Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu & Immune System Protection

It's not difficult to recognize that familiar New Jersey accented voice that greeted me at the other end of the line this morning.

I was interviewing Mike Ciell, a registered pharmacist, who prefers to go by "clinical biochemist" and has the formal title of "Chief Science Officer"at his new company, Ideal Protein of America. In an upcoming newsletter, we'll be featuring my interview, which focuses primarily on how Mike's diet program helps people achieve healthy insulin levels, lose weight, and gain muscle mass. I won't spill the proverbial beans before the interview goes live but there is one thing I've been reflecting on since Mike and I talked.

When asked about the current swine flu, Mike noted that everyone is looking for a silver bullet but the real silver bullet is a healthy immune system. He said, "There is no man-made defense more sophisticated than the immune system."

Mike went on to talk about the standard American diet as being "crummy for the immune system" by creating too much insulin, too much sugar that binds to proteins, making the glommed proteins targets for unnecessary immune system responses. Alas, too many pro-inflammatory signals create a cascade of "friendly fire" and damage to tissues, organs, and cellular function.

When truly pathogenic organisms show up, the immune system is already overextended. Hence the importance of ditching the sugar (and that means carbs, as morning bagels or hashbrowns, sushi rice, orange juice, apples, beer and wine, and other carbohydrates convert directly into sugar).

It's valuable to remember a few statistics about pandemic influenza viruses (infectious diseases that spread widely across populations):
  • The Spanish flu of 1918-1919 killed up to 5% of the entire human population, while one in five people around the world were infected with the virus.
  • Almost 700,000 people died in the United States; some 17 million are believed to have died in India; while up to 100 million died worldwide.
  • The Spanish flu was identified as an H1N1 virus as has the current swine flu virus.
  • The Spanish flu was so virulent because it overstimulated the immune system (causing a "cytokine storm" and consequent damage to organs and tissues in the lungs).
Personally, I'm not so much of an alarmist. As a writer, I am simply addressing a topic that is in the news and that has already created a whole lot of anxiety.

Here's the bottom line. You can tune up you immune system. Harmful inflammatory cascades can be controlled by reducing your sugar intake (and reducing exposure to any allergens, which can trigger autoimmune responses and thus weaken your system in the face of pathogens).

Antioxidants help out further by scavenging free radicals, those highly reactive entities that wreak havoc by stealing electrons. My subscribers tend to know a whole lot about antioxidants, as many of our top products are antioxidants (Heart Plus, Green Tea Extract, Coenzyme Q-10, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Constant Health, Immune Health, and so forth).

A commonly overlooked member of the immune system is the lymph system, which essentially "takes out the trash," filtering lymph fluid of bacteria, cancer cells, and antigens of all kinds (real and imagined). Lymph fluid also transports white blood cells (lymphocytes) to help fight infection (think: swollen lymph nodes) and macrophages in the lymph nodes themselves devour foreign particles.

Exercise, jumping around, even flailing around, anything that gets lymph fluids moving helps your immune system function more effectively. Stalled lymphatic fluids are like fetid swamps in nature (just say eeew!).

It's spring. Throw out the excuses for not moving and help ward off infection by ditching refined sugar, adding supplemental antioxidants, and moving a whole lot more to get your lymph system in gear.

1 comment:

kay said...

Thanks for this straight forward, no nonsense, bit of plain truth. We all need to hear it and do it!