Way of Life’s August Newsletter
August has arrived with the last days of vacation till school arrives. This is the perfect time to strengthen our family’s immune systems as we move into this busy season.
Dr Sarah Holloway of Thrive has written this month’s article describing ways for us to stay healthy.
Check the dates below for the first two classes that kick off this season’s lecture series.
The Incredible Immune System
By Dr. Sarah Holloway, ND
The word “immunity” comes from the latin word “immunis”, meaning “exempt”. The phenomenon of biological immunity was first recorded in 430 BC Athens when those recovering from a plague were noted to be capable of tending the sick without becoming reinfected themselves.
The road to our contemporary understanding of immune function is marked by disillusion. As you might imagine, it was hard to convince the status quo of the 19th century that ”invisible” living organisms, rather than Galen’s prominent “miasma theory”, were responsible for illness and death, which was often devastatingly prevalent. Those speaking out in favor of “germ theory” were initially scoffed at and even persecuted. It was indeed a bit of a witch hunt at times and more than one scientist lost life or liberty for their cause. Louis Pasteur’s (think pasteurization) experiments lent credence to the germ theory when he showed that particles in the air, rather than the air itself caused infection.
It is well established that germs cause disease. However if this were a simple truth, we would expect a one to one relationship between germs and infection. This is not the case. For example, during flu season if we were to swab the throats of, let’s say 100 individuals, we would find that the flu virus is detected in a much larger number of throats than there are symptomatic/sick people. So how can germ theory be true when contact with a germ doesn’t necessarily lead to illness?
A healthy body is like a healthy garden: it is primed to fight against unwanted invaders. There are several lifestyle practices that are pivotal to healthy immune function including stress management, goodquality sleep, exercise and a diet that provides sufficient amounts of vitamins and nutrients. For many people, our modern, fastpaced culture drives us to do too much and rest too little. We eat on the run, “burn the candle at both ends” and take care of everyone and everything else before considering our own health. This may work for a short period of time, but eventually wears down the body’s vitality and results in symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, low immune function, autoimmunity and more.
Disease is said to arise when “what is foreign cannot be eliminated and what is self is not spared,” which leads us to turn the lense on inappropriate, selfdirected activation of the immune defenses, also known as autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is a contemporary disease which was rare in evolutionary history. Although some autoimmune conditions are genetically determined, many can be considered a side effect or symptom of an underlying health problem. For example gastrointestinal dysbiosis (overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria and/or fungi), heavy metal toxicity, and use of suppressive therapies such as antibiotics and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs) are common contributory causes of autoimmunity.
When the immune system is compromised it cannot perform its function of distinguishing what should be attacked and what should be spared. Furthermore, when it does mount an attack, it is often too weak to successfully clear the offending organism. When an infection is incompletely dealt with, the microorganism will persist in the body indefinitely. This is thought to lead to immune dysfunction, which opens the door for chronic infection and inflammation, which is in turn associated with conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, opportunistic infection and autoimmune conditions.
The health of the immune system depends on healthy lifestyle choices and can be improved with the use of herbal therapies, specific nutritional prescriptions, acupuncture, detoxification support, supplementation and IV nutrient therapy. Like most things healthrelated, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This applies equally to prevention of colds and flus as to prevention of autoimmunity and chronic disease. There are many products that claim to support immunity, but it is important to have the right herbs at the right time. For example, the herbs used for immune tonification are entirely different from those chosen to help fight an infection once it is established.
Dr. Sarah Holloway is an integrative medicine practitioner who offers a unique blend of naturopathic, Western, and Chinese medicine.
If you are interested in learning more about what naturopathic medicine can do to boost your health and immunity, consider scheduling a free introductory consultation. Appointments can be booked online http://thrivenaturalmedicine.schedulista.com/or by phone at Thrive Natural Medicine 831.515.8699.
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