by Dr. Howard Peiper, N.D.
The immune system’s basic function is to protect us against infection, illness and disease of all kind. A strong immune system is the number one key to health. It fights off thousands of predatory environmental and infectious microorganisms, which can invade and damage virtually every part of the body. The immune system has the ability to expel pathogens (virus, bacteria, etc.), toxic chemicals, and tumorous cells that are generated through mutation. It also aids the body in tissue repair and healing and strives to maintain homeostasis (balance) in the body.
The immune system involves a finely tuned, highly integrated series of events that destroy a would-be invader. Once the immune system identifies an unwanted guest, it brings an awesome array of chemical and cellular weapons to banish the perpetrators.
When the immune system is working properly, we remain healthy. However, the immune system can and does become compromised. This may be a result of the following: persistent metabolic damage (for example, high free-radical stress); poor nutrition; chronic infection or advancing age; strenuous physical activity and emotional stress. So, it is no secret that our body is put under physical and emotional stress warding off the above-mentioned multi-faceted assaults. When our bodies become overwhelmed the regulatory features of the immune system weakens and becomes less effective, resulting in: fatigue; loss of appetite and weight loss; skin rashes and cold sores; increased severity of allergy symptoms and other symptoms of immune deficiencies. In time, these conditions can exacerbate the initial symptoms into more serious immuno-compromised conditions such as: chronic fatigue, cancer, asthma, etc.
Recently, there have been many studies showing that the above conditions all have one thing in common-inflammation. So, if inflammation is at the heart of arthritis, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic fatigue syndrome, etc, then instead of having to solve several different problems, we only have to solve one.
Inflammation can affect all of us. If we are in good health now, managing inflammation can keep us disease free. If we are currently struggling with an inflammation-related disease, lowering levels of inflammation in our body will not only increase the quality of our life; it will even extend our lifespan. A great description of inflammation is when we sustain an injury or when an alien organism (virus, fungus, or bacterium) invades, the body responds by releasing a series of chemicals, which can cause redness, swelling, pain and impeded function. Even though we can’t see it, inflammation can eat away at our blood vessels, digestive tract, brain, joints, and the inner structure of our eyes. Inflammation is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it protects us and on the other hand, inflammation can kill us. Short-term inflammation is good and long-term inflammation is bad.
Everyone has heard about antioxidants. We know they are good for us because they combat harmful free radicals (unstable molecules that damage our cellular DNA). Free radical damage, also called "oxidative stress", has been linked to many diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, eye diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease. They also play a key role in combating inflammation. When the body produces free radicals, it causes oxidation (which damages human cells), which then causes inflammation. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants prevent oxidation and therefore quell inflammation.
Green-lipped mussel (New Zealand) oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is 158 times more effective as an anti-inflammatory than any of the other fish oils.
Sauvignon Blanc grapes that come from the South Island of New Zealand have greater levels of super antioxidant OPC (oligomeric procyanidin compounds) than any other known fruit or berry.
Dr. Howard Peiper, N.D., nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has written several best-selling books on nutrition and natural health, including "The Secrets of Staying Young".
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