Since I’ve returned from my hospital visit, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the immune system, and trying to find out why mine turned on me so violently. I thought I was doing a pretty good job up until my episode, but I’ve discovered a few things that I (and possibly you) can do to improve immunity safely.

An article in Bottom Line Health, written by Dr. Robert Roundtree, a faculty member at The Institute for Functional Medicine, tells how to stop hurting your immune system and ways to help it.

#1) Dr. Roundtreee advises against using germ-killing soaps, shaving gels, shampoos, cosmetics, deodorants, and other personal care items which contain triclosan, a key ingredient in many of those products. Triclosan fuels the growth of antibiotic-resistant bugs in the public at large. With frequent use, triclosan can affect you personally by setting up your body to develop a secondary “superinfection” that can occur as a complication of a cold, flu, or viral pneumonia. Dr. Roundtree recommends vigorous hand-washing with plain old soap, but here’s the rub-count to 20. If you want added protection, products with at least 60% alcohol such as Purell or Germ-X are good.

#2) Cut back on sugar! Sugar, white flour products, and high-fructose corn syrup impair the effectiveness of our immune cells. The cartelized sugar found on cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, or sticky rolls contain certain molecular structures resemble bacteria, and our immune system receptors bind to them, interfering with their ability to respond to true infections. If you need sweets, try raw honey, which has immune-building properties. I never was a big sweets eater, but ever since I’ve been on oral steroids, I’ve had a sweets craving. The raw honey helps a lot. Also, remember alcohol, whether beer, wine, or spirits, is loaded with sugar. I’ve cut way back on beer. Another way to get sweets is to load up on organic fruits. Berries, citrus, and red grapes are especially rich in antioxidants that support immune function.

To power up immunity, I’ve been drinking kefir, a demented milk-it reminds me of drinking yogurt. I also eat sauerkraut and kimchi, and pickled veggies.

I also take a supplement, N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Our bodies easily convert NAC to a usable form of glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants there is. I take 500 mg/day.

If you do notice flush or cold symptoms, taking elderberry syrup within the first 48 hours has been shown to significantly lessen duration and severity. I use Sambucocl Black Elderberry Immune System Support. Follow the label instructions.

I’m doing all I can to keep my immune system happy and functioning like it should. I don’t want to go back to the dark place I was just a few weeks ago.

Stay well, John R Blilie, MS