immune system, nutritional support, Echinacea, goldenseal, cat’s claw, pau d’arco, Essiac, Hoxley formula, shitake mushroom extracts, IP-6, beta glucan, Noni, Aloe Vera, electromagnetic,

The Immune System: Homeland Security

The Immune System: Homeland Security

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of

We live in a hostile and dangerous world. Anyone could fall victim to a missile, bomb, random gunshot, or other violent attack anytime and anywhere. In an attempt to prevent and effectively respond to terrorist threats within our borders the Department of Homeland Security was established in 2002. The DHS, employing over 180,000 individuals, oversees a vast network of organizations and institutions devoted to the task of identifying and addressing threats to our peace and safety.

The Department of Homeland Security’s goals include awareness, prevention, protection, response, and recovery. Awareness of potential threats. Prevention of planned attacks. Protection from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other emergencies. Leading the response to attacks that do occur. Facilitating recovery from those attacks.

The complexity and expansiveness of the DHS pales, however, when compared to those that oversee the security and defense of the human body. The body’s immune system is comprised of organs, tissues, cells, and chemicals that work in concert to maintain and restore health. Like the DHS, the immune system’s functions include awareness of potential threats to health, prevention of disease, protection from attacks, responding to threats to our well being, and leading the recovery effort when attacks do occur.

In performing its functions the immune system relies upon and interacts extensively with other body systems. For example, the integumentary system, which is made up of the skin and mucus membranes, provides the first line of defense against potential invaders. The liver plays a major role in defending against the effects of toxic substances, and the urinary system is also responsible for ridding the body of toxic substances.

The immune system is comprised of organs, tissues, cells and chemical mediators. The organs of the immune system include the bone marrow, thymus gland, spleen, and lymph nodes. The primary tissues are the tonsils, adenoids, appendix, & Peyer’s patches. Granulocytes, lymphocytes, natural killers, macrophages, and dendritic cells perform the cellular functions of the immune system. Mediating substances include antibodies, complement, cytokines, and interleukins.

The bone marrow is a key organ because all immune system cells originate there. Some, such as the granulocytes, B lymphocytes, and natural killer cells mature within the bone marrow and are then released to perform their respective functions. Others, called prothymocytes migrate from the bone marrow to the thymus and mature there.

The thymus plays a key role in overseeing the maturation of T lymphocytes. Those that are determined to be advantageous to the body are released into the blood stream while any that may be detrimental and cause an autoimmune response are destroyed.

The spleen may be viewed as a major conference center of immune function. It is filled with B cells, T cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, natural killer cells and red blood cells. As blood filters through the spleen foreign materials, called antigens, are captured. Macrophages and dendritic cells also bring antigens for review by the appropriate B and T cells. It is here that B cells become activated to produce antibodies to counter invading antigens.

Lymph nodes, which are located throughout the body, filter lymphatic fluid, which is the name given to fluid that has leaked out of tissues and is being carried back to the bloodstream. Lymph nodes, like the spleen, are centers where antigens are presented to the appropriate cells to generate antibody production and initiate an immune response.

Throughout much of the twentieth century lymphatic tissues such as the tonsils, adenoids, and appendix were considered of no importance and removed at any opportunity. It is now known that these tissues are the immune system’s early warning system. Located as they are at the entrance to the respiratory tract and within the gastrointestinal tract, these tissues are able to detect antigens as they are first entering the body and initiate defense planning before the foreign substances have actually begun an invasion.

The cells of the immune system are highly specialized. Granulocytes are the Kamakaze cells of the body. They search out and engulf invading bacteria and parasites. Having done so they release powerful chemical and enzymes that destroy the invader and, in so doing, the cell itself.

Macrophages roam the body, ingesting foreign material and carrying it to the spleen or lymph nodes where it is presented to lymphocytes. Dendrytic cells perform a similar function, but are generally more stationary, lying within the spleen or lymph nodes.

Lymphyocytes are comprised of B cells and T cells. B cells produce antibodies in response to foreign proteins of bacteria, viruses, and tumor cells. When antibodies attach to these proteins they signal other cells to attack and destroy that cell or substance.

There are two types of T cells. Helper cells produce substances that activate other immune cells and help them function more effectively. T killer cells attack and kill tumor cells and viral infected cells. T killer cells must be activated to do their job, and so are concentrated in the spleen and lymph nodes. They can move out into the body, however, and are also found in the liver, lung, blood, and intestinal and reproductive tracts.

The actions of natural killer cells are very similar to those of T killer cells. NK cells directly kill tumor and viral infected cells, but unlike T killer cells that must first be activated at one of the lymphatic conference centers, NK cells are “free agents” roaming the body in search of the enemy. Activation by helper cells can improve their efficiency, but it is not a necessary prerequisite to take action.

All of the elements of the immune system work in concert. The immune system responds to attacks in the following fashion. When a foreign substance (an antigen) enters the body it is captured by a macrophage or dendritic cell. These cells present the antigen to B and T cells. In response B cells begin to produce antibodies, which bind to this specific antigen whenever and wherever it is found in the body. In doing so, the antibody marks targets to be engulfed and destroyed by granulocytes.

T helper cells begin to produce chemicals such as cytokines lymphokines and interleukins that alert natural killer cells to the invader’s presence. T killer cells are activated and begin their own search and destroy mission.

The entire immune response is overseen by a central intelligence. The exact mechanisms through which the immune system is regulated are unclear, but evidence is emerging that the pineal gland, which is located at the base of the brain, plays a key role. The pineal gland produces a hormone, melatonin. The production of melatonin is stimulated by the onset of darkness and subtle increases in the strength of the earth’s electromagnetic field and as night approaches.

Melatonin receptors are present in lymphatic tissues and cells of the immune system. Through these receptors the pineal gland influences the development and operation of the immune system. Activated immune cells send messages back to the pineal gland, providing feedback on immune system activity. The pineal gland and the immune system are therefore linked by an active two-way communication system.

This suggests that the immune system is designed to become most active at night, when other body systems are designed to be at rest. Evidence that supports this concept is accumulating. The ongoing Harvard Nurse’s Health Study has found that breast and colon cancer incidence is higher in women who work as few as three night shifts a month for extended periods of time.

Some careers, such as nursing, demand that individuals work at night. Patients cannot simply be abandoned for up to eight hours every day. Melatonin supplements are available, however, and I believe a strong argument can be made that individuals working at night should take a melatonin supplement prior to going to sleep during the day. Similarly, since melatonin production decreases as people age, it is reasonable to suggest that those over the age of sixty take supplemental melatonin at bedtime.

The nervous system also plays a major role in activating and coordinating the functions of the immune system. How it does so is only beginning to be understood. One mechanism involves the generation of magnetic fields.

If a laceration occurs a south magnetic field is generated at that location. This triggers a nerve impulse that notifies the central nervous system of the injury. In response the brain sends a return impulse that converts the magnetic field from south to north. The north magnetic field attracts healing elements to the site.

If communication is faulty, as in the case of diabetic neuropathy, a south magnetic field will persist and healing will not take place. I have seen bone-deep infected foot ulcers that were unaffected by antibiotic treatment heal beautifully when the foot was placed within an external north magnetic field.

An efficiently operating immune system is critical to our health. A depressed immune response will leave us vulnerable to viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections and will also allow cancer cells to grow unchecked. Supporting the immune system, therefore, is of prime importance. A number of supports are available.

Given what is known about electromagnetic influences on the immune system I believe it is imperative that every man, woman, and child use an appliance to order and enhance surrounding electromagnetic fields. I have written about the importance of doing so in the past and those articles on Geobiology and Biophysics are available on this website. Since I last wrote on this subjects it has been learned that using a cellular telephone for twenty-five minutes daily results in a drop in melatonin production. This lends support to my contention that it is unwise to use a cellular telephone without providing electromagnetic protection.

It is equally important to provide the broad spectrum of vitamin and mineral nutrients the body needs to manufacture the cells and substances of the immune system. Vitamins such as A, B-6, B-12, Folate, and C are of particular importance, but others should not be neglected. Zinc and magnesium are minerals that have been clearly shown to enhance immune system activity, but other minerals should be provided as well.

When we are stressed, as we are when fighting an infection, our body’s demand for basic nutrients increases. Supplementation of the more critical nutrients should be increased in those situations. For example, vitamin A or beta-carotene is needed in large amounts to support the body’s war on viruses. 25,000 to 50,000 IU twice daily should be started at the onset of symptoms, such as fever, aching, or chilling, and continued for 10 to 14 days.

Vitamin C intake should also be increased. While 1000 mg. daily is adequate under normal circumstances, 4,000 to 6,000 mg. may be needed when the body is under attack. 500 to 1000 mg. should be taken every 4 hours until symptoms subside. The intake of vitamin C should be reduced if stools become loose. Additional zinc and magnesium can also be of benefit.

Enzymes are substances that work in harmony with the immune system in its fight against disease. Chemicals such as amylase, lipase, and protease are produced in large quantities by the pancreas. I was taught that these were manufactured solely for the purpose of digestion of food in the stomach and small intestine. It has been learned, however, that these enzymes operate throughout the body breaking down debris and removing protein or mucus coats that are providing camouflage for cancer cells. Enzyme deficiencies, therefore, cause not only indigestion, but interfere with the effectiveness of natural killer cells and other elements of the immune system.

It has been learned that granulocytes manufacture the same enzymes produced by the pancreas and use them to digest the starches, fats, and proteins of invading organisms. Enzyme supplements can be very helpful. When taken with meals they aid in the digestive process, freeing up enzymes to perform repair and support immune system activity. Taken on an empty stomach, properly formulated enzyme supplements are absorbed and go to work where they are needed within the body.

A number of plant substances are known to support immune system function. Some are immune system stimulants, while others are immune system modulators that enhance areas of the immune system that require boosting and calm down elements of the immune system that are overactive.

Some of the more commonly used immune system stimulants are Echinacea, goldenseal, cat’s claw, pau d’arco, Essiac, Hoxley formula, shitake mushroom extracts, IP-6, beta glucan, Noni, and Aloe Vera.

Echinacea and goldenseal, which are commonly sold in combination, are herbals with a long history of use as immune stimulants. They are best used at the onset of colds or other viral illnesses. If they are taken continuously the body will build up a tolerance to them and they will lose their effectiveness. When they are being used to boost a depressed immune system it is best to take them intermittently, either using them 5 days per week or 3 weeks per month.

Cat’s claw (una de gato) and Taheebo (pau d’arco) are derived from a South American vine and tree respectively. I have found them to be more potent than Echinacea and goldenseal and less likely to become ineffective over time. Taheebo has intrinsic anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral activity, which adds to its effectiveness.

Essiac and Hoxley formulas are herbal combinations that have been used for quite some time by cancer patients. They have substantial anecdotal support, but I believe that some of the more recently discovered immune stimulants are more effective.

IP-6, which is extracted from brown rice, has been demonstrated to be a highly effective activator of natural killer cells. Beta glucan, when properly extracted from wheat, is a potent macrophage activator. Used in combination they provide a powerful one-two punch to the immune system.

Colostrum is the fluid produced during the first 24 to 36 hours following the birth of any mammalian infant. Bovine colostrum has been shown to be an excellent immune system modulator. While it provides some degree of passive immunity through a wide array of antibodies, it also contains substances known as lactoferrins, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides that bind to microorganisms and block their ability to enter the tissues of the body. In addition, colostrum contains growth factors that promote rapid repair of injured tissues. Perhaps the most significant substance found within colostrum is a protein called PRP-3b. PRP-3b has the capability of calming an overactive immune system as in the case of allergies or autoimmune challenges. The presence of PRP-3b makes colostrum one of the most effective immune system modulators known.

While a large number of people in our society have come to view recurring or persistent infections a normal aspect of life, they are the result of weakened immunity. The marked rise in the incidence of cancer over the past fifty years also reflects a general decline in immune system function. Much remains to be learned about how our immune system operates, we can do much to support and enhance its effectiveness by applying the information we do possess. The time to enhance your body’s homeland security is now.

Receive the latest Wellness Updates and News. Subscribe now at