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Four Habits that Weaken the Immune System

Tips for Boosting the Immune System
Keeping your immune system strong is very important if you want to stay healthy. Below find advice as to how to keep or improve your immune system and thereby help your environmental illness.

Every person can help their own immune system. There are some easy ways of doing this. Make sure that the natural exits from the body for toxins are kept open. This includes ensuring that the bowels function daily, drinking adequate pure water so that the urine flow is clear (at least five pints of water a day) and cleaning the sweat from your body daily with a bath or clean cloths. Remember, you need to sweat a few times a week whether its from exercise, a sauna, sex or menopausal hot flashes, or just the hot weather of summer. Breathing easily and deeply in an unrestricted way is important - exercise can help you do that.

Herbs are commonly prescribed during a change of season to help a person adapt to the changing weather. By planning ahead and taking herbs accordingly, one can drastically reduce the frequency and severity of catching the common cold or the flu.

Many herbs enhance the immune system. Herbs that perform such functions include astragalus, ganoderma and cordyceps.

Astragalus is one of the most frequently used Chinese herbs and has historically been used to tonify the lungs and indirectly protects against external pathogenic factors.

Ganoderma has been traditionally used to tonify blood and vital energy. It is thus essential in rebuilding a patient's constitution. Ganoderma increases the number of white blood cells and inhibits the growth of various viruses and bacteria associated with the flu. It has been demonstrated to enhance the immune system in various clinical studies.

Cordyceps has traditionally been used in chronic debilitated patients. It is an excellent herb to tonify the kidney and improve overall bodily constitution. Cordyceps is another herb which has marked immunomodulatory functions.

Keep in mind that while these herbs are effective individually, they should be prescribed in the content of an herbal formula to enhance synergistic action and minimize possible side-effects.

Contraindications of these herbs
Astragalus, ganoderma, cordyceps and herbs that boost the immune system are contraindicated for patients taking immunosuppressants such as imuran (azathioprine) or sandimmune (cyclosporin). These drugs are commonly prescribed following organ transplant surgery to suppress the immune system and prevent tissue rejection. Because these herbs have potent immune enhancing effects, they should not be prescribed for patients taking immunosuppresants following organ transplant surgery. Despite their weak constitution, use of some immune enhancing herbs can increase the risk of rejection and severely compromise the patient's health.


Four Habits that Weaken the Immune System

Certain foods and environmental influences can keep the immune system from doing a good job. Watch out for these threats to your body's defences.
1. Overdosing on sugar
Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.
2. Excess alcohol
Excessive alcohol intake can harm the body's immune system in two ways. First, it produces an overall nutritional deficiency, depriving the body of valuable immune- boosting nutrients. Second, alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill germs. High doses of alcohol suppress the ability of the white blood cells to multiply, inhibit the action of killer white cells on cancer cells, and lessen the ability of macrophages to produce tumour necrosis factors. One drink (the equivalent of 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 ounces of hard liquor) does not appear to bother the immune system, but three or more drinks do. Damage to the immune system increases in proportion to the quantity of alcohol consumed. Amounts of alcohol that are enough to cause intoxication are also enough to suppress immunity.
3. Food allergens
Due to a genetic quirk, some divisions of the immune army recognize an otherwise harmless substance (such as milk) as a foreign invader and attack it, causing an allergic reaction. Before the battle, the intestinal lining was like a wall impenetrable to foreign invaders. After many encounters with food allergens, the wall is damaged, enabling invaders and other potentially toxic substances in the food to get into the bloodstream and make the body feel miserable. This condition is known as the leaky gut syndrome.
4. Too much fat
Obesity can lead to a depressed immune system. It can affect the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies, and rush to the site of an infection.

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