This month I’m focusing teaching you how to support the immune system. There are a lot of nasties floating around this winter! Do you know what steps to take to support YOUR immune system?
What exactly IS our “immune system and what does it do?
Our immune system is our body’s defense system with a diverse system of organs spread throughout the body. Its primary function is to defend the body against attacks by bacteria, viruses, & fungi. The immune system benefits from a number of lifestyle factors in maintaining its optimal function, namely regular exercise, managing feelings of stress, adequate sleep & nutrition, & the use of certain supplements and/or essential oils. There are also some lifestyle choices that greatly support your immune system!
Some of the most familiar organs in the immune system are the tonsils & adenoids, lymph nodes, the thymus, spleen, & bone marrow. Within the thymus, thymus cell lymphocytes or T cells mature. T cells are critical to the adaptive immune system, where the body adapts to specific foreign invaders. The thymus is located in the upper front part of the chest, behind the sternum, & in front of the heart.
All of these organs support or produce the essential cell of the immune system: the white blood cell. Different types of white blood cells roam the body, making protection against pathogens possible. The immune system is one of the most critical systems in the body; without a healthy immune system, we can’t expect to enjoy a long & healthy life.
In fostering healthy immune function, exercise, stress management – including proper sleep (7 hours!), good nutrition, & supplementation all play important roles.
EXERCISE: Research has shown that regular exercise, performed at a moderate level or higher, can help increase immune response. Research shows that short bursts of high-intensity activity three times a week can give you many of the same rewards enjoyed by longer, traditional workouts. So no worries about hitting the gym for hours everyday! Does exercise leave you hurting? Reach out to. me…I have some solutions for that!
STRESS: Stress increases levels of cortisol in our bodies. Cortisol is commonly known as the stress hormone; it helps the body deal with stress. One of the effects of cortisol is to depress the function of the immune system.This depressive effect on the immune system can leave our bodies vulnerable to infiltration & attack by harmful pathogens. Learning to manage & reduce feelings of stress can reduce cortisol levels & help our immune system flourish.
Seems like stress has become a huge concern for most of the people I coach. Sometimes there are steps you can take to reduce exposure to the things that stress you. But, sometimes there aren’t and you need to find a work around to prevent Adrenal fatigue and more! Many essential oils & blends such as the Adaptive system, Balance®, PastTense®, Vetiver & the tree oils are useful in grounding emotions. These oils can help keep cortisol at a healthy level, thus supporting healthy immune function. It can be especially useful to apply or diffuse these oils when you know you are going into a stressful situation… before you even begin to have those feelings. If there’s a certain place where you feel stressed, such as in your car during rush hour, plan ahead & place a drop of oil on a car ornament to enjoy the grounding benefits as you drive.
I’ve used the entire Adaptive system since it was released…it was the main thing that kept me sane and less stressed. However, since I began using the three MetaPWR products – I no longer feel that stress & don’t need Adaptive any more. (If you are interested in either of these – reach out and I can save you money!)
SLEEP: Inadequate sleep can also have an impact on immune health. Research has shown that inadequate sleep increases levels of cortisol in the body, just like stress can. Developing good sleep habits can be difficult.
- Reduce blue light 1 hour before sleep!
- Don’t eat late at night (heck…don’t eat after supper!)!
- Avoid strenuous exercise several hours before bed.
- Seven hours of quality sleep is your goal…or more. I am finding that the MetaPWR system has drastically improved my sleep both the quantity and quality!
Blends such as Serenity, & Peace (slows the mind chatter) promotes feelings of calmness and can help achieve a good night’s rest. Try placing a few drops on your blankets or pillows. Diffuse for 30 minutes before going to bed or apply topically. I’m always tired enough to fall asleep so I didn’t need oils to promote that (like Serenity) but I couldn’t stop my mind from making lists! You know, “what didn’t I get done today?”, “what do I need to do tomorrow?”, “who do I need to call?”…LISTS!!! But once I found the oil Peace – just a couple drops on my wrists and in about 15 minutes my mind gives up and I drift off!
NUTRITION: Every function of the body benefits from proper nutrient intakes. Essential nutrients, including carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins, & minerals, give the body the energy & materials it needs to carry out cellular functions & continue the production of key cells in the body. The immune system is no exception to this rule. By eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods as part of a balanced diet, we can help support our immune function. Don’t forget – just a tiny bit of sugar can suppress your immune system for up to 6 hours! Use stevia! Shop the perimeter of your grocery store, buy organic when you can, avoid highly processed foods (all that junk in the middle of store!) Reduce sugar – use honey or stevia instead! Immediately cut seed and vegetable oils from your diet! They contain large amounts of linoleic acid…excessive linoleic acid intake is associated with inflammation, diabetes, obestiy, heart disease and more! I tossed all of my “seed/veggie oils”. So what do I use instead? Ghee and coconut oil to cook with, butter (from grass fed cows if possible) and olive oil (but only if you don’t heat it!).
I also take some important supplements! I take bio-available vitamins, a pre-biotic/pro-biotic, Vit. D3, NAC+ (for brain health) DDR Prime (for brain health) Vit. B12, a polyphenol complex (so my joints don’t talk to me,!), liposomal Vit. C, Magnesium, Quercetin, Turmeric and Copaiba. I don’t think I left anything out! Some of those supplements come from dōTERRA and some don’t. Holler at me if you need more info! It’s a handful of pills but it’s my “health insurance” and my “preventative steps to maintain health”. I’m 66, very active (I live on a farm…need I say more?). I can’t remember the last time I was sick. I’d rather be spending money on my health now than spending money on my illness in the future and I can assure you, one or the other will happen!
My goal is healthy gut microflora. Gut microflora refers to the trillions of friendly microorganisms that live within our digestive tract. Research has shown again & again that our gut microflora plays a larger role in overall health & wellness (including the immune system & brain health) than we’d ever previously suspected! Gut microflora performs important functions in facilitating the breakdown & absorption of key nutrients within the digestive tract. Healthy colonies of friendly bacteria maintain a positive balance & proliferation of beneficial bacteria, while preventing the adherence & colonization of other “bad” microorganisms that can challenge our health & wellbeing. Without a thriving probiotic environment that fosters the growth of these microbiota, less-friendly microbes have free reign to stress the gastrointestinal tract. You’ve often heard me say that your immune system resides in your gut!
I also use essential oils for Immune Support! When used appropriately, internal usage of essential oils is a very powerful & effective route of application. Because of the way our bodies metabolize the compounds found in essential oils, it is safer & more effective in the internal use model to use smaller amounts of essential oil, spread over consistent time intervals, rather than a single, large application. For instance, rather than taking six drops of a given oil in a single, large application, it is safer & more effective to divide those six drops across two or three internal applications, separated by several hours in between.
I know many people disagree on the internal use of essential oils…I’ve done my due diligence, I wouldn’t use oils from any other company, and I’ve been doing this for over 10 years – with huge benefits and no negative impact. I won’t fuss at you, please don’t fuss at me 🙂 Let’s just agree to disagree!
Essential oils that I use to support the health of my immune system include: Frankincense, Cinnamon, Lemon, Melaleuca, Oregano & Thyme. They all help maintain & support the immune system when taken internally. There is also a blend that I use the most…formulated specifically to support the immune system: I use the On Guard+ Softgels that combine the blend of On Guard with Black Pepper, Oregano, & Melissa essential oils for additional immune support. It protects against environmental & seasonal threats with essential oils known for their positive effects on the immune system. These oils have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. If I feel like I’ve been exposed to something or have that “oh no! I might be coming down with something!” feeling, I take a couple of these softgels before bed and I always wake up feeling great! You can find my essential shop right here on my website – just click on Essential OIls!
There are two other things I do to support my immune system, especially during the winter! I make an herbal tea for immune support and I drink it often! I love a hot herbal tea and mine is delicious!
And lastly, I make Fire Cider! I’ve done so for about 20 years now. Have you tried Fire Cider? Have you made your own (you really must make your own – so easy, inexpensive and NO ADDITIVES or PRESERVATIVES!) You can take it straight, use it as a salad dressing or even a meat marinade! YUMMY!
Next post I’ll teach you how to make my recipe for Fire Cider! It will be a great support for your immune system!
Keep well this winter!