Childrens Immunity & Morgellons
Article by Nancy Guberti
The Importance of Immune Health
The key to a healthy child is a strong immune system. When functioning properly, the immune system fights disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. All children are continuously exposed to these pathogens, but exposure does not mean a child will get sick. A strong immune system provides a child with powerful natural defenses against disease. Conversely, a child with a weakened immune system is more vulnerable to immune issues. There are a number of complex immune and autoimmune phenomena going on, the like of which has never been seen in medicine before (HIV was just the tip of the iceberg as there are so many cases of "atypical" MS, ALS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, learning disabilities, autism, etc.). Sometimes, when a person discovers that there is an infectious component to their illness, they are said to have a Lyme-like illness. The fact that so many infections travel together in the bellies of insects make detection and characterization very difficult.
Nutrition and Nutritional Supplements
Good nutrition is essential to developing and keeping the immune system healthy and strong. Nutritional deficiencies may be responsible for chronic immune problems as it is easier for bacteria or viruses to take hold when important nutrients are missing. Critical nutrients that stimulate a strong immune system include vitamins A, C, E and essential fatty acids. The most important minerals include manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, iron, sulfur, magnesium and germanium. These nutrients can be obtained from an organic whole-foods diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. Unfortunately, most of our food supply is artificially manipulated and processed with many ingredients and additives that contribute to poor nutrition. Processed foods, sugar, and soda can weaken the immune system. These "foods" add nothing in the way of nutrition, and if your children fill up on a lot of them, they are not likely to eat healthy foods with essential nutrients. This can lead to a weak immune system. A strong, good quality probiotic supplementation is beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract that keep the "bad" bacteria from taking over. This bacterium is essential for healthy immunity.
Herbs have been used safely all around the world since ancient times to prevent and treat disease. Using herbs to strengthen a child's constitution can make them more resistant to illness. Certain herbs, including echinacea, astragalus, and garlic, have been found to have remarkable immunological effects. These herbs support the body's own process to stay at the peak of vitality and prevent development of disease.
Dietary fats can either enhance impair immune function, depending on the type of fat. The wrong types of fats (hydrogenated oils found in deep fried foods, margarine and baked goods) can predispose a child to recurrent infections and inflammatory conditions. Essential fatty acids (the good fats) are essential to normal immune and nervous system function. They are found in flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, hemp seed oil, borage seed oil, and fish oil. Cod liver oil is a great way for kids to receive essential fatty acids.
Sugar has been shown to reduce white blood cell count, an indicator of immune strength. The function of white blood cells is to fight and destroy germs that can cause disease. This is why many kids get sick after birthday parties or holidays. Their resistance is lowered due to excess sugar. Giving your child extra vitamin C and the herb echinacea for a few days before and a few days after these events may help to prevent the onset of an infection.
Overdosing on sugar. 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.
Too much fat. Obesity can lead to a depressed immune system. It can affect the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies, and rush to the site of an infection.
Food allergens. Due to a genetic quirk, some divisions of the immune army recognize an otherwise harmless substance (such as milk) as a foreign invader and attack it, causing an allergic reaction. Before the battle, the intestinal lining was like a wall impenetrable to foreign invaders. After many encounters with food allergens, the wall is damaged, enabling invaders and other potentially toxic substances in the food to get into the bloodstream and make the body feel miserable. This condition is known as the leaky gut syndrome.
Maintain a Nontoxic Environment
More than 75,000 chemicals are permeating our environment. Chemical exposures can damage the immune system, decreasing the ability to fight off common infections and serious diseases such as cancer. Poor indoor and outdoor air quality, contaminated food and water, and constant, cumulative pesticide exposure all contribute to decreased immunity in children. Environmental toxins are everywhere, but there is much you can do to avoid unnecessary exposures and reduce the overall amount of chemicals your children take in to their bodies. There are affordable, nontoxic alternatives to all lawn and garden pesticides, toxic household cleaners and personal care products. Personally, I use a combination of Method, Seventh Generation, and Myers for cleaning. Buying organic foods will greatly decrease your child's overall exposure to pesticides and help to create a healthier environment for all children.
The best nutrition for the immune system is love and attention. Children need to be held, hugged, rocked, massaged, nursed, touched and kissed regularly. When they feel loved and sense that the people around them love each other, they are secure and happy. There have been many studies done that show that laughter and positive thoughts and feelings stimulate the cells of the immune system. The more children laugh and enjoy life, the better their immune function and the healthier they will be. Emotional stress and unhappiness may deplete the immune system and lower a child's resistance to disease.
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