The Immune System and how it can be enhanced. A view perspective of Western and Chinese Medicine.
Updated: Mar 26
According to Western Medicine, the immune system is made of organs that control the production of chemicals and the production and maturation of certain defence cells. The generative organs are the thymus and the bone marrow. The secondary are the lymph nodes, spleen, Peyer's Patches (cells in the intestine) and the skin.
According to Chinese Medicine a balanced Qi is what protects the body against illnesses. Qi can be divided into: Pre Natal or Essence Qi - it is fixed at the moment of conception and nurtured in the womb.It is stored in the Kidneys. Pos Natal Qi, that is further divided into: Nutritive Qi - exists in the interior of the body and its functions is related to the Stomach, Spleen and Intestines, it comes from the food. Defensive Qi - exists in the exterior and protects the body. Its functions it is related to the lungs (note that the tissue associated with the lungs is the skin). It comes from the air. In addition, Qi can also be influenced by body fluids and blood, meaning that other organs can play a role in the immune system.
In Western Medicine, studies have shown that our life style (food, exercise, and mindset/emotions) are also influences in our immunity. Diseases are associated with reduced happiness and having a well being, joyful and a purpose in life are able to modulate our immune response. Resilience is also a factor for the immunity. Being resilient means adaptation to adverse conditions and a rapid recovery. Resilience leads to a less deleterious influences of chemical stressors as cortisol. Resilience equals to Will power to Chinese Medicine. Associated with the kidneys as well. Like the Essence Qi, resilience is a different -sized container to each person, which comes from our genetics. However, it also is influenced by our environment, meaning that a good self care (eating/ resting/ emotions) helps keep our containers filled. The Essence Qi nourishment comes from sun bath, acupuncture, by avoiding depleting much of it ( living in moderation, resting, specially when unwell) and improving the quality of our Nutritive Qi (eating nutritious food) and Defensive Qi (exercising, breath techniques and clear air). The question now is which supplement to take in order to boost the immune system? Personally I think that a way to boost the immune system at an optimal level starts with a constancy in eating a colourful and a variety of "proper" food. Having said that, I also want to clarify that supplements are for supplementing and should not be the only source taking of nutrients or of a certain nutrient. For instance, if one does not eat healthy foods, supplementing with a multivitamin can be a loss of money due to the fact that the absorption can already be impaired by the lack of certain foods and nutrients. In addition, to say that Vitamin C and E and Zinc or that 10 specific foods only, would not be the answer either. As we have seen our immunity is much more complex and can be affected by much more than that. Certainly the answer for that is not one fit for all. Concluding, cells are made constantly in our bodies and our immunity is build up daily. By all means that eating a variety of nourishing food, resting, exercising and working with our emotions have an impact on it.
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