For more than 25 years I’ve been helping people overcome illness and disease by working with them to boost their immune system. The immune system underpins a person’s entire mental and physical wellbeing and is the key to improving one’s health. I’m often asked how the immune system actually works and how can we possibly ‘work with it’ to improve our health. So here’s a basic overview of how the immune system operates and what we do at Bill Giles Health Ecology.
Our bodies are composed of trillions of living cells, each trying to live as long and as healthy as they can. Each type of cell has a different job to do and group together to make up the organs in your body—like your heart, lungs and liver. These are coded to a genetic blueprint and when they work in harmony you feel healthy.
Immune defence cells protect organ cells and work to maintain optimal body environments. They protect against unwanted chemicals and pathogens (bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses) and remove cancer cells. Immune cells are categorised into ancestral immune cells and adaptive immune cells, with red blood cells and platelets assisting with coding and communication.
Ancestral immune cells (leukocytes) are genetically coded to broadly defend the body. Although these cells can accept new coding for a specific defence from other immune cells, they do not retain this coding. At birth, the ancestral immune cells are ready to defend the body as a primary line of defence against common pathogens and chemicals that our ancestors have been regularly contracting for more than a million years in north-east Africa.
The adaptive immune cells (T-cells and B-cells) on the other hand, evolve direct defences against specific pathogens, chemicals and tumour cells that the ancestral cells cannot recognise. At birth there are billions of adaptive cells circulating in the body, however they hold little or no information or coding and thus little or no ability to assist in the defence of an infant. When a baby first drinks breast milk with colostrum they receive a chemical known as the ‘transfer factor’. It has coding from the mother’s adaptive immune system for defence against novel pathogens and chemicals to which she had been exposed to over several weeks leading up to the birth—a natural immunisation. This kickstarts the coding and communication of the adaptive immune system. Further low-grade contact with chemicals and bugs throughout childhood and beyond, improves the immune system’s ability to communicate.
This communication is the key to maintaining optimal health. If communication between immune cells and other cells in the body is disrupted the immune response can be misdirected, affecting certain organs or particular tissues in different parts of the body. Autoimmune disease can occur, with the immune system attacking healthy body cells instead of infected cells. Cancers can also form, with T-cells losing the ability to efficiently identify and kill non-communal cells. Immune communication can be disrupted by factors like pathogens, chemicals, foods (such as those containing gluten and grain lectins), and emotional stress.
Here at Bill Giles Health Ecology, we help you identify which triggers (like pathogens, foods, emotional stresses) are disrupting your immune system’s ability to communicate. We teach you self-care skills and therapies to unload the immune system and empower you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We also customise natural medicines to assist organ and immune function, and recommend corrective exercises to aid your health recovery.
See next week’s blog The Immune System and Your Health for more details on the factors impacting immune health and some steps you can take to improve your overall health.
You can also find more on immune scarring and how to support your immune system in No More Chronic Fatigue or by coming along to one of our workshops.