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IMMUNITY & INFLAMMATION

© Copyright 2011 Ty Parr, Ph.D.(All Rights Reserved)  Updated  30Apr2011

In this section we will cover both the Immune System and Inflammation.  You really need to understand how these protect youself so that you do not compromise the systems that keep you from dying of infectious diseases OR having your life span shortened by the rise of chronic inflammation that accompanies the last half of mammalian life. Immunity or the IMMUNE SYSTEM consists of two inter-related major groupings: INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM and the ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM. We consider these separately, but their functions overlap.

INNATE IMMUNITY

The INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM is a older evolutionary branch that is also present in pre-vertebrates. An innate immune system of some sort is found in all plants and animals. This is a system that does not directly adapt to  a "novel protein sequence" of new or mutated foreign pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other parasites like worms).. Instead, a long evolutionary shaping of the INNATE immune system has made its elements respond to a very wide range of non-self foreign  "critters". This is actually our first line of defense that is always on duty and immediately responds to what it perceives as foreign invaders. The INNATE immune system  has been shaped by over 200,000 years of evolutionary shaping of humans, and many millions of years before that in mammalian evolution (about 90 million years). It not only responds to foreign invaders but also to tissue damage or accidental injury to our own tissues. It sets up the INFLAMMATORY warning that activates the whole immune system (INNATE AND ADAPTIVE) to action. The INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM can be divided into 4 major activities: 

1. GENERALIZED INFLAMMATION This is the body's alarm system that activates both the INNATE and the ADAPTIVE immune systems by releasing multiple immune activating molecules like cytokines and chemokines. All nucleated cells in our body can participate in activating this inflammatory ALERT system. The first general response is to swell up the challenged tissue with vasodilatation (increase size of blood vessels) and signal the problem with the classic redness, heat, swelling, and local pain indicating a local problem. Additionally, this swelling is accompanied by an entry of first responding protective white blood cells cells that phagacytize (eat) debris and damaged cells.

2. NON-SPECIFIC KILLING CELLS - White blood cells called natural killer cells that can kill tumors, virus infected cells, and cells infected with intracellular bacteria. These natural killer cells are aided by a huge number of other early responding white blood cells. This list of white blood cells (leukocytes) does not include the T-cells or the B-cells of the ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM.

3. SETS UP AND RELEASES THE COMPLEMENT SYSTEM - The complement system is a complex multicomponent system for tagging foreign entities and bringing them to the attention of other immune cells. This system is found in mammals, birds, and some invertebrates. This process of "tagging" is just that, a molecule binds to the foreign invader and that molecule is recognized by other immune cells who ingest and destroy the invader. This tagging and destruction process also provides a sampling of the unique proteins of the invader that are displayed on the surface of the cells ingesting the foreign invader. 

4. MECHANISM THAT TRIGGERS ACTIVATION OF THE ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEMPresenting pieces of foreign proteins on the surface of their cells, these INNATE immune cells become part of the ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM that activates the appropriate subset of T and B cells for specific attack on the foreign invader. Macrophages and Dendritic cells act as engulfing and digesting cells (INNATE SYSTEM) and also then acting as ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM CELLS that present protein bits on their surfaces as activation signals to T & B cells. This presentation process selects unique T and B cells that tightly bind to the novel foreign proteins. This "good fit to the foreign pathogen" permits these cells to divide in order to combat the infection. T-cells and B-cells have already undergone a wide diversity of DNA recombination events that give rise to a huge number of different responding binding mechanisms. B-cells can mutate more  to find the best fit to a novel pathogen. The early education of T-cells involves destroying or suppressing those that react to our own tissues. This minimizes auto-immunity problems. 

The INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM will react to the presence of bacteria, fungi, protists(single cell eucaryotes),  worms and arthropods (insects and like) as well as any other foreign entity.  It will also respond to accidents or tissue injuries to clear damage and help repair . The INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM does not have the capability to catalog and remember past invasions by a foreigner. It just responds each time anew and delays further progress of the infection until the more specific and powerful ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM develops competence (a week or more !). The INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM does not confer  long term protection against the same invader who shows up later, it merely responds again. This is because it's function is to act immediately with these long term evolutionary instructions about what is self and what is foreign - it does not learn over the course of your life. It does not adapt.  Instead, it is selected for benefit over long evolutionary timing to be effective in a generalized way. Despite these disadvantages, the INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM sets up initial protection and containment that then provides information to the ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM to respond and cooperates with this more flexible and "adaptive learning system" that confers life long protection after learning. If your INNATE Immune system is in good shape and the pathogen is not novel, it may be able to defeat any attempt at infection which spares you the need to undergo an activation of the "ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM".


ADAPTIVE IMMUNITY 

The ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM is believed to have arisen  only with the first jawed vertebrates (fishes with jaw bones). The ADAPTIVE system is capable of not only remarkable specialization for a single strain of pathogen but also is capable of retaining "memory" cells that can immediately begin to respond  very rapidly to an already experienced pathogen. This memory is life long, unlike vaccines that wear off in a decade or less. The ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM is composed of B-Cells http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-cell, T-cells, and other cells like macrophages that are shared with the INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM. When Macrophages are presenting Peptide antigens to T or B Cells, they are performing a ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM job. B-cells make specialized secreted molecules called antibodies that have 2 or more binding sites with a specialized "lock and key fit" to the molecular targets of a pathogen.  These now bound antibodies direct other cells to kill the pathogen or merely stick the pathogens together to immobilize them prior to destruction. T-cells are like the Natural Killer Cells (also a type of T cell in the INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM), but ADAPTIVE system T-CELLs  are super specific to a particular novel peptide sequence. When they recognize such a sequence on a cell, they release "pore forming" channel molecules that permit the delivery of free radicals and toxins into the pathogen or pathogen infected normal cell. This serves to kill the pathogen or pathogen infected cell. Once you are exposed to a particular unique pathogen, some memory T and B cells will remain in your system and immediately activate when exposed to this same pathogen),  This causes immediate response rather than the week or more that is required initially to sort through vast numbers of B and T cells  to find particular effective Antibody(B-cells) and T-cells (cells that directly kill other cells) with very high specificity. Both B and T cells undergo a process of shuffling various DNA sequences in their initial creation, much like shuffling a deck of cards. This generates a huge number of different molecular structures that can bind a very large number of different substances (carbohydrates, proteins, complex lipids and various joining of carbohydrates and protein, etc.. The antibody producing B-cells can undergo further mutations after this initial process of recombination formation to have a better binding against the pathogen. The  selection of good binding cells (T & B) results in activation and  cell division with geometric multiplication (1, 2, 4, 8,16, 32, 64, 128, etc.) to build up an arsenal of very competent and specialized fighters against the particular infectious challenge. Virus infection which requires intracellular location to productively reproduce the virus or "intracellular bacteria" that infect cells must be killed in such a manner that they don't get out of the infected cell at all. This usually requires T cell action. All of this very specific selection of target recognition is accomplished by the presentation of small (short) peptides in the clef of large molecules that present them on the surface of the infected cell (if infected) or cells that clean up the mess of infected cells. Remember that in the absence of these presenting molecules, the natural killer cells of the INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM will kill a presumably infected cell. The very high and effective mutation rate of viruses and the "molecular evasions" of intracellular parasites often require the ADAPTIVE immune system to eliminate them.

The ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM will kill the invaders by two different mechanisms. First by B-cell antibody binding directly to specific parts of the whole "foreign" molecules located on the surface of infected cells or the free pathogen, then followed by lysis (breaking up) or aggregation (making them stick together) and then phagocytosis (eaten by the likes of macrophages).  Second by T-cell  recognition of "foreignness" leads to release of T-cell proteins that open pores in an infected cell through which free radical generating molecules and toxins are released to cause death of this compromised cell. This type of T-cell killing involves a form of "in place" cell suicide that is triggered in the infected cell by the T-cell pore & toxin technique. This is called apoptosis - so interior pathogens are destroyed rather than liberated.  Usually more than a single type of each T- & B-cell response is usually involved in taking down an infection. Generally, virus infected cells and intracellular (hiding inside the cell) bacteria are handled by the T-cell killing and  extra-cellular (outside the cell) bacteria are usually killed by the B-cells cooperating with the INNATE immune systems opsonization and other complement system killing mechanisms. Note that if the INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM kills the invaders off first, the need for T & B-cells to act is not as critical. After the infection is over, both the specific B-cells and T-cells that were specific for it are largely (but not completely) killed off. A small amount of these uniquely specialized B- & T-cells for this particular pathogen is kept alive but inactive as a form of very specific  "learned  memory"  that can react very rapidly to another invasion of this particular pathogen. So if re-infected by this pathogen, the system reacts very fast in a very specific manner. You have immunity for life. This is not something vaccine immunizations can achieve.  Think of the tetanus vaccine shot that has to be given approximately every 10 years - because it does not achieve the level of profound integration and memory that occurs in a normal immune response. We will have more to say about this in the  DON'Ts section under Vaccines.

The proper functioning of the combined INNATE and ADAPTIVE Immune System is, more than any other system in the body, highly depenent on excellent nutrition and a proper supply of all needed minerals, viatmins, and needed dietary components. A single deficiency in some critical component is enough to inhibit needed protection. This can be a matter of life and death or merely a prolonged chronic sickly state that is all too common even in "well fed" people in the developed world. In the less well protected developing world, it is a source of tragic and needless sickness and death. From the first page Orientation section on YOU ARE YOUR BROTHER's AND SISTER's KEEPER discussion of the critical need for such mineral as Selenium (Se) and Zinc (Zn) as well as a proper balanced intake of the w-3 versus the w-6 lipids, you know how critical this need is. If you can find no other reason to care for your best health in this area, do it for your childern who will other wise suffer needless EPIGENETIC  foreshortening of life span and increased suseptibility to disease because you did not take care of your health. Don't expect medical care to solve this problem, doctors know about disease - not about health. Besides, they get paid for treating disease, not helping to maintain your health.

INFLAMMATION - the GOOD AND THE VERY BAD

Inflammation is the primitive INNATE IMMUNE SYSTEM technique of alerting of a potential problem in the LOCAL ENVIRONMENT OR THE ENTIRE ORGANISM (systemic) . This problem can be an infectious pathogen(virus,bacteria, fungi, protists, or less often worms or other large parasites).  It can also be tissue damage from an injury (accident or just commonplace failure of a small blood vessel, etc.).  A more perverse process of inflammation without any pathogen or tissue damage is also possible and we will have much more to say about this later. This whole process usually begins with some abnormally high local free radical level or cell leakage or other specific signals of tissue damage. This begins a complex sequential cascade of various activation molecules (Prostaglandin's, Ecosanoids, and many others) and receptor triggered activation of a critically important molecule called NFKB (Nuclear Factor kappa B) . NFkB activation leads to  to synthesis of a variety of cell survival related products.  These survival products include elevated endogenous antioxidants (mitochondrial SOD Mn super-oxide dismutase), anti-apoptosis molecules (anti-cell suicide), cell adhesion molecules, cytokines (immunological messengers), and growth factors. NFkB activation is an emergency response to  encourage survival of cells and begin containing the invading pathogen so that it does not become systemic. One member of this group is the highly inflammatory "cytokines". These  Cytokines are inflammatory immune system messengers that  makes you feel miserable when you get sick.  Cytokine production is needed in an orchestrated way to help you contain and destroy the pathogen and then recover to normal. This involves  activating various cells and processes of the immune system . First INNATE and then the ADAPTIVE responses proceed. Other conditions than pathogen invasion or tissue damage can also elevated the activity of NFkB, as it is a normal survival related reaction to a variety of threats and ORDINARY NORMAL STRESSES like exercise. Unfortunately, this survival aspect is also used by cancer cells that must make high levels of activated NFkB with subsequent inflammatory cytokines - permitting survival and growth of the cancer cell. The more malignant (invasive) the cancer cell, the higher the need for this activated NFkB production.

We cannot totally block NFkB activation as many epithelial cells use this molecule at low levels for required immune system signaling purposes (without any foreign pathogen stimulation). Animals genetically altered to have no capability to activate NFkB die soon after birth of massive skin inflammation because this minimal signaling is absent. Other immune cells come to the surface and secrete more cytokines that lead to total skin inflammation and death. Generally, activation of NFkB is a beneficial process that handles infections, accidents, or normal functions like exercise and then is restored to an inactive status. There is a whole "down regulatory process"  that returns our body to a beneficial disease free condition with minimal activated NFkB inflammation.

However, this normally beneficial process is not always the case. The last half of mammalian life seems to encounter the problem of chronic activation of this survival mechanism. In this case it becomes a driving force of all of our late life (age associated) diseases.  Virtually all of them: cancer , cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, auto-immunity, and various dementias. Until recently we did not understand how this last half of life non-pathogen elevation of inflammation could take place. Now we know that elevated levels of "inside the belly fat" and ingestion of abnormally crosslinked molecules from cooking food elicits an immune driven inflammatory response that commonly leads to the problem of abnormal chronic activation of this survival mechanism. No pathogens or accidental tissue damage are needed !

From this beginning of systemic inflammation, genetic predisposition, quantity and quality of both food and exercise, and organ weakness (the weakest link...) - determine what type of age associated disease (cardiovascular, cancer, type 2 diabetes, autoimmunity, dementia) occurs first. It also explains why we are attacked by so many diseases at once - and  why mortality (death) rates accelerate toward the end of life. Aging approach to death in the last half of our lives is accelerated and driven by this rise in inflammation. We know that many other causes of aging can influence our life course, but it is possible that this rise in inflammation is gradually disabling our protective anti-aging repair and reconstitution mechanisms from the end of our genetic developmental period that ends early in our lives (by 16 or 18 years of life). We are extraordinarily sensitive to small increases in systematic inflammation, but we are able to down modulate this rise in systemic inflammation with long used food components that specifically target NFkB TO DIMINISH THIS INFLAMMATORY PROCESS.

Inflammation is the common link among the leading causes of death. Mechanistic studies have shown how various dietary components can modulate key pathways to inflammation, including sympathetic activity, oxidative stress, transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB < NFkB > activation, and proinflammatory cytokine production. Behavioral studies have demonstrated that stressful events and depression can also influence inflammation through these same processes. If the joint contributions of diet and behavior to inflammation were simply additive, they would be important... As one example, omega-3 fatty acid intake can boost mood and vagal tone, dampen nuclear factor-kappaB activation and responses to endotoxin, and modulate the magnitude of inflammatory responses to stressors. Stress, food, and inflammation: psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition at the cutting edge. Kiecolt-Glaser JK. Psychosom Med. 2010 May;72(4):365-9. Epub 2010 Apr 21   

Chronic inflammation is associated with the aging process and numerous age-related pathologies. We evaluated the effects of age, caloric restriction (CR), and exercise on plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) < C reactive protein is a measure of the level of systemic inflammation >, interleukin-6, and total antioxidant capacity in Fisher 344 rats... An increase in circulating levels of CRP with age was attenuated with long-term 40% CR; short-term 40% CR in young animals also reduced CRP concentration compared to age-matched controls. Lifelong exercise with 8% CR showed a marked decrease in CRP levels compared to 8% CR controls and an even greater reduction compared to ad libitum-fed rats. Plasma interleukin-6 levels remained unchanged with age, CR, and exercise, whereas inflammation levels showed an inverse association with plasma antioxidant status. These studies highlight the anti-inflammatory effects of CR and exercise. Effects of caloric restriction and exercise on age-related, chronic inflammation assessed by C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. Kalani R, Judge S, Carter C, Pahor M, Leeuwenburgh C. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med 2006 Mar;61(3):211-7

Emerging pathological evidence indicates that major chronic aging-related diseases such as atherosclerosis, arthritis, dementia, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases, are inflammation-related.... Key players involved in the inflammatory process are the age-related upregulation of NF-kappaB < = NFkB >, IL-1beta, IL-6, TNFalpha, cyclooxygenase-2, adhesion molecules, and inducible NO synthase. Furthermore, data are presented on the molecular events involved in age-related NF-kappaB activation and phosphorylation by IkappaB kinase/NIK and MAPKs. Experimental data on anti-aging calorie restriction (CR) for its antiinflammatory efficacy by suppressing the upregulated proinflammatory mediators will be reviewed The molecular inflammatory process in aging. Chung HY, Sung B, Jung KJ, Zou Y, Yu BP .Antioxid Redox Signal 2006 Mar-Apr;8(3-4):572-81.

Dietary restriction (DR) remains the most powerful and general environmental manipulation of aging processes in laboratory animals with strong beneficial effects on most age-related degenerative changes throughout the body. Underlying the beneficial effects of DR is the attenuation of system-wide inflammatory processes including those occurring within the central nervous system. During normal aging a progressive neuroinflammatory state builds in the brain involving astrocytes and microglia, the primary cellular components of neuroinflammation. DR attenuates the age-related activation of astrocytes and microglia with concomitant beneficial effects on neurodegeneration and cognition. Increasing evidence suggests that common pathways are emerging that link many normal aging inflammatory processes with age-related diseases such as Alzheimer, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease Anti-inflammatory mechanisms of dietary restriction in slowing aging processes. Morgan TE, Wong AM, Finch CE. Interdiscip Top Gerontol. 2007;35:83-97. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17063034

"aging process" < is > due to an age-related redox imbalance that activates many pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, including the NF-kappaB signaling pathway... This new view on the role of molecular inflammation as a mechanism of aging and age-related pathogenesis can provide insights into potential interventions that may affect the aging process and reduce age-related diseases, thereby promoting healthy longevity.Molecular inflammation: underpinnings of aging and age-related diseases. Chung HY, Cesari M, Anton S, Marzetti E, Giovannini S, Seo AY, Carter C, Yu BP, Leeuwenburgh C. Ageing Res Rev. 2009 Jan;8(1):18-30. Epub 2008 Jul 18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18692159

Recent scientific studies have advanced the notion of chronic inflammation as a major risk factor underlying aging and age-related diseases. In this review, low-grade, unresolved, molecular inflammation is described as an underlying mechanism of aging and age-related diseases, which may serve as a bridge between normal aging and age-related pathological processes. Accumulated data strongly suggest that continuous (chronic) upregulation of pro-inflammatory mediators (e.g., TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, COX-2, iNOS) are induced during the aging process due to an age-related redox imbalance < no strong evidence for redox impalance but VERY STRONG EVIDENCE FOR OVERSTUFFING THE "IN THE BELLY FAT CELLS" TO GENERATE A DIFFUSABLE (PROBABLY CHEMOKINE) INFLAMMATORY SIGNAL THAT ACTIVATE LOCAL MACROPHAGES TO SECRETE IL-1b, TNFa, andIL-6 INFLAMMATORY CYTOKINES, this is just FR crowd trying to salvage some causal effect rather than just a transmittal effect of inflammatory events > that activates many pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, including the NF-kappaB signaling pathway... This new view on the role of molecular inflammation as a mechanism of aging and age-related pathogenesis can provide insights into potential interventions that may affect the aging process and reduce age-related diseases, thereby promoting healthy longevity. Molecular inflammation: underpinnings of aging and age-related diseases. Chung HY, Cesari M, Anton S, Marzetti E, Giovannini S, Seo AY, Carter C, Yu BP, Leeuwenburgh C. Ageing Res Rev  2009 Jan;8(1):18-30. Epub 2008 Jul 18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18692159

This gradually rising inflammatory process can be reversed with inexpensive components from long used human foods. This information is fully covered in the INFLAMMATION PDF & the LONGEVITY PDF for SUBSCRIBERS  to Longer Healthy Life ($30/year ($2.50/month) and get all other PDFs listed in the SUBSCRIBE section). Please note that some behavioral modifications can also lower stress levels and this also moderates some inflammatory activations. This said, the primary cause of the rise in chonic inflammation in well fed humans appears to be related to this accumulation of "inside the belly fat" and eating cooked foods rich in  cross linked molecules.

This is another reason to keep trim and have the belly size of a trim young person while eating a diet high in raw vegetables, nuts, and seeds while avoiding high heat cooked foods. Obese and overweight persons are certain to have this "inside the belly fat" accumulation, but anyone who has a larger belly than youthful trim is also likely to suffer from this. You only get about 15 feet of small intestines, they don't grow more with aging. Some other conditions like excessive back up of food in the intestines can temporarily increase belly size.  Take a look down there, if you are consistently larger than a very trim youthful size, you have "omental" = "inside the belly" fat. Do not imagine you can limit this inflammatory activation with antioxidants alone, inflammation is the problem  .

Some pathological conditions in the body like Cancers typically use this NFkB  mechanism  to survive and stimulate further growth. Many if not all cancers can be killed by substantial (but not total) inhibition of this NFkB activation. Type 2 Diabetes is typically thought of as a problem handling glucose, but the underlying mechanism appears to involve a inflammatory driven inhibition of insulin synthesis and a inflammatory driven increase in the resistance of cells to insulin action. These conditions traps Type 2 Diabetics into a continually WORSENING disease process. No amount of good glucose control will prevent this continuing worsening of Type 2 Diabetes, but good glucose control will slow it - ONLY SLOW IT .

Type 2 diabetes can be eliminated by three separate successful techniques. You can read most of this SUBSCRIBER only PDF by clicking on Type 2 Diabetes.PDF (Preview). This disease is reversible and escapable, but it requires knowledge as well as determination. Few escape the foreshortening of their lives, though almost all could. What a tragic, NO - what a stupid waste of life! SUBSCRIBE to Longer Healthy Life for $30/year ($2.50/month) and get the Type 2 Diabetes - Live Normal Again PDF and all others listed in the SUBSCRIBE section. If you personally don't have type 2 diabetes, I am sure you know loved ones who do. Help them as type 2 diabetes takes it's toll on not just their body but also on their mind's ability to make good judgements as well.

We do not fully understand the nuanced control over the choice of what types of molecules NFkB  activations synthesize. Some NFkB activations like exercise (REF, REF), leads to less inflammation. Other activations of NFkB lead to a variety of increased inflammatory cytokine production.  Short time duration of large blood glucose elevations have been shown to not only elevated activated NFkB, but lead to an unexpected  prolonged higher sensitivity (easier activation) of this control molecule with GREATER inflammatory cytokine consequences . This has been described as a "EPIGENETIC" change which entails alterations of the structure of the DNA-protein complex (chromatin) for easier transcription and expression of cytokine inflammatory molecules. Epigenetic changes and the means to reverse them are described in the forthcoming LONGEVITY PDF for SUBSCRIBERS. One reason these little known epigenetic changes are so important is that they have the ability to be passed down to your children. Yes, you read correctly. If you missed this in the first page of this site (EPIGENETICS AND YOUR CHILDREN), please read this now.

By excessive food intake (both fats and sugars) and our own exposure to environmental poisons both during our reproductive period, we can do damage the health and life spans of our children (and their children and then their children again, and again and again!). This EPIGENETIC change can be inherited so that your offspring have damaged health and shortened life span. This is recent scientific understanding, but has good and repeated scientific confirmation.  Avoid nutritional excess (and environmental poison exposures) so you can spare your innocent children the epigenetic consequences of your bad behavior. This epigenetic reset process can also be reversed and undone IN OUR OWN LIVES and THUS AVOIDED when we have CHILDREN, that information is fully covered in the LONGEVITY PDF for Subscribers only. SUBSCRIBE  to Longer Healthy Life for $30/year ($2.50/month) and get all others listed in the SUBSCRIBE section. Note that these are being produced in sequence and you may have to wait for some to be finished - the wait is worth it  - you can't get this in depth "fixit it" information elsewhere..

This process of inflammatory driven age associated disease is now widely recognized as "the driving mechanism" for the vast majority of age associated diseases that claim our lives. Examples include cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancers, autoimmune diseases, and various dementias. What is encouraging in this bad news is that we have PERFECTLY GOOD, SAFE, (NON-DRUG) FOOD COMPONENTS THAT CAN LOWER THIS INAPPROPRIATE INFLAMMATION.  These food components HAVE BEEN CONSUMED FOR MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS IN HUMAN EXPERIENCE. They have a very safe track record compared to the latest pharmaceutical drugs that are so very often accompanied with dangerous or even lethal side effects. This has been and will continue to be a bias of this site - substances long consumed in the normal human diet that can alleviate unnecessary pathology are hugely superior to our stupidly conceived and so often dangerous pharmaceutical nightmare drugs (but absent natural remedies, drugs are often better than nothing). We should all re-evaluate our use of these often toxic pharmaceutical drugs that are being pushed upon us for pure profit reasons rather than real health. These Anti-inflammatory natural products with a long history of safe human diet consumption are well covered in the SUBSCRIBERS only PDF's for TYPE 2 DIABETES, INFLAMMATION , ALLERGY, METABOLIC SYNDROME, LONGEVITY and several other PDFs from this site. SUBSCRIBERS will immediately know the identity of these beneficial foods and the  amounts that deal with this problem. 

Returning for a moment to the non-infectious inflammatory process that generates most age-associated diseases(that kill most humans), we must understand that THIS IS NOT THE NORMAL AGING PROCESS .  Instead, it is a INFLAMMATORY CATASTROPHIC DETOUR through over-consumption of high energy nutrients that PREVENTS THE SLOWER PROCESS OF GRADUAL AGING AND LATER DEATH. Not only humans, but Calorie Restricted animals also die of typically inflammatory driven typical age associated diseases. In humans this is usually heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases and dementias.  Calorie Restricted (CR) and "ad libitum" rodents usually die of high cancer and kidney autoimmune diseases. The CR animals die at far greater life spans than the ad libitum (as much as wanted) fed animals.  We are literally "prematurely ending our lives" by this inappropriate over-consumption of nutrients. Not a very happy awareness, but ONE THAT CAN BE FIXED.  This unhealthy process of overeating  is largely related to three major problems:

1. Nature build in us a desire to maximize intake of some nutrients due to their high energy storage ability(sweets, fats, etc.). Nature is doing this to ensure we survive lean times for reproduction, but to live the LONGER HEALTHY LIFE - we must recognize this extra fat and carbohydratesis what is driving the age associated diseases and decrease bothWhen we gain awareness of this , we can alter it!

      AND 

    Our commercial culture serves us up unhealthy dangerous levels of foods and additives that are designed to cater to this natural bias to maximize their profit, not our health.  They have even improved on nature by high fructose syrups and huge amounts of monosodium glutamate to further encourage over eating.  WORSE YET, THESE FOODS HAVE RAPIDLY AVAILABLE SUGARS (High Glycemic Index) THAT CAUSE HUGE RAPID INCREASES IN BLOOD GLUCOSE AND THEN HUGE COMPENSATORY INCREASES IN INSULIN THAT THEN LEADS TO CRASHING THAT LEAVES US AGITATED - and WORSE YET - HUNGRY AGAIN. THEY ARE LITERALLY HELPING TO MAKE US OVER EAT AND BECOME FAT -  Don't EAT JUNK FOODS or HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX FOODS or PROCESSED FOODS ! EAT REAL FRESH FOODS AND WHOLE GRAIN AND HEALTHY FISH,SEEDS, NUTS, ETC as in the DIet Section! FOOD COMPANY PROFIT GREED IS SABOTAGING YOUR HEATH AND LIFE SPAN !

2. Self awareness and the ensuing self management skills are not well developed. This is largely learned !

3. Much of over eating is INSECURITY or A FALSE EMOTIONAL GRATIFICATION that is a desired consequence because of other STRESS EVENTS IN OUR LIVES. (if you remember the discussion of long lived centenarians in the HOW & WHY section, they were found to handle stress better than other people. This is largely learned ! )

SUBSCRIBERS will get the WEIGHT REDUCTION AND LEAN MAINTENANCE PDF that will help with this process RAPIDLY.

There are also other sources of inflammatory elevation in various particular disease states that may involve real intracellular parasites like the Mycoplasma (Rheumatoid Arthritis is a likely case here). We do not have enough data to be certain how large a fraction or the severity for humans that are infected with these intracellular parasites. We do know that these intracellular parasites activate inflammation in their own survival interest. This requires much need biological/medical research. These intracellular parasites may be handled by medical treatment, with potentially dangerous drugs. It can also be mostly suppressed by periodic purges with specific anti-biotic food components and a simple widely used process occurring in all cultures. This is covered in the PDF  DETOXIFICATION & KILLING/CONTROLLING  INTRA-CELLULAR PARASITES  for SUBSCRIBERS.  The benefit of the detoxification process is that it can be repeated to quash repetitive infections if this ongoing intracellular infection is commonplace and we are easily re-infected (likely).  For immunologists, it has been a rather rude awakening that there are intracellular bacteria that escape immune system surveillance and destruction  - even in healthy individuals. Worse yet, these intracellular bacteria  have turned on inflammatory events for their own benefit (definitely not ours).

 

OPTIMIZING IMMUNE FUNCTION

YOUR FUNDAMENTAL PROTECTION IS A STRONG HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM AND GOOD PUBLIC HEALTH PRECAUTIONS !

What we can do to keep our immune system (both the INNATE and ADAPTIVE) in best working order, ? We can identify multiple actions.

1. Minimize simple sugar and alcohol intakes & Similar IMMUNE POISONS- Simple sugars and alcohol massively decline the active take up of pathogenic bacteria by our white blood cells. This ingestion and display of peptides on the surface of our support cells generates the priming of our ADAPTIVE IMMUNE SYSTEM.  Without sampling and displaying these foreign peptides, our ADAPTIVE immune system does not get the necessary stimulation to act. Surprisingly enough, ingestion of slowly delivered complex carbohydrates does not injure our immune system in this way. The "ALL DAY ENERGY " technique of a low level of glucose delivery over the day long period is ideal to avoid desire for simple sugars (candy bars and fructose laden soft drinks).  Along with avoiding simple sugar and alcohol intakes, avoid exposure to environmental toxins like organic chemicals and pesticides, GM foods, and unnatural electric and magnetic fields. Human Technology Electromagnetic fields (EMF) and their negative effects on our health are covered in the SUBSCRIBERS only EMF PDF.

2. Get a good diet - A Good DIET has is one that has lots of fresh vegetables and some fruit, enough protein and especially the right kinds of fats along with all the minerals and vitamins that are needed. Long time favorites to aid immunity and protection are eating some garlic on a regular basis. Garlic has profound antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral components and needed sulfur compounds that help recharge out endogenous protective glutathione levels - see the DIET section. Be sensitive to any allergic like reaction to particular foods. if you always get a stuffed up  nose when eating a particular food consider that a food you body is somewhat allergic to - and avoid it. Don't over eat food in general, as this diminishes the responsiveness of our immune system  via excess sugar and fat. Obese people have a lower immune function but higher & chronic inflammation.  Concentrate on fresh vegetables and some fruits (a variety of berries are great) with good lipid balance between the w3  : w6 lipids (@ 1:1) (see Lipids subsection of the DIET section). AVOID JUNK FOOD AND PROCESSED FOODS COMPLETELY  ! Processing grains removes certain minerals and vitamins as well as a whole group of what are called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are small molecules that modulate and benefit our physiology, but are not fuel or building blocks. Our Immune system is possibly the most sensitive system in our body to even a single nutrient or vitamin -mineral deficiency. 

3. Make sure you are getting enough protein from a variety of sources - Building new cells and antibodies places high requirements on  this class of food. Especially useful is fish and vegetable sources. Red meat has high levels of iron which should be avoided during infections to restrict pathogen growth. This is also covered in the IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF for SUBSCRIBERS.

4. Make sure you get sufficient Vitamins. In addition to the usual RDA minimums, elevated levels of Vitamin C and D are a good choice . I normally take up to 1-2 grams of buffered time released vitamin C to maintain consistent high tissue levels. If infected, I would take 2-10 grams of time released vitamin C per day. Animals that produce their own vitamin C show a 40,000 fold increase when infected ! Humans and guinea pigs can't produce their own Vitamin C.  If infected, a "temporary" increase in Vitamin A to 2-5 times the RDA intake is also valuable. Do not overdo the Vitamin A as it can be highly toxic if taken persistently at elevated levels. Vitamin D is a special case covered next.

5. Make sure you are DAILY getting 4000 IU of Vitamin D in the form of Vitamin  D3 (calciferol) (NOT "Vitamin D2"). If you are not getting at least 20-30 minutes of noon sunlight on much of your upper body, you should supplement with vitamin D. It is widely recognized that many if not most people in the developed countries have a deficit in Vitamin D(http://www.grassrootshealth.net/). This also explains the occurrence of Flu and colds during the winter season as Sunlight UVB is needed to make Vitamin D. UVB is minimal during the winter months. We simply don't harvest enough light (UVB) in winter to create enough Vitamin D. At very high  or very low latitude (above 45-50° in northern or southern hemispheres), there is zero Vitamin D formation during the winter. At lower latitudes, some vitamin D is formed but not nearly as much as in summer. We get colds and flu during the winter due to this deficit that was nonexistent in our free roaming hunter gatherer distant ancestors. The frequency of cancer occurrence increases with distance from the equator, indicating a possible connection with vitamin D and immunology of cancer surveillance. Similar correlations exist for auto-immune diseases (which strike women in general much more than men).  Vitamin D3 is known to elevate immune function but put a limit on the extent of further elevation. This is very important due to the dangers of over stimulating our immune system. Overreaction to virus by the immune system led to the huge number of deaths in the 1918 influenza world wide pandemic. The immune system had removed the virus, but was so violently activated by what is called - a CYTOKINE STORM - that it attacked normal lung tissue, killing the victim. There is excellent reasons that this could have been prevented by sufficient vitamin D. This occured during a period of cloudy weather that interfered with sunlight UVB creation of vitamin D. Sufficient Vitamin D is also a mechanism of thwarting the development of autoimmune disease development. For those who already have auto-immune diseases - you can minimize or nearly get rid of this, see the SUBSCRIBER only  PDF on AUTO-IMMUNITY.

However, it is critically important that most vertebrates obtain an adequate source of vitamin D, either from exposure to sunlight or from their diet, in order to develop and maintain a healthy mineralized skeleton. Vitamin D deficiency is an unrecognized epidemic in most adults who are not exposed to adequate sunlight... The insights into the new biological functions of 1,25(OH)2D in regulating cell growth, modulating the immune system and modulating the renin-angiotensin system provides an explanation for why diminished sun exposure at higher latitudes is associated with increased risk of dying of many common cancers, developing type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and having a higher incidence of hypertension. Evolution and function of vitamin D. Holick MF. Recent Results Cancer Res. 2003;164:3-28. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12899511

6. Make sure you are getting a full distribution of mineral intakes with trace minerals that are also crucial to our immune system. If infected, increase Zinc and  Selenium intakes to double the RDA or more while the infection is present - DON'T TAKE Zn or Se at high levels for any prolonged period of time. All minerals have an optimum, with too much or too little injurious. See the SUPPLEMENTS section for more details on this. A good intake of sulfur rich amino acids (garlic, eggs) is very protective. Sulfur supplement by the non-toxic anti-inflammatory methylsufonylmethane (MSM) is a good choice: MSM supplementation raises rat liver protective glutathione levels (and likely ours as well) . Bio-available sulfur is important as a starting point for the synthesis of the protective antioxidant glutathione that is central to protection of our cell health. Infections severely deplete this level.

7. Get some aerobic exercise at least 4 times a week. Instructions for this are found in the Exercise and Z's section. If you are sick, don't tax yourself with excessive exercise. If you have physical injury or painful inflammatory problems, skip the exercise till you get better. Do not exercise when you are sick. This may be a unwise burden on an already stressed body.

8. Consume pro-biotic foods at least 3-4 times a week. These foods improve your digestion and the good bacteria will occupy "real estate" in your gut that will not be available to pathogens. While most people eat some (dairy) yogurt, a wide variety of living  pro-biotic foods are available. You can make "yogurt" from whole oat grain (called oat groats) which have lactobacilli on them to produce a rich creamy pro-biotic food that tastes like sour cream (oats are 17% protein !). What most don't understand is that you must feed any pro-biotic bacteria their preferred food to have them "colonize" rather then just "pass through" your gut. This means that unless you give dairy based yogurt some lactose, they don't get their preferred food. At least 70% of the people in the world are lactose intolerant ads, they can't eat foods containing lactose. Since many people eat oats worldwide, this would always feed their resident pro-biotic bacteria that are protecting their gut. Many other living pro-biotic foods exists, but be aware that you must feed each what they prefer as food for them to stay and colonize your gut. You are not chained to dairy yogurt. This is covered in much more detail in the forthcoming PROBIOTICS.pdf for SUBSCRIBERS. 

9. Sleep is critical to good immune function. Sleep deprivation lowers immune function. A huge fraction of people in the USA are sleep deprived. This lowers their immune function and predisposes to any infectious agent they encounter. 

10. Practice good personal hygiene (cannot be over stressed).  Wash you hands with soap and warm water and avoid touching surfaces that may be contaminated. It you do touch people or surfaces, wash you hands with soap again. Forget the alcohol wipes, hospital tests show them to just be another scam, soap and warm water is better. The most common ways we become infected with colds and flu is via air born droplets from sneezes or coughs of others and our own use of our fingers touching eyes, noses, mouths, etc. Both of these involve infection through mucus membranes of our eyes, gut tube, and airways. SEE BELOW TO GAIN SPECIAL PROTECTION OF THESE MUCUS MEMBRANES FROM INFECTIONS.

Note: Children must undergo an education of their immune system. Thus, as paradoxical as it sounds, they must be exposed to a wide variety of different minor activating insults. This does not mean they must become dangerously infected with diseases, but their immune systems must gain enough information to function well as adults. As adults, we want to avoid needless exposure as we already have mostly trained immune systems.

The reality is that we all encounter a wide variety of potentially dangerous bacteria and normally present viruses and such. Our public health measures have greatly reduced the presence of really bad diseases and we now generally confront less dangerous pathogens. Despite this, if we do not individually keep our immune systems in good condition, we would be defenseless. 

"Everyone seems to be so afraid of "bugs" and their potential ability to make us sick. But the reality is that we swim in "bugs" every day and we are not dropping over like flies... If the focus of Public Health was on sleep, exercise, clean water and safe, non-GMO food, we would have a healthy society without vaccines, but we would not have billion dollar industries employing millions of people to keep us "healthy."

"Saying NO To Vaccines"   Dr. Sherri Tenpenny               

 

SPECIAL IMMUNOLOGICAL PROTECTIONS

There are a few concentrates of natural substances that can MASSIVELY augment our avoidance of becoming infected  and others that strongly stimulate our immune systems to respond if we do become infected. One of these can be used daily (I do) and the other two are strictly for situations where one is in danger from a serious infection. Both are covered in the SUBSCRIBER only  IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF. 

A potent safe natural substance creates a safe "FIREWALL PROTECTION" for our mucus membranes. This is covered in the SUBSCRIBER only IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF. If you use this safe and inexpensive "FIREWALL PROTECTION" daily, you may never become infected***. Also covered in this IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF are two extremely potent methods to enhance your T & B-cell responses  and directly kill pathogens with your bodies own natural antibiotics. These last two are for any infection that gets through the FIREWALL PROTECTION. Naturally this is only used when you have become infected. This is defense in depth. What I have found is that I just never get the colds and flu that are all around me with sick and sneezing students.  Try it, you will not regret the absence of colds and flu.

 

*** - INFECTIOUS DISEASES can be thought of as belonging to three different CLASSES of severity.

CLASS 1. The MOST DANGEROUS AND DEADLY INFECTIOUS DISEASES that we must MOSTLY AVOID by PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES and use our personal wisdom to avoid in some cases. Examples of this are:Smallpox virus, Diptheria, Ebola virus, Typhus, Typhoid fever, Cholera, HIV virus, Rabies virus, etc.). All of these are well handled by either PUBLIC HEALTH EXCLUSION from the human population or personal care to avoid (HIV). With treatment most of these are survivable, but some (Smallpox virus, Ebola virus, Rabies virus, HIV) are not effectively treated. Public health in the form of careful control of the purity and safety of water and food, safe removal of sewarge, as well as careful epidemiological survielence of disease incidence by physicians and quarantine when required are as critical at this time as they ever were for these CLASS 1 infectious diseases. We ARE NOT and most  probably WILL NEVER BE SAFE from new diseases like these. Without our constant vigilence of public health we would rapidly descend into an almost "middle ages nightmare" of infection and social disintergation. A EXCELLENT IMMUNE SYSTEM (even with the IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF) MAY NOT BE ENOUGH PROTECTION AGAINST A MULTIPLICITY OF THESE DISEASES. MANY OF THESE INFECTIOUS DISEASES HAVE NATURAL RESIVOISRS OF ANIMAL HOSTS IN THE WILD THAT MEANS THAT WE CAN ALWAYS BE EXPOSED. THIS IS THE ONLY CLASS OF INVECTIOUS DISEASES THAT VACCINES ARE OCCASIONALLY APPROPRIATE FOR  - BUT ONLY OCCASIONALLY DUE TO THE INJURY VACCINES DO TO OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND THEIR LONG TERM INJURY TO OUR CHILDREN. The history of our species is that we have mostly avoided these infectious diseases by public health measures rather than IMMUNIZATIONS. SOCIAL BREAKDOWNS OFTEN LEAD TO SUDDEN RISES IN THIS VERY DANGEROUS GROUP OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES. ABSENT OUR PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES - WE ARE ALWAYS AT DEADLY RISK FROM THESE.

CLASS 2 These are POTENTIALLY DEADLY INFECTIOUS DISEASES, BUT MOSTLY NOT LETHAL WITH CARE AND A GOOD IMMUNE SYSTEM. Examples of such are VERY dangerous Influenza strains like that of the 1918 eipdemic. Good health with no deficiencies in needed Vitamins (especially Vitamin D that is required to start a Tcell response ), Minerals, or required dietary components and the  IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF for SUBSCRIBERS will provide us with almost all we will need to stop this CLASS of Infectious Diseases. The need to see a doctor for these infectious dieseases will greatly decline or vanish with this CLASS of infectious Disease  (and all lesser infectious diseases) when we have the IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDFJust having these IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF on hand (along with needed nutritional requirements) is HAVING DEFENSE IN DEPTH.

CLASS 3. These are the routine colds, minor influenzas, and a host of other minor infectious diseases we may easily acquire regardless of our personal avoidance and wisdom. We cannot completely insulate ourselves from exposure to other people (especially children) or all foods, etc. . What is important here is our good health and the good maintenance of our immune system to almost shrug off or even prevent infections despite exposure. This is greatly aided by the "FIRE WALL for our INNATE IMMUNITY " that is part of  the IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF for SUBSCRIBERS. Should we become infected the additional protections  in this IMMUNE ENHANCEMENT PDF for SUBSCRIBERS will rapidly boost our protection and likely end this very rapidly. 

 

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