Due to the use of antibiotics, inflammatory foods, and environmental toxins, the immune system has become one of the most neglected and tarnished systems in our bodies. This is the reason people have a hard time fighting off infections, as well as the reason why so many autoimmune conditions are developing. In order to prevent and fight infections, we must support the production of the various components of the immune system as well as the release of the main cells needed to protect the body.
In this article, I will address four of the main areas to work on to completely rebuild the entire immune system.
According to Ayurveda, the first thing to be done is fasting. Fasting allows the bodies own metabolism to burn up whatever toxic waste is remaining within the body, improve the function of the bodies defense mechanisms, improve the metabolism and reduce inflammation. The best part is that this has been scientifically proven through research at the University of Southern California.
The research showed that fasting can regenerate the entire immune system and kill off any damaged parts of the immune system that are not functioning properly. Brand new white blood cells are formed by the triggering of stem cells as a direct result of fasting.
Prof. Valto Longo, a professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences at the University, made the following statements in an interview (1),
“”It gives the ‘OK’ for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,”
“And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting.
“Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”
“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,”
“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,”
In other studies done on fasting, specifically on intermittent fasting, a process known as “Autophagy” was observed. Autophagy is basically a cellular process in which “waste” is removed. Broken and dysfunctional proteins are metabolized and expelled from the cells (2). In fact, the deficiency of autophagy is related to almost every auto-immune disease – meaning, the regulation of this process is crucial for proper immune function. Other studies have shown intermittent fasting to reduce the effects of oxidative stress and inflammation (3).
Ayurveda has been advocating the practice of fasting to boost the body’s immune system and fighting off infections for literally thousands of years. Now you have the scientific proof that fasting does have a profound impact on the immune system.
2. Probiotics & Prebiotics
The bacteria present within the digestive tract are literally the part of the immune system’s foundation and must be constantly replenished. The main bacteria are known as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium – these are crucial for not only immune function but several digestive conditions as well. Taking a probiotic supplement is needed to rebuild the immune system and improve the intestinal barrier which protects us from unwanted microbes and toxins from entering the bloodstream. This bacteria modulate the immune system and boost the body’s ability to fight off infections.
In addition to Probiotics (Healthy bacteria), we also need Prebiotics (nourishment for the bacteria). Foods such garlic, onions, spring onions, chicory root, asparagus, etc – literally feed the healthy bacteria and help maintain their numbers. A supplement of this may be used as well.
3. Promote Metabolic Function
The prime location of the immune system is actually the Digestive tract.
The next step in Ayurveda is to strengthen, support and promote the functioning of the digestive system and its components. This is done by administering certain herbs that not only boost the digestive system but also help in regulating the process of autophagy. These herbs are classified into two main pharmacological groups:
These drugs together improve the breakdown, absorption, assimilation, and movement of food through the digestive system. They also assist in improving insulin sensitivity, which is needed for the induction of autophagy – which literally detoxifies each and every cell. These drugs also have a strong impact on the immune function by being anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-microbial.
The use of certain foods and herbs help increase the levels of certain immune system components such as Interferons, Natural killer cells, T-Cells, B-Cells, etc.
One of the most simple solutions for this is a herb known as Tulsi (Holy Basil). In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial, Tulsi significantly increased levels of interferon-y, interleukin-4, natural killer cells, and T-helper cells (5). Tulsi is also used for treating certain infections such as the common cold and flu as well as certain oral infections.
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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by Dr. Nishal R.
Copyright © 2017
1. Sarah Knapton – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10878625/Fasting-for-three-days-can-regenerate-entire-immune-system-study-finds.html
2. Alirezaei, Mehrdad et al. “Short-Term Fasting Induces Profound Neuronal Autophagy.” Autophagy 6.6 (2010): 702–710. PMC. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.
3. Johnson, James B. et al. “Alternate Day Calorie Restriction Improves Clinical Findings and Reduces Markers of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Overweight Adults with Moderate Asthma.” Free radical biology & medicine42.5 (2007): 665–674. PMC. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.