REPAIRING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
So far at MPN LIFE I have spent a lot of time hammering home the virtues of exercise. I have shared with you the role exercise plays in building a healthier cardiovascular system, very important to those of us with MPN’s. Exercise has proven to slow age-related muscle loss, reduced body fat and helps maintain and restore cognitive functions. Exercise, even six days a week, will not improve the quality of your life and potentially help you live longer without a nutritional change in your life that embraces excellent nutrition.
Most of the health problems the average human sees in a lifetime are due to two factors, lack of exercise and poor nutrition. Most of us fail to address these issues until a problem a rises. Then in a state of panic we rush to the Doctor who in his or her haste to get to the next patient writes us a prescription to deal with the problem. Most often the patient reports feeling better as the prescribed medication does its job. Masking the problem, not curing it.
This is a cycle that has existed for decades as people look for simple solutions instead of dealing with the real problem. Because we forget about the problem we continue on with our poor nutrition and lack of daily exercise. Until we run to our Doctor again with a new problem.
For MPN Patients nutrition, just like exercise is left uncovered by the medical community. Often we are told to follow a plan based on another disease since its been tested there but that pretty much the best we get. For all Doctors involved treating MPN patients I feel their pain. What studies can they point to in order to guide us? None.
While we have recently learned that Low HDL is quite common in MPN Patient and low HDL left untreated if often more dangerous than high cholesterol. Excellent nutrition, exercise and fish oil are the only proven options out there today to raise your HDL. Without support provided by community lists or MPN Forum Magazine, the topic would hardly come about, yet it’s a critical element and source to improve our quality of life as well as longevity.
Food provides the necessary fuel for the entire human body and is necessary to support life. As we reach our fifties and beyond many of us begin to eat less and suffer from bone and muscle loss often associated with the lack of protein in our diets.
MPN patients are especially susceptible to this loss of appetite. There are many factors some are due to medications, fatigue, weakened immune systems, mylefibrosis, spleen size, depression and lack of sleep that lead to consuming less. When you re battling an MPN disease you must find alternatives in order to give your body the strength to fight of as long as possible. When you have all of these issues together combined with a lack of exercise, especially if we no do not participate in muscle building exercises, we began to lose our bone mass, LDL and triglycerides rise and we have begun the process of slowly building to a perfect storm within our bodies.
Fortunately our bodies are very forgiving and once we begin to take responsibility for participating in the process of aiding our bodies in repairing its immune system.
Our immune system plays two vital roles in your body. First, it responds to foreign organisms by producing antibodies and stimulating specialized cells, which destroy those organisms or neutralize their toxic products. In this manner, it defends against foreign invaders: germs, viruses, bacteria, and the like. And second, it stands guard over the cells of your body to ensure that they are not abnormal or degenerating. In many ways, your immune system is the most awesome system in your body, easily rivaling your brain in terms of complexity, subtlety, and “self-awareness.” *1
A strong immunity program relies heavily on a healthy diet loaded with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, which we will cover down below. A poor diet, on the other hand, can cause our entire system to turn upside down starting from an unbalanced digestive system to a troubled elimination system – all of which affect your immune system’s ability to do its job. Some simple dietary rules to follow:
- Stop Smoking – if you smoke, stop. Nothing more needs to be said.
- Avoid Sugar – research shows that white blood cells have a decreased ability to engulf bacteria when exposed to high levels of sugar, thus suppressing your immune system and your ability to fight infection. A 1976 study, for example, published in Dental Survey found that drinking 24 ounces of sugared cola depressed the activity of bacteria eating neutrophils for a minimum of five hours. Stick to natural sweeteners that are low on the glycemic index.
- Limit coffee – research suggests that even though coffee may have some antioxidants, the high acid levels can impede the villi of the small intestine, affecting your body’s ability to assimilate nutrients, especially calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also dehydrates the body. Green tea is a healthier alternative. If you drink coffee, drink 2 glasses of additional water for every cup of coffee, and take a mineral supplement to offset the loss caused by the coffee.
- Reduce alcohol – alcohol abuse is associated with immune deficiencies and an increased incidence of infectious diseases.
- Eat healthy fats – Omega 3’s & 6’s help the immune system recognize what is self/non-self key for controlling cancer, and they are needed by the immune system to manufacture prostaglandins, which kill germs and invaders. And be sure to keep your consumption of Omega 3’s and 6’s in balance.
- Eliminate Toxic Food from Your Diet – as much as possible, avoid unnatural substances frequently found in commercial food that impact your health such as pesticides, insecticides, genetically modified foods, irradiated foods, food additives, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, etc. There are over 3000 different chemicals added to our food, and nobody knows the effects of the various additives when used together in the thousands of combinations inside our bodies over time.
- Raise you pH – as much as possible, eat foods (primarily vegetables and some fruit) that raise your body’s pH. Beneficial supplements include the minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Avoid excesses of meat, dairy, sugars, and cooked grain – all of which make your body more acidic.
© Jeremy Smith and MPNforum.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jeremy Smith and MPNforum.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content