Did you know that your body is constantly fighting a war? Your body is constantly under attack by billions of little creatures whose sole purpose in life is to invade your body and destroy it from the inside out or to use your body for their own nefarious purposes. Every single surface you touch, every breath of air you breathe, and every clump of dirt you ate when you were a child is full of bacteria, viruses, parasites, or other nasty looking germs that are out to destroy you. If that’s not enough, sometimes your own body cells decide to double-cross you and join ranks with the germs! Traitors. So what keeps this legion of terrorists from turning your life into a horror movie? Why, the most efficient army ever created—your immune system! Seriously, your immune system is so efficient that you are unaware of the battles being fought in your body on an hourly basis. Well, most of the time anyway… Your immune system is probably the most successful military/anti-terrorist organization on the planet. (TSA, start taking notes.)
What exactly is the immune system and what makes it so efficient? For starters, God created it, so obviously He’s going to make it the most formidable military ever. The immune system is a very complex network of guards, soldiers, intelligence officers, weapons factories, and communicators that basically keep you, well… alive.1 The many components of the immune system can be broken down into two general categories—the first line of defense and the second line of defense. The first line of defense is composed of all your natural barriers such as your skin and mucosal membranes. Your skin employs a host of good bacteria to combat all the bad guys that you might rub shoulders with, literally and figuratively. Your skin also has a slightly acidic pH that a number of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and other microorganisms) find very difficult to survive in. Mucosal membranes include things like the respiratory tract, digestive tract, and the urinary tract. All these body parts produce chemicals, proteins, and enzymes designed to trap and destroy all manner of deleterious microorganisms that might set up shop in your body.
Let’s say that you decide to stop at Wendy’s for a hamburger and the kid at the counter sneezes all over you as you’re placing your order. (Everyone picks on McDonald’s so I’m just spreading the love). Your nose turns into a mucous factory to trap all the little assassins, but a few might wriggle their way out of the sticky trap you’ve set and into your lungs where they begin rapidly multiplying and preparing to wage war on your poor unsuspecting lungs. What then? Second line of defense to the rescue! The second line of defense is split into two divisions. The non-specific (innate) defense system is like your front-line soldiers who kill all and any suspicious characters. The specific (adaptive) defense system is like a team of SEALs, called in to do specialized and complex defensive work. The non-specific immunity is the first squad to show up to the fight. Within this division, white blood cells called phagocytes are the first type of soldiers who arrive at the fight scene. (Phagocyte literally means cell that eats because they engulf their enemies whole!) Their job is to patrol along the walls of the blood vessels on a search and destroy mission, looking for pathogens or toxins that might be out to destroy you.2 So you’ve just inhaled a colony of viruses that have now set up camp in some part of your lungs and are rapidly dividing. Either some patrolling phagocyte notices and comes to the rescue or the tissues in your lungs send out a distress signal (also known as the inflammatory response) that all the phagocytes respond to. These super soldiers find the colony of viruses and start chowing down.2
Usually the front-line soldiers are able to stop the attack before it gets started, but occasionally the phagocytes find themselves overrun by these rapidly multiplying invaders. The phagocytes then release pyrogen chemicals that stimulate the hypothalamus in the brain to increase your body temperature causing a systemic fever. The resulting temperature rise increases the metabolism of your cells so they can heal faster. If that isn’t enough, then the SEALs are called in—your specific (adaptive) defense system.3 Explaining how the adaptive defense system works will take much more energy than my poor fingers are currently producing, so we’ll save that for a later article. Just remember that most of the symptoms we think of as being signs of sickness are actually signs of healing. Swelling, mucous, fever, and sometimes even pain are all signs that our immune system is functioning as it should. Instead of focusing all our attention on eradicating the symptoms of healing we should focus on giving the body the ammunition it needs to effectively stop the war before it starts. What are some of the tools that the immune system needs to work at its optimal level?
Everyone knows that sleep is important for a lot of things and everything seems to fall apart when you don’t get enough sleep (There is that random person that exists only on caffeine and somehow has nothing wrong with them, but we’re just going to ignore them). If you chronically don’t get enough sleep and are exposed to some nasty virus or bacteria, it is so much harder to recover and it takes the immune system that much longer to fight it off. Why exactly is that so? When you sleep, your immune system releases certain chemicals called cytokines that help you sleep better. Cytokines are also crucial in the healing of infections and inflammation; therefore, if you don’t get enough sleep your immune system doesn’t have enough weaponry to win the battle.4 If you need help relaxing in the evening, diffuse some lavender, apply Peace and Calming on the back of your neck, or roll some Tranquil on the bottom of your feet.
2. NingXia Red®
NingXia Red is a juice made from wolfberries that come from the Ningxia region of northern China. Wolfberries are superfruits that are full of a wide variety of nutrients and trace minerals that most other foods do not have. The wolfberries are pureed and mixed with a blend of other juices and essential oils to make an antioxidant rich juice.5 Antioxidants are beneficial to the immune system because they protect the cells of the body from being harmed by certain oxidative toxins. Cells that have been oxidized are called free radicals (I prefer the term “traitor” myself) and start wreaking havoc on nearby tissues. The immune system, in addition to preventing you from dying from infection, must hunt down and dispose of these mutinous cells before they start causing too much damage. But if you consume a lot of antioxidants, your cells are protected from toxins and the job of the immune system becomes a little bit easier. Additionally, the essential oils in NingXia Red are uniquely blended to support your body’s defenses. And if you’re really serious about supporting your immune system, add a drop of Thieves™ to your Ningxia Red in the morning.
3. Master Formula™
Vitamin D3 is one of the most important weapons in your arsenal when it comes to supporting the immune system. Contrary to its name, vitamin D is actually a hormone that turns certain genes on and off depending on what your body needs. In the immune system, it boosts your non-specific (innate) defense system by turning on the production of certain peptides (small pieces of protein) that trigger an anti-microbial response. This allows your little army to wipe out the invaders before they start infecting you.6 Lack of vitamin D is probably why so many more people catch the flu in the winter because they aren’t getting vitamin D from the sun. As it is, everyone is deficient in vitamin D because no one spends enough time in the sun, and we don’t get enough from our diet. Therefore we have to supplement it. However, vitamin D is most effective when taken along with vitamins K2, E, and A. Master Formula™ is a great option because, while providing nutrition for the entire body, it has a unique capsule with vitamins D, K, E, and A that is optimal for supporting your immune system.7 You can also add extra vitamin D, especially in the winter, with OmegaGize3™.
4. Inner Defense™
Another Young Living product that will give your immune system some additional ammo is a softgel called Inner Defense™. This supplement is a blend of different essential oils such as Thieves™, oregano, thyme, and lemongrass. Together these oils create a hostile environment for yeast and fungus, support healthy respiratory function, and promote healthy immune function.8 For optimal results, take Life 9™, a probiotic, eight hours after having Inner Defense™. Life 9™ will feed the healthy bacteria in your gut which, in turn, will make your body really happy.
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like more articles like this let us know. We would love to hear your feedback!
- The Immune System Explained I—Bacteria Infection [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQGOcOUBi6s
- Jenkins, N. (Producer). (2015, December 8). Immune System, part 1: Crash Course A&P [#45]. Crash Course. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIJK3dwCWCw
- Purdom, G. (2010). Mission: Search and Destroy. Answers, 5(4), 58-62
- Olsen, E.J. (2015). Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/FAQ-20057757
- Myers, A. (2016). Vitamin D and It’s Impact on Your Immune System. Amy Myers MD. Retrieved from https://www.amymyersmd.com/2016/06/vitamin-d/