Steps You Can Take To Fight Age-Related Immune Dysfunction
There's no denying it: by the time you finish reading this article, you'll have aged. Hopefully, you'll have also grown a bit wiser with regard to how you can promote your own and your family's good health for decades to come. While you may think that the way you age is already determined by your genes and, thus, etched in stone, that's true only to a certain degree. Research in the field of epigenetics (which studies how the expression of your genes can be influenced by factors such as lifestyle, environment, presence of disease, and age) has brought to light the crucial role you play in directing the course of your health over your lifetime.
Investing In Good Health For The Long Haul
When it comes to how your body ages, think of your health as a bank account and your as the owner. If you have been blessed by coming from a family where good health has existed for generations, you're starting out in life with a large - or should I say, "healthy" - amount in your bank account. Depending upon how your immune system was developed from conception onward, the kind of food you ate as a child, your level of exercise during childhood, and how free of pollution the environment in which you grew up was, you made either some deposits into your bank account or a lot of withdrawals.
As you age, it's extremely important that you take steps to minimize those withdrawals and make deposits instead. Your immune system weakens as you age, making you more susceptible to infections, autoimmune illness, and cancer. Some of the withdrawals that come with aging can't be prevented, like the overall decrease in immune function brought about by a reduction in the number of immune cells. You can, however, minimize the damage which can come from a cumulative toxic burden in your cells over time and strengthen the effectiveness with which your remaining immune cells work to defend your health.
Thomas Guilliam describes the changes associated with aging as "a loss of immune 'reserve' on the one hand and a loss of immune discretion on the other." It's this "loss of discretion" that can cause your immune cells to start attacking your own body, resulting in autoimmune illness. Furthermore, an impaired immune system can lead to increased inflammation and an increased risk of cancer. This is where epigenetic research shows that healthy lifestyle changes can both promote and support good immune health over your lifetime.
Steps You Can Take To Reap A Harvest of Good Health
You reap what you sow. And, to an extent, what your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents have sown, genetically speaking. The great news is that by eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and managing stress, you can modify and, in some cases, "switch off" genes that could lead to the development of physical and even mental illness.
Promoting and maintaining good health revolves around four main points, based on Thomas Guilliams' approach to supporting immune function. In our practice, we add additional supportive measures, guided by the latest in diagnostic and genetic testing, to these areas. By adding these steps to your lifestyle, you'll be making sizable deposits into your health bank account that will benefit you well into your 80's and 90's::
Preventative Steps: Eat a whole food diet and avoid processed, refined and sugary foods.
Increase your intake of fiber, water, and fermented foods.
Take a probiotic
Identify & eliminate food allergies followed by healing & sealing a Leaky Gut
Vitamin D Status & Bone/Joint Health:
Eat a balanced diet
Individualized dietary regimen
Vitamin D & other targeted nutritional supplements
Eat a plant-based diet, choosing organic when it comes to vegetables/fruits with high amounts of pesticide residue
Drink plenty of clean water
Limit your exposure to known toxins as much as possible
Infrared sauna (consult your healthcare practitioner before using any type of sauna)
Antioxidant & nutrient supplements to increase supplementation
Participate in a detoxification program
Scheduling downtime & building margin into your life
Targeted nutritional supplements
Stress resource Apps
Before embarking on any new health program, it's wise to consult your healthcare practitioner, so they can guide you in the right direction. There is no "one-size-fits-all" plan when it comes to your health. A tailor-made approach is what you need to achieve and maintain wellness. Contact us to learn how we can help you sow seeds that will enable you to reap a harvest of good health.
If you've been wanting to make these changes, but have had trouble fitting them into your daily routine, our health coach, Sorelle, can make all the difference. Sorelle will work with you to develop a personalized program that will enable you to build healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Your health and your time are precious - with Sorelle's help you can enjoy both!
Please see our other blogs for more detailed information on these topics.
Guilliams, T. Age-associated Changes Impacting Immune Function. www.Lifestylematrix.com. July 2016.
Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. Immune Foundations Patient Handbook.
Pereira, BI, Akbar, AN. Convergence of Innate and Adaptive Immunity During Human Aging. Frontiers in
Immunology. 2016 Nov 4: 7: 445.
Weyand CM, et al. Aging of the Immune System. Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets. Ann A, Thorac Soc. 2016 Dec 13 (Supplement _5):S422-S428.
The contents of this blog are intended for educational purposes only. The information presented here is not a substitute for proper medical attention, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or making any changes to an existing treatment plan, exercise program or dietary regimen, and before using nutritional supplements.
~ Dr. Sarah Williams ~ Concord & Nantucket, Massachusetts ~