"I guess you don't realize how healthy you are until it is taken away from you".
The movie theaters are full of superheroes with the amazing powers but what about you? What is your power? Some may answer it is the fact that they are a mother, a corporate executive, a business owner, or a teacher. While important, these things are merely what you do.
If you are healthy, then you have a superpower just like the fabled characters from the movies. Your superpower is your immune system. The ability to fight off infections like the flu virus or destroy the germs after scraping your knee — are mere parts in a vast network that is always on duty to protect you.
But what exactly is the immune system? Can it be strengthened or weakened?
Immune System: Explained
If you were to research the immune system, you would quickly become overwhelmed. There’s a litany of armies like white cells, helper T-cells, killer T-cells, B-cells, neutrophils, lymphatic drainage systems, and inflammation markers to assist the body (Web MD has a quick guidethat dives a bit deeper into the topic).
The immune system is best explained as a sentry guard with a large army to fight off invaders. Once the invader has been found, the signal is released and the body sends thousands of cells to surround, destroy and then remove the leftover debris. These invaders can be many different things such as:
Most importantly, according to Medical News Today, a healthy immune system can tell the difference from its own tissue and what isn’t. This is how the body returns to normal once the infection has cleared and it does not keep attacking itself.
The Weakening of the Immune System
As noted from the list of invaders, there are many things that can attack your body. Scientists and doctors may not know what specifically is attacking, but you can see the symptoms of these when they appear as an illness such as a cold, influenza, pneumonia, appendicitis, and even food or seasonal allergies.
Other things that can weaken your immune system is the effects of the medicines that physicians prescribe. Antibiotics, antiviral medicines, and even chemotherapy can decrease your body’s ability to fight off infections. It can seem like catch:22 — no matter what you do, you’re putting your body at risk for something else. And yes, this is true. There are always potential risks and benefits for everything that you take.
One forgotten thing that harms your immune system more than most people realize is stress. The American Psychological Association stated that “people who are older or already sick are more prone to stress-related immune changes.” Additionally, it found that it was not the severity of illnesses that worsened a person’s immune system, but how long people were sick. The longer that people were dealing with prolonged stress, the weaker their immune system became.
How Bird’s Nest Can Improve Your Immune System
Each fall and winter, one common illness strikes fear in most people’s hearts. Influenza, or also known as the flu, is a serious infection. Although thousands of people acquire this illness annually, it can be very serious for those who do not have a strong immune system.
There are many strains of the flu, but for clarification purposes, they are grouped into four categories (Influenza A, B, C, and D) per the Centers for Disease Control. Most humans are only susceptible to two types: Influenza A and Influenza B. To help explain the difference, Dr. Harrison Tong says “Strains of Influenza B are exclusively contracted by humans, while A can be carried (and spread) by animals”
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology also found that the usage of EBN was able to slow (and sometimes stop) the growth of the flu virus as well as Oseltamivir Phosphate. Oseltamivir, also known as Tamiflu, is a common drug that many physicians use to fight against the flu virus.
Although the research is relatively new, it helps to explain why for centuries many Asian people would use EBN to help with respiratory illnesses.
One major concern when helping those who have cancer is the side effects of chemotherapy. While the medications are very helpful, they often cause additional problems such as nausea and vomiting. This is because, unlike the immune system, the chemotherapy can not differentiate between the body’s good cells and bad ones. It will destroy them both.
The chemotherapy-based cell death in the digestive tract produces, not only the symptoms but also inflammation. A scientific study published in 2016 found two uniquely positive benefits from EBN:
Reduce the intestinal immune injury induced by chemotherapy
Promote the proliferation and activation of B-cells
These benefits are extremely helpful and could assist the body in fighting off potential infections that can slow down the healing process after chemotherapy.
A word of caution: the fight against cancer is often very complicated. What helps one person, may hurt another one. Therefore, it is always important to speak with your physician prior to adding any new supplements.
Natural Ways to Make Your Immune System Stronger
Although EBN has been around for centuries, scientists are just learning about the positive benefits of this supplement. Here are some things that you can do yourself to start improving your immune health:
Eat organic fruits and vegetables
Exercise regularly each week
Drink alcohol in low moderation
Get extra sleep at night
Wash your hands often
- Decrease stress in your life
You may not feel like a superhero, but you do have an amazing superpower from your immune system. Although Edible Bird’s Nest has been shown to help deal with the effects of the flu virus and chemotherapy, it is important that you take care of your body to keep it as healthy as possible.
What remedies have you tried to help deal with the effects of Influenza? Have you found something that has worked for you? Let us know in the comments, and share this with a friend.