Tips for a Healthy Immune System

During the millions of years of evolution, our bodies developed complex systems to protect us from harmful substances, such as bacteria and viruses. In humans we refer to these systems as our immune and detoxification systems (see How the Body Detoxifies.)

While modern sanitation and hygiene reduces our exposure to bacteria and viruses, our immune and detoxification systems are often overwhelmed by chemical exposure.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that millions of different chemicals are used today, and that 5,000 new chemical substances are added each year. In addition our bodies are exposed to natural toxins like pollen, dust, animal dander, and smoke.

Simultaneously, the misuse of antibiotics has created resistant strains of bacteria. What effect these "super-bugs" will have on humanity is still unknown, but their emergence points to the vital importance of protecting and strengthening one's immune system.

Until recently, very little was known about the immune system. American medicine has been dominated by an allopathic theory of offense based on fighting disease agents. As a result, we know more about individual diseases than about the body's own healing and cleansing mechanisms. It is only recently that we have had the technological ability to observe and record many functions of the immune system. The advent of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Epstein-Barr have led to more research on the bodily mechanisms centering around preventive health and healing. Now we have a much clearer idea of why some people get sick, and others exposed to the same environment stay well.

While our knowledge of the immune system is still in its infancy, we are beginning to understand some of the ways the body responds to toxins. A body that's processing toxins efficiently is much more likely to have a strong immune system. The two are intertwined, especially via the lymph system.