The immune system. We all know we have one, but most of us don't understand what it actually does for us, and the only way we know to support it is through medical interventions like medication.
However, the immune system is much more complex than what a single pill can fix.
Even though it is very complex, just understanding the basics of how your immune system protects you will provide a ton of information that you can use to support your own body.
Like I mentioned in this episode, using your immune system as your front line of defense is the most important thing you can do, but it does not guarantee that you won't get sick. But hopefully it will allow you to fight off pathogens easier when you do come face to face with one.
What To Expect From This Episode
- [1:15] There is no guarantee that your immune system will be able to fight off every single pathogen
- [2:00] We are surrounded by pathogens, and our immune system is protecting us from those pathogens all the time
- [4:15] The human body has 2 primary immune systems, which are called the Innate Immune System and the Adaptive Immune System
- [4:45] The Innate Immune System is the first line of defense for your body
- [6:30] Antacids and PPI's can reduce your Innate Immune System's first line of defenses to protect you from pathogens
- [7:30] Intestinal Permeability or leaky gut can be an entryway for pathogens to enter your system
- [8:00] Mast cells are looking for "suspicious" intruders in your body so it can release histamine and trap it
- [9:15] Phagocytes are spread throughout the body and are ready to act quickly to stop pathogens
- [11:30] Dendritic cells take antigens to the Adaptive Immune System so that it can recognize what exactly to attack
- [12:00] The Adaptive Immune System's role is to label pathogens and are the heavy attackers in the immune system army
- [12:30] B Lymphocytes attach antibodies to the antigens of a pathogen so that it is labeled as something to attack in the future
- [13:15] The Innate Immune System reacts quickly and takes care of most invaders, while the Adaptive Immune System can take days to react but are needed for huge attacks
- [14:30] Our bodies are complicated and the medical research is constantly evolving, and how our immune system reacts to each pathogen can be different
- [15:00] Every cell in the body requires nutrients to function, yet we don't hear about the nutrients to support your immune system
- [17:00] Nutrients can be wasted to fight off poor food choices in your body instead of fighting off pathogens
- [18:00] Some nutrients supportive for the immune system are Vitamins C, D, E, some B Vitamins, and minerals Selenium, Copper, Iron, and Zinc
- [22:00] What my current immune supporting regimen looks like
Transcript For Episode (Transcripts aren't even close to 100% Accurate)
Bryan Carroll: [00:00:00] Welcome to the summit for wellness podcast
where we help you climb to the peak of your health. And now here is your host, Bryan Carroll.
I'm sure right now you've been paying attention to all of the current virus outbreak information, and you have probably been hearing a lot about different medications and medical and interventions that.
They have been working through to see what is effective for this specific virus. However, what you probably have not heard anything about is what your own immune system can do. Right now we are being told to wash our hands and to remain six feet away from people, but that doesn't tell us any other information about the immune system and how the immune system works.
What's up everyone. I'm Bryan Carroll and I'm here to help you move more, eat well, and be adventurous. In this episode, I want to provide education in as easy of a way as possible so that you can understand how your own immune system works and how your body is designed to fight off pathogens. Now, I'll be honest, there is no guarantee that your immune system will fly it off everything.
Well. And especially as we age, our immune system becomes weaker and weaker, which makes it difficult to fight off pathogens in general, let alone new pathogens that are completely new to our world. This podcast is not just about the current virus outbreak. This is how the immune system works all the time.
It's just more personal now because we're going through a time where we're so hyper-focused about different viruses in our environment. However. We are dealing with pathogens all day long and all the time. There's never a time when we are not dealing with pathogens unless you're in the most sterile environment that you could ever be in, which is most likely never going to happen.
But what we are currently going through right now is really giving us a great insight into the complexity of the human body, because. What we're seeing is people are reacting differently to this virus. We're seeing a lot of different symptoms. We're seeing people that don't have any symptoms at all, and yet they still test positive.
We're seeing how medical research occurs and the steps that go into it. And what happens if you fast track things too quickly and you get the testing wrong, or you get the information wrong and you have to make changes on the fly. Like there's so much that goes into this type of stuff that people don't even understand.
This is not a one week operation and we'll know all the information we need to know in one week. This is an ongoing thing. That is going to take years before we fully understand what's going on here. If we ever fully understand, there's always unknowns and that's the beauty of sciences. It's never finalized, but I think right now what we are learning is this entire system and medical research is super complex and there has to be some level of grace and acknowledgement that even the best epidemiologists, we'll get things wrong.
There is no perfect scientist and there is no perfect research or a study available for any of this. Even for what we currently know about the immune system, there's nothing perfect about what we know about it. So the whole point of this episode is just to share with you at a basic level how the immune system is protecting you.
Some ways that you can support your own immune system with a healthy nutrients. And hopefully that gives you a better chance at fighting any pathogen that you come across. Okay, so let's, let's dive into all this. What you probably don't know is the human body has two primary types of immunity, which is an innate immune system, and the adaptive immune system.
And that there's actually a third system if you want to include passive immunity, which is something that is borrowed for a short period of time, such as through breast milk to a newborn. but we're going to be focusing more on the two primary ones. So the innate immune system, it is a very nonspecific immune system.
It's also your first line of defense. And its primary role is to stop anything, whether it's good or bad from getting into your system. It's kind of like a troll that standing at the beginning of a bridge and not letting anyone pass is doing the best that can to keep everything out of your personal ecosystem within your body.
And the system starts with our skin, which does a pretty good job of blocking out most foreign invaders, but not everything. the skin is also the largest organ within your body, so it's taking up a very large percentage of real estate for your body. But your next area of defense is your mucus membranes, which we have all throughout the body and not just in, in the nose.
And it's like a sludgy oil that is picking up as much debris as possible and trying to slow it down and remove it from your body. This is why when you have a cold and you get all this mucus up in your nose and you're constantly blowing it out, that's your body's way of capturing pathogens and trying to remove it from the system.
And we also have some chemical barriers such as the fluids in our eyes and also the stomach acid. So when you've heard previous podcast where we're talking about how the digestive system works, and we talk a lot about when there is this function, let's say you're not producing enough stomach acid or you don't have a very good environment in there.
Well, the stomach acid is, is washing over the food that you eat and anything else that's coming into the digestive tract and it's killing off. Most of those pathogens, if it's doing it's job correctly, but if you're using something like antacids or, PPIs or anything that would reduce your stomach acid production, then you're removing one of your innate immune system, blockades that are in your system for a reason to try and keep pathogens out.
So that's just a, a side note for you to think about. Now as we go further into the system and down deeper into the digestive tract, we have our gut flora or what you hear as a microbiome, even though there's more to it than just bacteria, because there's also fungus and other stuff as well, but we'll call it the gut flora.
And this works hard to keep the pathogens from entering into areas where it isn't supposed to be. And this is also where over 70% of your immune system lives. And going back again to previous podcast where we're talking about digestive health. If you have digestive issues and you have intestinal permeability.
That can be an entryway for pathogens to enter into your system. So this is where it becomes very important to keep your GI tract as functional as possible and really work to keep everything closed up and keep it as a closed system so that only the proper, nutrients and chemicals move it through the GI tract and into your system.
And then the next way that the innate immune system kicks in to try to keep pathogens out is through inflammation, which is done by mass cells. These mast cells are scanning throughout the body trying to find something suspicious, and once it does find something, it releases histamine, which causes blood flow to flow into the area and also white blood cells.
And this is where the war starts to begin. This does not mean that whatever it finds is actually bad, but your body will work to get rid of it anyways. So if you have ever had, seasonal allergies or if you have had allergies to pollen or dust. Then this is what you're experiencing because as pollen or dust sends enters into your system, and then the mast cells find these suspicious intruders in your system, then it starts to call in the cavalry to take care of business, and that's where you start sneezing and the immune system really fires up to get rid of it.
And then finally in the innate immune system, we have the, the leukocytes, which are basically the tough guys have the innate system and they have an all access pass to the entire body except for the brain and the spinal cord. So there are a bunch of different Luco sites available on the body, but one of the types called phaco sites are what belonged to them innate immune system.
And they can patrol the body or a wait for a signal to act. And I'll go through a couple of different ones and what they do within the body. So neutrophils are the most abundant and they are patrolling the body and can enter a breached area very quickly. So if there's anything that's wrong, the neutrophils, because they are going through the entire body, they get there very quick and they can do what they need to do.
So they go in and they start to eat infectious cells and then they die, which is what leads to the formulation of pus. So their main role is to get after the infection as quick as possible. Next you have the, the macrophages, which are the hungry protectors who go around and eat up to 100 infected cells before they die.
And typically they are stored in different areas around the body, and they're waiting for the signal to respond. So when the signal goes off, then they can respond to the area and start eating away. They're also able to, did detect different cells. I have gone rogue such as cancer cells and try to kill those off as well.
And next, there are the natural killer cells, which also detect rogue cells or infected cells and destroy them. And then the last cells are the dendritic cells, which are found in places that come in contact with the outside world, such as the nose and the lungs. And this is what links that innate immune system to the adaptive immune system because they will eat a pathogen and then carry the information about that pathogen to our adaptive immune system.
Now, as we start to learn more about the adaptive immune system, antigens are found on the outside of the pathogens, which are how the adaptive immune system is able to label them as an invader. So going back to the dendritic cells, typically they're carrying antigens to the adaptive immune system to tell them, Hey, this is the label of them Bader.
Now go do your work. In the adaptive immune system is able to recognize specific pathogens such as viruses. So once it sees something and it's labeled it, if it ever sees it again, it's already had it already has it labeled and can go to town on it because it knows what it is. And there are a couple different cells that make up the adaptive immune system.
and these are the T cells and the B cells. So the T lymphocytes show up when an infection has already occurred. So it's similar to when we are sick in bed. Then after a couple of days start to feel better that pathogens had already proliferated before the T cells showed up to the fight. And then they came.
And that's when you start to feel better. So some T cells take signals from the dendritic cells or macrophages to either call in the Calvary or to take notes and store a memory of these pathogens for future reference. While other T cells provide mercy killing themselves who are too far infected, now the B lymphocytes or the B cells show up when a pathogen has entered, but has not caused disease yet.
They attach antibodies to the antigens of a pathogen, which are basically tags for the macrophages to come and kill the pathogen. And they also keep a memory of any pathogen they face in both the T and the B cells come together to keep records of all the pathogens they come in contact with. So the body is able to fight them off better in the future.
So when it comes to these two types of immune systems, the innate immune system acts very quickly to foreign invaders and takes care of most of the issues without having to call in backup. But when things get out of hand, then they bring in the adaptive immune system to help out which that can take days for them to actually rectify the issue.
So this is how they are working together in your body. And do you need both of the systems to be working really well for you to be able to adequately fight off pathogens? Now, when you get a new pathogen such as what we are currently facing, and we don't have tags or anything labeled on this pathogen yet, then both of these immune systems have to kick in and work through the process to be able to label it and, score the information for future references if it ever faces it again.
And this is what we're trying to figure out with, the current research, right? We're trying to figure out if you can develop antibodies, which in theory you should be able to, And then we're trying to figure out how long those antibodies last for in the system, because he idea is once you get it, then you might be able to get a mutated version in the future, but it won't be as bad for you because your body will be able to tell that it's slightly different, but still be able to go after it.
And this is where the immune system in the body gets really complicated because there's a lot of different factors. And that's what the medical research is trying to figure out. And they're trying to be able to get that information out to us, but if they get it out to us too soon, we hear about the wrong information and then that gets spread.
Then we don't necessarily discover or hear about the right information until we do things wrong for a while. So what can we do to improve our immune system within our body? Now, every single cell in the body. Requires nutrients to function and this includes your immune cells. That's what's really annoying to me is there is nothing being talked about when it comes to the nutrients needed for your immune system to function and everything that's being talked about is medical intervention.
Which there's a time and place for both, right? If you have to go to a hospital because of an infection or a pathogen that your body is fighting, you want to be able to have the medical resources to be able to combat it, so that you can get through and survive. However, you also want the nutrients to provide the, the best for your immune system in your body.
To be able to reduce the overall symptomology of the pathogen in the first place. But it's really hard to give blanket statements, but what to do to provide those nutrients for the immune system, because every single person is different, and the, the amount of nutrients that every single person needs, well also be different.
So what I will do is shared just some information that we do know about the immune system and nutrients that support it. And then you'll have to do what works well for your system, right? Or you can work with someone that can help to define this a little bit more. But if we're going back to what we know about the immune system, and if you have a foreign invader that it doesn't like, it will attack it and cause inflammation.
So if you are eating foods that you are sensitive to, you are using nutrients to them, flame around those foods. Therefore taking away resources to fight off any actual pathogens you want to keep out of your system. So that's just some food for thought, right? If you really want to support your immune system, then it's a good idea to take a look at what it is that you are eating.
And is it the best option for you to provide the nutrients that you need for your body and to reduce any other potential causes for inflammation? If you are truly worried about keeping your immune system as healthy as possible to fight off different pathogens. Now, none of us are perfect, right? And like I said at the beginning of this, this, there is no guarantee that you eat the best foods.
You reduce all the inflammation in your body. You get all the nutrients that you need to support the immune system that you will be able to fight off every single pathogen. There is no guarantee for that, but we do have the power to do the best that we can to support our system as much as we can to put up a good fight.
So when it comes to some of the main nutrients that are needed to support the immune system, these nutrients typically are vitamin C, D, E, and B vitamins, and then minerals like iron, zinc, selenium, and copper. And I want to advise going and getting as much of these nutrients as you possibly can because if you get too much, you can push other vitamins and minerals out of balance in the body.
If we're looking at some of the research on pub med, and this is taken directly from one of the research articles, adequate intake of vitamins B six fully B12, C E N of selenium, zinc, copper, and iron supports a T H one cytokine mediated immune response with sufficient production of proinflammatory cytokines.
Which maintains an effective immune response and avoids a shift to an anti inflammatory T H to cell mediated immune response and an increased risk of extracellular infections supplementation with these micronutrients. We're versus a th two cell mediated immune response to a proinflammatory T H one cytokine regulated response with enhanced and the immunity.
Vitamins, a and D play important roles in both the cell mediated and humoral antibody response and support. mediated anti-inflammatory, cytokine profile, vitamin a deficiency in Paris, both innate immunity, which is a mucosal epithelial regeneration and adaptive immune response to infection resulting in an impaired ability to counteract extra cellular pathogens.
Vitamin D deficiency is correlated with a higher susceptibility to infections due to impaired, localized, innate immunity and affects an antigen specific cellular immune response. Overall, inadequate intake and status of these vitamins and minerals may lead to suppressed immunity, which predisposes to infections and aggravates malnutrition.
So there's a lot to take in there, but. What it's showing is all these nutrients are very supportive to the immune system. Now, what does, what it doesn't say is how much is adequate and does mention inadequate intake of these vitamins may lead to suppress immunity, but it's not necessarily saying what is adequate, adequate, and how much you would need.
and again, this goes back to bio individuality, where each person is going to be a little bit different. But then the ultimate question then becomes, how much of these nutrients do we need to keep our immune system strong, to fight off pathogens? And unfortunately, my response is that we don't know because every single person has different dietary needs, and depending on how their system works, may need more or less of these nutrients than someone else.
And during this current crisis, we've had some physicians that have recommended 150,000. I use a vitamin D when infected and high doses of vitamin C, through an IV. According to them. It has been effective, but that is anecdotal evidence at this point. And by even saying anything like that could get this podcast removed from specific channels and it could get them shut down as well.
But other physicians have said that increasing vitamin D and other nutrients can cause a cytokine storm, which makes the immune system work too hard, which is counterproductive to what is needed to fight the virus. And this is where the complication comes into play. And there are, there are still lots of unknowns, but what I will share is what I currently have been doing during periods where my immune system needs to be more engaged.
And this has worked really well for me, and you could probably take some of it and use it on yourself as well. So I increased my vitamin D two, five to 10,000. I use a day. I also increase my zinc to 40 to 80 milligrams a day. And get about 500 milligrams of liposomal vitamin C. And I also, yeah, some lyposomal methylated B vitamins as well.
And I do know if I take zinc too long, then I'm going to be pushing copper out. So, I typically try to balance that out by not taking it for an extended period of time. I'll do about two weeks of it and then I'll take a break from it. During times like this, I also increased my veggie intake and I make sure I get a scoop of a greens powder every single day.
Typically, greens powders have a lot of different nutrients in them, so it's a. It's like a nature's multivitamin, and that's a little bit better for you. So you're getting a lot of different, and nutrients into your system and your body will figure out what it needs. And then I also add in other support, depending on what my body needs, especially for like detoxification pathways and whatnot.
And then usually before winter sets in, I do a gut repair program to work on my gut lining and also to support my microbiome. So for me in general, since typically during the winter months, is when people's immune systems are less efficient. Right? Before it was a great time to start working on getting more of these nutrients into your system, just to better prepare yourself to get through those type of months.
And I know there's a lot of information in this episode. I hope that I made the immune system a little bit easier to understand. This hopefully just shows you that there is multiple steps in the immune system within your body that's protecting you. And so that means there's different ways that we can support ourselves to make sure that we are.
Staying as safe and as healthy as possible. Now, I would love to hear from you, what have you found to be the most effective too, support your own immune system, and what are steps that you've been taking to, enhance your immune system? You can reach out to me at any time on either my website or through any of my social media channels.
I would love to hear from you. I always respond back to people, so feel free to reach out if you got benefit from this and you think other people, would I get some information out of this and it could benefit them. Please share this episode. I know there's not enough people right now talking about the immune system and what you can do for it.
And so I think it's important that we start talking about what it is that you can do or your immune system. Also, if you liked this episode, then go into your podcast player of choice and leave a rating and review. It would be really helpful for the show. it just helps to get it in front of more people.
Next week, I have doctor Jenny and I are coming onto the show and she is going to talk about what movement can do to help with. A decline in mental health and especially for Alzheimer's and what that does for us. And she walks us through different stages of movement throughout life, whether your child and you're moving to an adult, young adult, to an older adult, and how starting at different stages and staying moving impacts your brain.
So let's go learn a little bit more about Jenny. I am here with dr Jennifer . Etnier. Hey, Jenny, what is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?
Jenny Etnier: [00:25:23] I think the biggest thing people don't know is that I'm a huge advocate of unplugging. We have a summer home in Canada that has no running water and no electricity.
And when I'm there, I'm the happiest that I ever am. life simple. And it really gives me great joy and peace to be completely and totally unplugged from the internet, television, everything.
Bryan Carroll: [00:25:44] That's what I love about backpacking and hiking. You just disappear into the woods. No one can reach you. It's fine.
I love it.
Jenny Etnier: [00:25:50] That's perfect. Yeah, it's perfect. It's best. It's the best place ever.
Bryan Carroll: [00:25:54] What will we be learning about in our interview together?
Jenny Etnier: [00:25:57] Oh, today we're going to talk about physical activity and cognition. How exercise it can help you to think better
Bryan Carroll: [00:26:04] in a, what are your favorite foods or nutrients that you think everyone should get more of in their diet?
Jenny Etnier: [00:26:09] Yeah. For cognition, it's definitely antioxidants eat your berries and Omega three fatty acids, so eat a lot of fish products.
Bryan Carroll: [00:26:18] Yeah. The favorite Berry that you like
Jenny Etnier: [00:26:20] blueberries for me. Yeah, they're great on everything.
Bryan Carroll: [00:26:26] Yeah. And then what are your top three health tips for anyone who wants to improve their overall wellness?
Jenny Etnier: [00:26:31] Exercise regularly. You knew that one was coming, right? find something that brings you joy every day and make sure that you do a little bit of that. And don't forget to be in the moment with your family and your friends.
Bryan Carroll: [00:26:43] Jenny and I got into a lot of really great questions in that episode, so you'll definitely want to make sure that you listen to that episode.
And in just a couple of days on June 1st we are opening our enrollment for nutrition coaching for the second half of the year. Since we were just talking about nutrition with the immune system, this could be a really great time to start learning more about what nutrients you need more of in your own body and start to develop a plan that'll work for you.
So if you are ready to dive into that, then head on over to summitforwellness.com/nutrition to learn more. And until next week, keep climbing to the peak of your health.