Keeping Your Immune System Healthy

Our immune system is made up of the spleen, bone marrow, thymus and lymph nodes, and it is constantly busy doing an amazing job at protecting us from bacteria, viruses and other unwelcome invaders.

Spleen: This is an organ located in the upper left side of the abdomen. The spleen filters the blood by discarding old blood cells and microorganisms. It is also responsible for the production of antibodies.

Bone marrow: Located inside long bones and produces blood cells that start out as stem cells and later become red or white blood cells or platelets.

Thymus: Located behind the sternum and is responsible for producing T cells.

Lymph nodes: These are located throughout the body and act as filters for foreign invaders.

Our immune system produces Y shaped proteins called antibodies that bind to antigens (foreign invaders) and destroy them, and will continue to make antibodies for the antigens that have invaded it. Our immune system does an extraordinary job at remembering this antigens and the next time they attack it recognizes them and sends the appropriate antibodies to destroy them.

There is a very important connection between diet and health. It is crucial to provide the body with the necessary tools to keep our immune system working at it’s best. A balanced and varied diet is essential for
keeping the immune system healthy. By providing the body with the adequate vitamins, minerals and nutrients you can ensure that your body gets what it needs to stay healthy.

Essential nutrients for immunity:

  1. Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from free radicals, and also important for wound healing. Vitamin C is present in berries, peppers, tomatoes, kiwi, brussel sprouts and citrus fruits.
  2. Vitamin E: increases the production of natural killer cells.Vitamin E is abundant in avocados, nuts, seeds and wheat germ.
  3. Omega 3: Increases phagocytosis (the process by which phagocytes engulf bacteria). Omega 3 rich foods like salmon, walnuts and flax protect the lungs from infection.
  4. Zinc: Enhances the function of T cells.Zinc is found in beans, whole grains and nuts.
  5. Probiotics: Help with nutrient absorption and colonize the intestines with beneficial bacteria.Fermented foods are rich in probiotics as well as yogurt and kefir.

Understanding Lupus and Staying Healthy

The disease Lupus is classified as an autoimmune disease, and it can affect different parts of the body. In most people it affects the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. In the case of a normal healthy body, the immune system produces proteins that are called antibodies. These antibodies serve to protect the body against infection, viruses, bacteria, and other foreign matter. The term for these foreign materials is antigens.

What happens when the body is affected with an autoimmune disorder like lupus is that the immune system becomes confused and cannot tell the difference between foreign material and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then begins to make antibodies and directs them against itself; these antibodies are called auto-antibodies. The auto-antibodies affect the body by causing inflammation, pain and damage in different parts of the body.

The primary feature of Lupus is usually considered to be inflammation. The term inflammation in Latin means “set on fire,” and is identified by pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function. This can occur on the inside or on the outside of the body, or in some cases or both.

There are considered to be four main types of lupus: discoid, systemic, drug-induced and neonatal lupus.

Discoid type lupus always affects the skin. It is characterized by a rash that appears on the face, neck, and scalp. Discoid lupus can be diagnosed by taking a biopsy of the rash and performing tests. The biopsy will show certain anomalies that are not present in skin without the rash. Discoid lupus usually will not involve problem with the body’s internal organs. In roughly 10 percent of people diagnosed with this disease, discoid lupus can evolve into a more severe problem, and can affect almost any organ or system of the body. It is impossible to predict or prevent this from happening. Unfortunately treatment of discoid lupus will not stop it from progressing to this stage. It is likely that individuals who experience this problem, probably had systemic lupus all along, and the discoid rash was the main symptom.

Systemic lupus is found to be more severe than the previously mentioned discoid lupus, because it affects almost any organ or organ system of the body. It differs from person to person; for some people only the skin and joints may be involved. For other people, the joints, lungs, kidneys, blood, or other organs and/or tissues could be affected. The problem with diagnosing systemic lupus is that, usually no two persons affected with systemic lupus will display identical symptoms. One of the most identifiable symptoms of systemic lupus is that the individual may experience periods in which few (or any) symptoms are evident which is called remission. Other times individuals will experience “flares” which is when the disease becomes more active.

Drug-induced lupus can occur after the use of certain prescribed medications. One of the tricky things about this form of lupus is that the symptoms are similar to those of systemic lupus. The two medications that are most connected with drug-induced lupus are hydralazine and procainamide. Drug induced lupus is generally more common in men because they are given these drugs more often. However, it should be noted that not everyone who takes these medications does or will develop this type of lupus. Roughly about 4 percent of the people who take these medications will develop this type of lupus. Also the symptoms will generally fade when the drugs are discontinued.

Neonatal lupus is a rare and serious condition that is acquired from the passage of maternal auto-antibodies. This particular type of lupus can affect the skin, heart and blood of the fetus and newborn child. The symptoms are associated with a rash that will appear during the first few weeks of life. This rash may continue for roughly six months before fading completely. Neonatal lupus is not classified as systemic lupus.

While there is no cure for lupus, depending on the severity of your disease, it is possible to live a full and normal life. There are natural products available to help with pain and provide dietary support to ailing immune systems. Lupazol by Micronutra, is a nutritional matrix designed to supplement what you don’t find in your daily diet, while providing support to your immune system! It is possible for you to feel your best all the time, even when you don’t think it is possible!

Antiphospholipid Antibodies – Cause of Autoimmune Disease?

Antiphospholipid antibodies (or APA) are a type of protein produced by white blood cells. Antibodies serve to protect us from foreign particles, such as bacteria and viruses. Sometimes when the immune system is activated and starts producing these antibodies, it may come to an abnormality, causing it to keep producing them even after the infection has been removed. That way, the antibodies will continue to attack the healthy cells in the body, causing damage and triggering other autoimmune disease.

After we look at some basic facts

Antiphospholipid antibodies – types and tests

Antiphospholipid antibodies cause the narrowing of blood vessels and blood clotting (or thrombosis). Antiphospholipid binds to phospholipid (fat derivates, lipids containing phosphorus, composed of fatty acids and a simple molecule). There are a few kinds of antiphospholipid antibodies, which are measured in order to make a diagnosis:

  • Lupus anticoagulant – antibodies against phospholipids that prevent blood clotting. These are measured directly from the plasma, by Russell viper venom time (RVVT) and the Kaolin cephalin clotting test.
  • Anticardiolipin antibody – antibodies often directed against cardiolipin and found in several diseases; measured by a procedure called ELISA.
  • Anti-beta 2 glycoprotein 1 – predictors of arterial thrombosis. This test is used if the first two tests (for lupus anticoagulants or anticardiolipin antibodies) were negative.
  • Sometimes anti-prothrombin and antimitochondrial antibodies are measured as well.

Antiphospholipid antibodies – treatments
High levels of these antibodies are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS). Usually tests need to be repeated several times before the full diagnosis is given, because sometimes they can show false negative results (especially during the thrombosis). Most people, who test positively on the antiphospholipid antibodies tests, do not require any special treatment.

Antiphospholipid antibodies – who should get treatment?
However, patients who have an IgG anticardiolipin antibody of a moderate to high quantity are considered high risk and should get treatment. IgG anticardiolipin antibody is an important predictor of thrombosis and pregnancy complications. Treatments used, include:

  • Aspirin is most commonly prescribed in low doses to all patients that require treatment and is recommended to be taken during pregnancy.
  • Anticoagulation therapy with Coumadin, for patients with thrombosis.
  • Antimalarials (e.g. hydroxychloroquin), for patients with lupus. They also have antiplatelet effects.
  • Heparin is used before a surgery, biopsy, during pregnancy and six weeks after the childbirth.
  • Corticosteroids are administered from the second trimester during pregnancy, in moderate doses.

Antiphospholipid antibodies can be found even in healthy people; and it is not completely known why these antibodies are produced in most cases. Sometimes they may be triggered by an infection of certain drugs. Presence of antiphospholipid antibodies in the blood does not mean a person is going to develop an illness, provided a healthy life style.

The presence of these proteins is now pinpointed as one of the main potential factors in many autoimmune conditions, but as we mentioned some news in the field are offering hope to people crippled by autiimmunity. I am talking about a holistic protocll known as the Norton protocol.

Learn more by visiting the home page of Norton protocol as well as get a more detailed information about antiphospholipid antibodies.