While we all think that in order to boost our immune system, we need a handful of supplements, let’s discuss the initial building blocks of immune stimulation that MUST be in order BEFORE adding immune stimulating nutrition. Understand, I am a huge proponent of taking good quality supplements, but we need to make SURE that our body is prepared to even receive such nutrition in order to receive the full benefit.
There are FOUR main necessities that must first be considered in balancing one’s immune system. Whether you are fighting a chronic or acute infection, dealing with a immune suppressing disease (like Cancer or HIV), or struggling with an autoimmune disorder, make sure these four pillars are in effect in your life:
- Get enough adequate SLEEP. If you are not sleeping well, there is NO way you can have a decent immune response to anything! Some people mistakingly think they can cheat sleep as they age and this is a mistake. I don’t care who you are, you NEED 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Anything less will greatly limit a healthy immune response to pathogens and disease. What can one take to aide sleep? Here are my favorite methods to help someone not able to get healthy sleep:
- First, discover WHY you are not sleeping. Is your cortisol too high before bed? Are you allowing stressful events cloud your thinking? Do you have a regular schedule for sleep time? Is your diet an issue? Are you drinking alcohol in the evening? Are you eating prepared foods with high MSG levels that “rev-up” your brain? Do you need to restrict screen time (your phone, TV…) that can stimulate higher brain wave activity that can inhibit sleep? Do you need to use room darkening shades? Do you have unresolved PAIN keeping you awake? There are many other “causes” that one should investigate.
- Melatonin and herbal products can help induce sleep. Melatonin itself has been shown to boost the immune response but is absolutely necessary to induce sleep. Deficiency in melatonin production is common and supplementing melatonin does not reduce one’s own natural production. I like a product call Insomnitol from Designs for Health as it combines several other herbal calming agents that can help induce sleep.
- CBD can be a great help especially if the cause of sleeplessness is anxiety related. CBD can help calm the brain and relax the body.
- THC is now legal in most every state and is a great sleep inducer. Combine 2-10mg THC with CBD about 30 minutes before bed time and this can be a great intervention.
- RIFE programs. Try using the Insomnia program and/or the Pain Bio programs before bed time.
- Move your body. There are two common immune suppressors – too MUCH exercise and too LITTLE exercise. We need to find a middle balance. I know that severely immune suppressed individuals may not feel like exercising and some are even bedridden. However, even getting yourself a set of 3 pound dumbbells and doing 15 curls thrice per day is a great start. Others can start going for regular walks, doing a serious of gentle calisthenics, or my favorite, weight training as it stimulates muscles and burns excess glucose while stimulating the immune system.
- Diet. To stimulate an adequate immune response one needs to decrease simple carbohydrates (sugar) and eat enough PROTEIN.
- Surprising new research shows that we need at least 1 gram of ingested protein per pound of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, eat 150 grams of good quality, organic, grass-fed (if possible) meat or wild-caught fish. That may be a LOT more than the average ill person is consuming and could be one reason why said ill person is ill. If you are a Vegan, stop. Start following this suggestion and get your immune system back into balance.
- Chronic inflammation from intestinal issues are also common and need to be addressed. The most common issues are:
- Inadequate acidity in the stomach. The standard American diet of high sugar, poor quality proteins, and chemical rich fake foods has damaged the ability of many people to produce the necessary HCL to digest their food. Many cancer patients fall to the ridiculously inaccurate alkaline water diets thinking that drinking high pH water will alkalize their cancer when it simply dilutes the HCL in the stomach and impedes proper digestion. When one has less that needed HCL, digestion is incomplete, food travels to the intestines only partially processed, and malabsorption, pancreatic stress, and damaged intestinal barriers ensues. Start by adding apple cider vinegar – 1-2 tablespoons before each meal. When that is well tolerated, switch to HCL-XYM – 1-2 before each meal. If you find that you cannot even tolerate apple cider vinegar, you may need to take a deglycerated licorice root for a few weeks to heal your stomach walls.
- Get tested for infections. While an entire stool parasitology test may be in order, the most common issue with gut problems may be Helicobacter pylori which most commonly goes undetected. I write a lot about this little bad-guy so I won’t add much here. Berberine is a great killer of this nasty infection.
- Food antigens. Food sensitivities are a common, often overlooked source of chronic systemic inflammation as well as major gut issues. Get tested with a Cyrex lab panel – call the clinic for more information.
- Emotions and relationships. This one is easy to overlook but may be the most important. I see people everyday with chronic disease, cancer, and chronic autoimmune issues. I’ve noticed over 35 years of taking care of people that many that continue to struggle after seemingly doing many “right things” fall into several common camps:
- The camp of narcissism. We are all born sinners needing a Savior. While no one wants to admit narcissist tendencies, the ones that cannot self-reflect enough to realize that they are rooted in selfishness and need to repent of such behavior on a daily basis are in grave danger. I’ve seen born-again, professing Christians, curse God, their doctor and me for not healing them. We all go through our whiny, 2-year-old-like tantrums of demanding what WE want and blaming everyone and everything when we don’t get it. While I realize there are stages of grief through which we may need to progress, many get “stuck” in the narcissistic stage of pity that is greatly destructive to oneself and everyone near. Some have learned that such demanding behavior has served them well in this worldly adventure and would fall into a psychological description of pathological narcissist. However, God can heal anyone who is willing to surrender to Him. Let us all ask Him to take our lives, fully, with all our self-centered demands, self-righteous stances, self subscribed “rights” and even real, healthy Godly needs and do with these as HE wants. Let us ask Him to reveal to us that He is sovereign over EVERYTHING, even life and death. Let us learn to do all we can yet trust Him for every outcome. Let us strive to bring HIM glory in all things, whether we judge these things to be good or bad, even life and death. Let us surrender DAILY and ask Him to help us trust Him more.
- The Camp of Anxiety. Again, going through a time of severe anxiety just might be a step we all take through the grief process in chronic disease. However, like each of these camps, we do NOT want to live here. Anxiety can be caused by emotionally learned behavior traits but usually also has neurotransmitter and/or hormonal connections. This physiological response to difficulty is far easier to manage through proper testing and care. Call the clinic to converse with me about appropriate labs and interventions that can help with chronic anxiety that can easily deplete one’s immune response.
- The Camp of No Hope. When we have less-than-supportive people groups with whom we associate, one can easily lose all hope and worse, lose desire to heal. One needs to actively seek relationships that bring comfort. Find a church, support group, Bible study, or hobby group. These DO exist and are everywhere. We need to purposefully take steps to make friends and don’t allow the enemy to discourage you in your efforts. Discouragement is one of the enemy’s greatest tools. Fight back. Become a warrior; make friends.
The chart below walks through the next steps, after the basic building blocks in building back one’s immune system which we will cover in subsequent blogs and videos. Keep fighting the good fight and both trusting in and surrendering to the Lord of Lords.
NOTE: All of the above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Dr. Conners graduated with his doctorate from Northwestern Health Sciences University in 1986. He holds AMA Fellowships in Regenerative & Functional Medicine and Integrative Cancer Therapy.
He is the author of numerous books including, Stop Fighting Cancer and Start Treating the Cause, Cancer Can’t Kill You if You’re Already Dead, Help, My Body is Killing Me, Chronic Lyme, 3 Phases of Lyme, 23 Steps to Freedom, and many more you can download for FREE on our books page.