From our environment, to our food, medicine and lifestyle, we are surrounded by things that depress our immune system. Knowing the culprits can make a big difference in how long and how often you encounter illness.
Sucrose suppresses the immune system, leads to weight gain and leaches precious minerals from your body. Even in small amounts, sugar is detrimental to your health. Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of about two cans 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. It plays significant effect on your hormones, throwing your body out of balance and into a state of biochemical chaos. If you eat sugar, morning, noon and night, your body is always in this state of chaos leading to disease. Furthermore, sugar is actually an anti-nutrient, meaning that it leaches nutrients from your body! Because certain nutrients are removed from sugar in the refining process, your body cannot process it. So, it leaches minerals from your body to attach to the refined sugar molecules in order to move the sugar through your body.
2. Lack of Sleep
You may have noticed you’re more likely to catch a cold or other infection when you’re not getting enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher levels of a stress hormone. It may also lead to more inflammation in your body. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how sleep boosts the immune system, it’s clear that getting enough usually at least 7 hours for an adult — is one key for good health. Lack of sleep also effects the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is a powerful hydroxyl radical scavenger, and is more than twice as effective as vitamin E at scavenging peroxyl radicals.
Contrary to the advice of medical professionals, vaccines hamper the immune system and do not enhance it. Vaccines contain many chemicals and heavy metals, like mercury and aluminum, which are in-themselves immuno-suppressing. Mercury actually causes changes in the lymphocyte activity and decreases lymphocyte viability. Vaccines also alter our t-cell helper/suppressor ratios … just like those seen with AIDS. This ratio is a key indicator of a proper functioning immune system. They suppress our immunity merely buy over-taxing our immune system with foreign material, heavy metals, pathogens and viruses. The heavy metals slow down our immune system, while the viruses set up shop to grow and divide. It is like being chained and handcuffed before swimming.
More research on hundreds of different drugs are suggesting that the they increase a person’s susceptibility to infection by crippling immune function. Researchers found that certain people taking antibiotics had reduced levels of cytokines — the hormone messengers of the immune system. Many medications counter the synergistic effects of immune cells which network with tissues and organs that work together to defend the body against disease, infection and viruses. Most medications also contain a high level of specific toxins which inhibit good bacteria in the gut which a prime source of immunity in human beings. Consequently, long-term use is associated with a greater frequency of infections and longer durations in those who consume them.
Alcohol is known to cause long-term serious consequences for a persons body and mind. Drinking a couple of glasses of wine each day has generally been considered a good way to promote cardiovascular and brain health. But a Rutgers University study indicated that its still a risky behavior that can decrease the making of adult brain cells by as much as 40 percent. Alcohol also impedes the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. Excessive alcohol consumption or long term alcohol abuse can lead to immune deficiency in two ways — nutritional deficiency and reducing white blood cells. Alcohol impairs the normal digestion of nutrients due to damage caused to the cells in the digestive tract and by interfering with the secretion of enzymes needed for digestion. Alcohol can also impede the ability of the liver to store important vitamins.
6. Refined Grains
Refined grains, such as white flour, instant rice, enriched pasta, and many types of fast food contain few nutrients and little fiber compared to the natural whole grains they are derived from. Prolonged and excessive consumption of refined grains and highly processed foods containing pesticides, chemical additives, and preservatives can weaken the immune system and make you vulnerable to developing chronic conditions. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria is significantly hampered for up to 5 hours after eating 100 gm of processed foods. Our modern diet of processed foods, takeaways and microwave meals could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, including alopecia, asthma and eczema.
7. Chronic Stress
Mild stress can be a very a good thing for the body. The way we manage, react and deal with stress is the most significant factor in how stress affects our body. Many people ignore stress but it has a major influence on our immune system. Chronic stress — caused by stressful situations or events that last over a long period of time — raises cortisol levels of the body which decreases the production of ‘good’ prostaglandins. Chronic stress can make you more susceptible to colds and the flu, as well as more serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. By practicing stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation and laughter, you can keep your body from going into chronic stress mode.
8. Lack of Vitamin D
When vitamin D binds to specific receptors, it sets off a chain of events by which many toxic pathogens and agents including cancer cells are rendered harmless. However, if there is not enough vitamin D the system can become overwhelmed and disease can develop. It’s one of the reasons that people living closest to the equator have a much lower incidence (or absence) of the common cold and disease in general which generally increase in locations further from the equator. Although vitamin D can be obtained from limited dietary sources, it is the directly exposure from the sun during the spring and summer months where we get the highest amounts of absorbable levels of the sunshine vitamin. Just 30 minutes exposing your torso to the sun in warmer months is equivalent to roughly 10,000 units (UI) of vitamin D.
Chronic dehydration can have a variety of different affects on chronic diseases. Some evidence indicates that dehydration may be related to susceptibility to specific cancers. It is vital to maintain a good level of hydration to assist in eliminating byproducts of any illness and help the immune system fight off infection. Dehydration can affect your energy and your sleep, and the ability to get toxins/waste material out of the body.
10. Anxiety and Fear
All negative emotions release something that can affect the functions of the body. Holding negative feelings too long can wear out the immune system and as a result, cortisol levels will increase dramatically. The dangers of modern life have a stranglehold on people’s imaginations. Sociologists call the phenomenon a risk society, describing cultures increasingly preoccupied with threats to safety, both real and perceived, but most definitely imagined. Fear creates a sense of urgency in the body and stimulates the sympathetic system to react. This signals defects causing infections pathogenetic mechanisms. Anxiety and fear influence the entire state of the body, hormonal levels and the way our immune cells are able to defend us.
11. Food Industry Additives and Toxins
Food industry additives and colors are one major cause of ADHD, asthma, cancer and many other disease creating a toxic environment for our health. Every year, food manufacturers pour 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into U.S. foods — and that amount only factors in eight different varieties, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). In addition to considerations of organ damage, cancer, birth defects, and allergic reactions, mixtures of industry food toxins cause autoimmune disease.
Mae Chan holds degrees in both physiology and nutritional sciences. She is also blogger and and technology enthusiast with a passion for disseminating information about health.