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 Both books appear to be a little outdated at this time but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
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
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
The Function of
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.