BOOSTING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
The human’s immune system, disease prevention and treatment are inextricably linked.
Our immune system is an amazing protective response found in our body that is designed to defend us against pathogenic bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites that invade and harm our body. It is a complex system that works largely unnoticed until it fails for some reason. For example each day you breathe in thousands of germs (bacteria and viruses) that are floating in the air, and your immune system deals with all of them without a problem. Occasionally, some invaders get past the immune system (when your system fails to stop the invasion) and you catch a cold, get the flu or worse. However, if your system is strong you would get over it in no time.
It should also be noted that the human body with its 50-65 trillion cells co-exists with hundreds of trillions of bacterial cells in the body. This fascinating symbiotic relationship is vital for optimal health, without which the body will also fall sick. Our immune system has the ability to allow the growth of useful bacteria, and at the same time unleash its fury on harmful bacteria.
It is the competency of this defense mechanism that makes the difference between who gets sick and who doesn't. This also explains why in the same household, someone may get sick while the others do not.
Immune system and cancer
As has been mentioned earlier, cancer cells are always being produced in the body and our immune system encounters these cells and destroy them. However, when more cancer cells are being created through our lifestyle, diet choice, environment we live in etc. (collectively known as causes) our depleted and overworked immune system is unable to cope.
Cancer does not originate outside the body - even though outside influences (eg. UV radiation and cigarette smoke can cause harmful mutations or changes in a cell) may play a part, cancer is a disease which arises from within. When cancer manifests, it’s a wake-up call that tells us something is wrong internally. You have to remove the cause in order to put an end to the problem.
Your immune system is important in many ways
- It helps you to fight your cancer
- Your cancer (disease) can weaken the immune system through the production of Nagalase (a protein made by all cancer cells and viruses)
- Your cancer treatments can either weaken (eg. through chemotherapy) or support the immune system (nutritional therapy).
Things that can negatively affect your immune system
- Lack of sleep
- Stress, fear, anger, worry and other negative emotions
- Malnutrition—A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential to your overall health and your immune system.
- Sugary and processed food
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Toxins, such as chemical food additives, pesticides and other poisons that infiltrate our diet
- Lack of exercise—sedentary lifestyle
- Medication / drugs
The main difference between conventional treatment and alternative treatment is that in the latter option you are actively engaging the immune system as well as the innate cancer fighting systems within the body in your treatment regime. The state of your “immune system” is especially important in your battle against cancer.
In integrative treatment, both the conventional and the alternative are used as appropriate. The alternative is used mainly for symptom relieves, enhancing the conventional treatment (ie. making the conventional treatment more effective), boosting the immune system and boosting the overall health status of the patient.
Chemotherapy, biological therapies and radiotherapy can temporarily weaken immunity by causing a drop in the number of white blood cells made in the bone marrow. White blood cells are important in preventing and fighting infections. It is important to remember that different types of chemotherapy affect the immune system differently and that individual responses to treatment can vary widely. There is nothing you can do to prevent your white blood cell count from dropping as a result of chemotherapy. Because your immune system is weak, you can develop infections from bacteria that are always around but that normally do not affect you. What you can do is take extra-special precautions to avoid any situation that might increase your risk of infection. Additionally, You may receive growth factor injections from your doctor, or you can learn to inject them yourself.
High doses of steroids can also weaken your immune system while you are taking them. Hence, Chemotherapy and radiotherapy which suppress the immune system are to be used sparringly unless absolutely necessary.
Ways to strengthen your immune system
Ö Adopt a positive attitude
Ö Adopt the anti-cancer diet
Ö Alkalize and oxygenate your body
Ö Detoxification and avoiding additional toxins in the body
Ö Adopt a healthy lifestyle and
Ö Avoid harsh treatment which introduces more toxin into the body
All of these strategies have been covered in the earlier sections.