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The Immune System


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Just as our nation spends billions of dollars each year keeping our Army ready for war, so does the body constantly maintain its own defense system. The immune system protects us from invaders in the form of bacteria, viruses and so on, if we supply it with the proper materials. When our immune system is weakened, the invaders soon take over, resulting in disease and/or premature death.

The immune system consists of white blood cells, called lymphocytes. These are found in the blood, thymus gland, bone marrow, spleen, and lymph notes in the neck, groin, and armpits as well as near the intestines. All lymphocytes come from a specific ancestral cell created in the bone marrow. Some become T-cells and some become B-cells. The "T" stands for thymus, while the "B" stands for bursa.

The more important T-cells leave the bone marrow after maturity and go through the thymus gland, the master gland of the immune system. Here, hormone-like chemicals, called thymosins, program them to develop slightly differently from each other, with receptors that enable each T-cell to identify one particular type of invading enemy.

The B-cells stay in the thymus gland and develop "jumping genes" which make particular antibodies (protein molecules) that attack specific antigens (allergenic enemies). Inside the B-cells are seven separate parts. There are several different versions of each part that migrate and link up with one another to determine which antibody to make. These "jumping genes" can produce an astronomical number of molecules that seek out and destroy enemy invaders. However, the optimum condition of this army is totally dependent upon proper diet and nutrition.

A fairly good book on diet and nutrition and how various foods relate to good health and disease is Prescription for Dietary Wellness by Phyllis Balch and James Balch, M.D. It is a practical guide for the lay person that explains in detail how to use foods to heal. They also wrote a companion book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, a self-help guide to healing oneself through vitamins, minerals, herbs and food supplements. Both books appear to be a little outdated at this time but are full of good basic information.  I would rate them a 6 on a scale of 1-10 where 10 is excellent.  

A more recent book explaining how food antigens and lectins work in our bodies is Eat Right 4 Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo.  Two excellent books for the lay person and/or professional are Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, DDS and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, a must read by anyone who cooks for others.


An underactive immune system leads to an increased risk of disease. When our body becomes infected, we use up essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E and minerals like zinc, potassium, chromium, iron and copper. Unless these nutrients are replaced, the stage is set for more serious disorders.

It is estimated that approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer. Many believe the ever increasing rates of cancer in the U.S. are the result of an epidemic of chronic malnutrition leading to chronic immune deficiency. A body cannot defend or heal itself when fed a diet of nutrient-low foods.

Think of the body as being composed of millions of tiny little engines, all on call 24 hours a day. In order for these engines to work right, they require specific fuels. When the type of fuel given is the wrong blend, the engine will not perform to its maximum capacity. When the fuel is of poor grade, the engine may sputter and hesitate, creating a loss of power. When the engine is given no fuel, it will stop.

For us, much of the fuel we give our engines comes directly from the things we eat. The foods we eat contain nutrients. These nutrients come in the form of vitamins, minerals, hydrocarbons, water, enzymes, amino acids, and fats. And it is these nutrients that allow us to sustain life by providing us with the basic materials our body needs to carry on its daily functions.

Is food enough to keep our bodies healthy?

In the past, food was more than enough to sustain a healthy body. Now, however, it is quite a different story.



An estimated 100,000 chemicals are poured into our environment every day. Many of these chemicals which end up in our air, water, soil, and ultimately in the food we eat are "immuno-toxic" or poison to the immune system. Experts fear these environmental pollutants are a significant threat to longevity.

The invisible threats of radiation and harmful electromagnetic waves cause additional problems for our immune systems. Immune cells rely upon micro-electrical fields to communicate with each other. Researchers are concerned that when these waves disrupt communication in the immune system, it will leave the system weakened and vulnerable.

Air pollution, primarily from auto exhaust and factory emissions, is a primary carcinogen that threatens the lungs and immune system. Smog destroys elastin, the connective tissue frame work in the lungs and supporting immune cells. Since our government does not take pervasive action against environmental immuno-toxins, we must take action to protect ourselves. Part of this protection comes from buying organic food.

Conventional produce grown on "modern" farms is covered with pesticides and assorted petrochemicals. More than 2,600,000,000 pounds of pesticides are used on food crops every year in the U.S. alone. Many of these pesticides are known to cause cancer and genetic damage, and many more have never been tested for safety.

In 1972, Congress estimated that up to 93% of all chemicals sprayed on food crops have not been tested for potential harmful effects in humans. When chemicals are shown to be dangerous to humans they may still be allowed under a policy of "risk assessment." In other words, if the chemical causes no more that one added case of reported cancer per million people, it is considered an acceptable risk. The problem is, it is very difficult to prove the cause of a specific cancer. Thus many deaths go unreported.

The Function of Vitamins

Vitamins are essential to life. They are considered micro-nutrients because the body needs them in relatively small amounts compared with other nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water. Of the major vitamins, some are water-soluble and some are oil-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins must be taken into the body daily as they cannot be stored and are excreted within one to four days. These include vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins. Oil-soluble vitamins can be stored for longer periods of time in the body's fatty tissue and in the liver. These include vitamins A, D, E. and K.

We can not absorb vitamins without the appropriate enzymes. Enzymes work with vitamins as activators for the chemical reactions that must take place for our bodies to use the nourishment. That is why it is so important to to eat raw organic foods and if taking supplements to use a food based variety. Heat (cooking) destroys enzymes and most vitamin pills that you purchase at the drug store or health food store are processed with heat. There is a company that does not use heat to process their food based vitamins... see Progressive Labs.


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