bounce, move and exercise
10 minutes a day, you can jump and bounce, shake the body, dance and engage in physical exercise daily.
Massage has been known for millennia to circulate the lymph. A Deep Tissue massage will seek therapeutic relaxation while activating the lymphatic system. However, if you are already with symptoms of low immunity or fighting a viral attack, refrain from massage or Deep Tissue which will put more toxins in circulation in the body.
Osteopathy is a great way to release internal tensions that block the path of the lymph in order to accentuate the cleaning of cellular waste. A good osteopath will create more mobility in the thoracic frame where several important lymph nodes are located.
- Sweat and saunas
Sweating, also used for thousands of years, is a great way to help the body cleanse itself of toxins and internal waste. A daily infrared sauna session can be a great way to make sure to flush out accumulated toxins and exposure to heat and then cold creates a hormesis effect that boosts the body’s natural defenses.
2.Exposure to cold
Wim Hof became its father in the West. Exposure to cold appears to have scientifically proven results to stimulate SI. Without being able to dive into an icy pool, especially after a sauna, taking a 5-minute shower alternating 10 times 20 seconds of cold water and 10 of hot water would have striking effects on the creation of ” heat shock protein ” and IS optimization
3. Wim Hof breathing
Wim hof drew its breathing on pranayama techniques from Indian yogis to popularize his technique. Scientists have studied it by injecting him with a toxin that invariably produces fever and other symptoms. Yet neither he nor his students develop them in the presence of this toxin stating its breathing techniques lead him and his students to fortify there is. For more information, see my blog on Wim Hof.
Extending the fasting period in the morning is a great way to help make the IS effective. During the fasting period and especially from the 12th hour, the cleaning of cellular waste and dead cells is increased. Intermittent fasting from 14 to 16h. may be a good habit. By adding a supplement of 8 essential amino acids that give the body the building blocks it needs but keeps it in a fasted state, it’s easy to do every day. However, beyond 16h., it is possible that a greater detoxification takes place and can negatively affect the IS for a short period.
5. No sugar please
Sugar is an enemy of SI. We are talking about simple sugar like cane sugar and its derivatives added in many ready-to-eat products. There is a direct link between a spike in blood sugar with the entry of these sugars into the blood and a drop in the IS. Honey remains the best option for sweetening everything, but a diet with little glycemic variation is ideal like an intermittent ketogenic diet.
6. Deep sleep
Getting enough sleep is a cornerstone for overall health. For the IS, it is still a number one strategy. Being sure you have a restful sleep can make a difference to the body’s immunity to viral and bacterial attacks. See my blog on sleep for more trick on improving deep sleep. https://optimumosteo.com/optimising-your-sleep/
7. Supplements to optimize the IS
Through the panoply of plants and supplements, here are the essentials. Obviously, taking supplements is based on the premise that health status is first on a solid foundation and that there is no significant harm to the body. If the body is affected by profound failings of the immune system or by an autoimmune disease or any deep disease of the system, the supplements will never by themselves address the underlying problems and these must be taken care of by a health professional.
- Oregano oil
Oil of oregano has been known for a long time and is now proven by modern studies for its antioxidant, antiviral, antiseptic properties. Several compounds specific to these plants give it its effects. I like to take 2 drops in the morning and 2 in the evening.
- Zinc lozenges
Zinc is necessary for more than 3000 actions in the body and studies have shown that taking zinc reduces the time associated with cold symptoms if consumed early. However, it seems that zinc lozenges that dissolve ions in the mouth are more effective than tablets because they directly penetrate the nasal cavity and the bronchi. According to Dr. Matt Cook, zinc prevents virus replication.
Echinacea has long been known for its antimicrobial activities. Studies have shown that the plant even activates “heat shock protein”, which are activated also by saunas and which optimize the action of the innate immune system. Echinacea increases the action of macrophages and the production of red blood cells. It also increases internal production of erythropoietin, or EPO, the well-known substance banned by cyclists. It seems that a dose of 900 to 1500 mg per day divided into three doses is sufficient.
- Medicinal mushrooms
Several medicinal mushrooms have immunomodulatory properties and contain beta-glucans and other bioactive molecules that fight bacteria and viruses. Several studies have shown an increase in immunity from the digestive tract and a decrease in inflammation with shitake. Easily accessible chaga has many known antiviral properties. A mixture of shitake, chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, turkey tail, cordyceps, and maitake could be optimal to strengthen the daily immune defenses.
- The 8 Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids are the basic building blocks of our body. The 8 essentials are the ones we need to get from food and through these proteins that we break down once in our body, we use amino acids for all of our body systems. Amino acids are essential for muscles and bones, but also essential for the functioning of the immune system, the creation of neurotransmitters, the repair of the intestinal mucosa, the transport of oxygen and much more. When we are deficient in protein, our body must select which system will use the available amino acids and it may be the immune system that suffers, or another. It is therefore essential to have every day all the essential amino acids. Ben Greenfield, author and speaker on the cutting edge of optimal health, recommends 0.55 to 0.8 g of protein per pound of weight. Is this your daily consumption? The 8 essentials amino acids sold in supplements are a 99% assimilable source and a 5g serving is equivalent to 15g of protein. Usually sold online because they are still new on the market and popularized in the field of high-performance athletes and biohackers, you can contact me if you want some at the best possible price. For my part, I use them every day in my intermittent fasting mornings and during or after physical exercices.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is very popular and according to Dr. Matt Cook, it could prove to be an inexpensive basic protection against an epidemic like the one we are currently experiencing. You have to make sure you have a good quality vitamin C because these are often made in China and contain traces of chemicals and heavy metals. According to Dr. Matt Cook, Vitamin C increases the resistance of organs to sepsis, one of the possible outcome of this virus. 500mg once or twice a day is enough to saturate the tissues.
- Bees products
Honey, pollen, royal jelly and especially propolis, all contain agents that fortify the IS. The latter contains more than 300 molecules with antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer and immunomodulatory properties.
- Vitamin D
Sun’s vitamin is one of the bases of our entire system. Some debate whether supplementation is really effective. Some say yes and some demonstrate that the activation of cholesterol under the influence of the sun’s rays only takes place in the presence of our star. Whatever the strategy, 30 min of exposure or a supplement of 3000 to 5000 U, vitamin D reduces the risk of sepsis also according to Dr. Matt Cook and benefit the IS via many different pathways.
- Astragalus and other adaptogens
Astragalus is a plant particularly used in Chinese medicine to strengthen immunity and basic Chi to ward off attacks by the external environment. Western medicine gives it immunomodulatory and adaptogenic properties. Like astragalus, several other adaptogenic plants could be interesting for strengthening the energy of the body such as ginseng, Siberian or panax, or even gynomstemma, this plant whose aerial parts are used in tea and contain ginsenoids giving it the title of longevity tea.
8. Nourish your microbiome
As we mentioned, a healthy intestinal flora is essential to support a healthy IS. The presence of unwanted bacteria, parasites, fungal overgrowth or even chronic inflammation can undoubtedly harm the delicate balance of the IS. A diet rich in sugar or polluted by environmental toxins such as pesticides, antibiotics and GMOs can really unbalance the intestinal flora and damage the integrity of the wall of the digestive tract.
First, consider organic food to limit the damage to our bacterial colonies is an important choice to make on a daily basis. In my practice in Osteopathy, I observe that many have a robustness at this level, especially the generations born before the years 60-70s who were exposed late to the mass arrival of pesticides. But many of us can easily be out of balance in the digestive tract and it is essential to call a health professional to harmonize your gut if you have symptoms and these can be as wide as depression, skin problem, gut problem, bloathing and much more.
In order to properly feed the good bacteria, the daily intake of diversified plant fibers allows the microbiome to proliferate and ward off the invasion of bad bacteria and other biofilms. Consuming fermented products daily is also a basic choice for our diet. Since 60 to 75% of the SI resides in the digestive tract, the creatures living in this tube play a vital role for immunity and absorption of nutrients. Sauerkraut, kim-chi, yogurt, miso, fermented drink, all these products are essential for a healthy intestinal flora.
9. Ozone therapy
In his podcast, Dr. Matt Cook explains how ozone therapy is one of the most effective methods that have been used to treat patients with multiple severe simultaneous infections such as Lyme disease. These patients all have problems with the digestive tract and have high levels of chronic inflammation. Ozonation of blood plasma seems to be one of the most effective treatment out there. It was used even in the Ebola epidemic by a doctor, and there were fewer reports of complications from the virus with his patients.
Although this therapy is not very accessible for most people due to its specificity and high cost, it is possible to obtain ozone tablets and diffuse them in water and even buy a small machine to ozonate your water. Ozone is toxic when breathed in but once released into the blood plasma, ozone appears to have exceptional anti-inflammatory properties by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing Tnf-2. Ozone is said to be antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic.
10. The practice of gratitude
One last tip, which links the psyche and emotions to the body. Studies have shown that having a daily gratitude journal strengthens the immune system and decreases symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. In my article on gratitude, you can find out more.
Obviously, these tactics are there to be information leads to enrich the possibilities and they can allow you to continue your research on your health.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions!
For your well being,