“Please keep in mind the distinction between healing and treatment: treatment originates from outside, whereas healing comes from within.” -- Andrew Weil
If you’ve been at all concerned about your immune system during seasonal changes, then chances are a family member, friend, or complete stranger online offered you a tip or trick for “boosting” your immune system.
These include everything from eating the right nutrients, taking the right supplements, avoiding specific irritants, and more. This also includes the use of probiotics and/or fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha — you name it.
Fermented foods are super rich in beneficial bacteria called probiotics, which populate your 30-foot-long gastrointestinal tract, more simply known as the “gut.”
The Strange But True Fact Surrounding Your Gut
Your body is made of more bacteria than human cells, and the gut alone contains trillions of microbes… we’re talking bacteria and fungi… and some of them are good and others bad.
Probiotics do wonders to fuel the stomach with nutrients that target bad pathogens and promote “good bacteria.” The goal is to keep a natural balance of gut bacteria, which can help reduce chances of illness, digestive issues, allergies, weight issues, and more.
While the gut plays an extremely important role for the body, the immune system just isn’t tied to it alone. It’s tied into your cells, tissues, and organs that all work together to prevent infection.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. First, it’s important to understand how the immune system works.
Non-Specific (Innate) Immunity Versus Specific Immunity
Your immune system has two levels of immunity known as specific (Adaptive Level) and non-specific (Innate Level) immunity. The human body has the power to protect itself against foreign materials that can be perceived as dangerous or harmful.
Your skin and mucous membranes are barriers to foreign materials (aka pathogens) which can breach these outer barriers. For example, when you accidentally cut your finger or inhale dangerous substances that go into your lungs serious infection can occur.
On the other hand, specific, adaptive immunity occurs within the body when it fights against a specific pathogen. Two types of white blood cells (lymphocytes) are the key to specific immune response. They are produced in the bone marrow, with the two most common being T cells and B cells, of which there are multiple subsets.
Regulatory T cells help control, quiet and reset your immune response to help stop attacks.
Organs, Tissues, Infection, and Disease
Your organs and tissues are extremely important for staying healthy. These include your lymph nodes, spleen, appendix, tonsils, thymus, and Peyer’s patches within the small intestine.
An infection occurs when a pathogen makes its way into the body and reproduces. When an infection hits, it usually leads to an immune response.
The wild thing is that this is happening all the time. Your body is working to counter all of its threats and protect it against all odds. Sometimes an infection will lead to disease, especially when immunity is impaired.
When you’re not getting enough sleep, are taking in poor nutrients, or life’s stresses have gotten to you, it becomes harder and harder for your body to fight these threats off. Fever and inflammation are usually the first symptoms of your body trying to fight disease and infection off.
Strengthening Your Immune System Takes a Village
At the beginning of this article, we connected with the idea that the gut is a hugely important part of the equation, but we can’t get caught up on probiotics and gut health as the cure-all.
Other key factors to staying healthy include:
- Making sure you’re getting balanced nutrients: Like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and more.
- Moving your body: Exercise is essential for keeping your organs and tissues healthy.
- Finding calm and positivity: Sleep is so very important, along with staying mentally balanced and clear. Stress has been scientifically linked to inflammation and disease. Likewise, positive thought and good vibes have been directly linked to higher levels of immunity.
Keeping your immune system at peak performance (most of the time) is possible. The secret to your success begins with understanding how it works, how wonderful it is, and then taking defined steps toward giving it some love.
When it comes to nutrients, at 23Vitals, we’ve combined the most strategic, comprehensive combination of immune-enhancing ingredients on the planet. When combined with a balanced diet, daily exercise, a dose of calm and positive mindset, and plenty of sleep, the immune system can’t help but breathe easier.