Do you ever notice when you are overexerting yourself that you get sick? This is because your nervous system and your immune system are intricately interwoven together. They are not separate systems operating independently in different sections of the body, they are overlapping and they talk to each other all the time about what they are experiencing. The nervous system connects directly to the thymus which is one of the powerhouses of the immune system and this nurtures and deploys natural killer cells and other types of white blood cells into your body on demand. Basically neuroreceptors are a way for the nervous system to communicate cell to cell. It’s like having a radio frequency turned on so that you can talk to someone via a walkie-talkie. The cells of your immune system are in direct communication with your nervous system meaning whatever is going on in your head is being broadcast directly into your immune system. It’s a simple as that.
So if you are feeling overwhelm, stress, anxiety, exhaustion etc your immune system has to work extra hard supporting the nervous system, and thus its not able to prevent the coughs and colds, UTis, tonsilitis etc that are caused when the bacteria there overgrow because the good bacteria are not flourishing as well because the immune system is under pressure supporting the immune system. Returning to life post pandemic has meant our immune systems haven’t see the usual bugs it was used to for 3 years and now they have grown sloppy at engulfing and destroying these invaders. Most people I know struggled with flus and coughs that lasted a full month in 2023.
We are conditioned to think that medication and cold remedies are the main way to get your immune system up and running, with vitamin C, zinc, paracetamol, echinacea etc. But there are many other ways to revamp your immune system like REST REST REST and longerm stress reduction meditation, love and connection with others, a therapy session etc. All of these are things that we can do to boost our immune system, that medication or remedies can’t touch.
I was very lucky to be breastfed by mother until I was nine months old. So I got the best start in life. Babies under the age of 1 years of age should not be having formula milk as their main source of food. The bacteria in breast milk particularly bifidobacteria help set up the baby’s immune system and it is wonderful if a mother can solely breastfeed for the first four months of life or at least top up daily by partially breastfeeding. Although probiotics now are added to formulas, the bacteria thats in breast milk cannot be made in a factory and cannot be put in a formula and the bacteria you inherit from your mother is far far more beneficial for setting up your immune system than anything you can get out of a jar packet.
At least 70% of your immune system cells are in your gut. We’re finding more evidence that a healthy, diverse microbiome can shape an immune system so its more effective against threats like infections and viruses as well as internal transmutation into chronic illnesses like cancer etc. The one trillion bacteria that live in your body come with their own set of DNA. This bacteria is held within the DNA, is often called the genome. We discovered that the human genome can resist certain diseases. We rely on the genome for our microbiomes, our gut brains to see the information and its disease fighting knowledge. If we wipe that out with continous chronic stress or too many antibiotics it’s like burning the house down, a single round of antibiotics can impact your bacteria for up to a year. Of course they’re super effective, and even life saving. I myself was very sick as a 2 year old with pneumonia. I had to get a massive amount of antibiotics, they saved my life at the time but they possibly set me up for poor gut health for the rest of my life.
But the trick is knowing when to use them, to use them only when absolutely necessary and the problem is we have created a trigger happy population of doctors and patients that are turning to antibiotics for a quick fix but you can’t trick your immune system and you can’t trick you gut microbiome-it knows more than you do. In fact you always have to trust your gut because it knows what your head hasnt figured out yet. If we know how important the microbiome is to our immune function then why are we still treating disease like this. There are many black spots in the medical model that we use today which holds us back from making progress in medicine. We continue to operate on a model of pathology, we fixate on tearing down disease at all costs instead of building up health and immunity. We’re locked into this cycle of let’s destroy the microbe. Overprescribing antibiotics to patients for decades now and as we have seen with the recent pandemic this practice is finally catching up with us because the microbiome is cleverer than we think. I myself was also exposed to multiple rounds of antibiotics as a teenager because my acne was so bad and tetracycline was all they were giving out at that time, on top of the contraceptive pill (also bad for microbiome), but when you are 14 they don’t give you the contraceptive pill, they give antibiotics and when you’re so desperate to have skin clear and emotions are riding high and you’re so impressionable you just take them. Kids or parents dont know what it is doing to their microbiome. Looking back it set me up for fodmap sensitivities, food intolerances and digestive distress later in life. Antibiotics wipe out the microbiome for some time and they affect the body’s ability to digest and use nutrients. Overuse of antibiotics is costing us from having healthy immune systems and healthy microbiomes.
We want our immune system to be recharged and ready to fight for us. We don’t want to send out a poor team out hitting the wrong targets! We want our immune system to be able to recognize every bad bacteria when it comes into contact with it and act as fast as possible. Sadly the unfortunate truth is many of us are walking around with immune systems that are worn down, exhausted because of our poorly managed relationship with stress and nutrition. People think the immune system is all about supplements but it’s an awful lot to do with living an authethic life you are happy in, having stress managed or keeping stress low in our lives. A poorly functioning immune system would see us more susceptible to colds and flus but also things like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders and we don’t give this any thought when we are deciding how we’re going to live our lives. Its easy to look at this and like come to the conclusion that changing your meals or learning to meditate can spur your natural killer cells to turn off disease but there are no quick fixes with this system. The best way to repair a cracked and effective immune system is to build up health and vitality from the ground up. We need to be supporting the four pillars of health, that’s not just food and exercise but by getting excellant sleep and keeping toxic people, toxic situations, energy stealers, negative relationships out of our lives too. We need to be getting at least 6-7 hours of good quality restorative sleep most nights of the week, at least four nights the week and we need to be removing as much chronic stress from our lives as much as possible to get a strong immune system.
For consultations on how your immune system, hormonal system, digestive system and enteric nervous system are all interlinked see email ei.tugruoyhtiwog@ofni to be added to my cancellation list.
Wishing you Good Health,