This article will identify the immune system’s defense troops and their roles, look at possible reasons for its decline, and give you simple ways to support it. Though you may not fully understand the description of the immune system (no scientist fully understands this complex system), don’t let this stop you from practicing the twelve simple recommendations at the end of this article: they have been used effectively for most of the 35 years of the Institute’s existence. Guests claim miracles happen when they use them!

Our Immune System Defenders

Let’s start by identifying the different defenders in the ranks of the immune system.

1.   Phagocytes. Feeding cells, of two kinds: neutrophils and macrophages. Both are scavengers that consume inanimate trash, dead cells and other rubbish, and large numbers of invading microbes. (Macrophages are bigger, tougher, and stronger than the neutrophils. Beyond garbage disposal units, they manufacture different enzymes and antimicrobial agents, and function as communication links between other immune system cells and even the brain.)

2.   MHC (major histocompatibility complex). Special molecules on the surfaces of our cells that serve asidentification cards. When this complex is not present on a cell, the immune system assumes it is and alien. (On macrophages, the MHC displays a bit of the antigen of any ingested invaders. An antigen is the invader’s I.D. card.)

3.   Helper T-Cells. These are chiefs of operations of the immune system, identifying enemies and stimulating the production of other warriors of the immune system, rallying them to join battle with the invaders. They call reinforcements in the ranks of macrophages, other T-cells and B-cells, and stimulate the production of plasma cells.

4.   Lymphokines. Hormone-like proteins (including interleukins and gamma interferon) through which immune cells communicate with one another.

5.   Killer T-Cells. These cells destroy cells which are harboring viruses and microbes. They fire lethal proteins into these cells, punching holes in their membranes and causing the cells to rupture. They also eliminate cells that have turned cancerous.

6.   B-Cells. Under the stimulus of helper T-cells, B-cells increase in numbers, and some divide and mature into plasma cells.

7.   Plasma Cells. These cells produce antibodies by the millions, which, like guided missiles, then circulate throughout the body.

8.   Antibodies. When antibodies come across antigens they recognize and can latch onto, they grab them, slow them down, and cause them to clump together to become tempting morsels for the phagocytes to gobble up. Or they do the job themselves with some help from complement proteins.

9.   Complement Proteins. Once the antibodies have locked onto the surface of the microorganisms, proteins called complement flock onto it and inject liquid into it, causing it to burst and die.

10. Suppressor T-Cells. When the infection is contained and the immune system has won, the suppressor T-cells go into action and use chemical signals to halt the entire range of immune responses.

11. Memory Cells. Produced by the T-cells and B-cells, these memory cells circulate in the bloodstream and lymphatic system for years (even a lifetime). If another invasion of the body is mounted by the same kind of organism and overwhelming attack is mounted by these memory cells. The body is now immune to that particular microorganism.

To go into how all of these interact to keep us healthy would take pages of intricate dialogues. Rather than do this, lets look at what we do to cause this powerful system to break down after years of sloe decline and how we can support this valuable system.

What Can Go Wrong

Over the last decade, the immune system has received unprecedented notoriety as the key element in the human body’s attaining or maintaining health. Below are some of the reasons for the decline and demise of this vital health system.

A.   Lifestyle. Hippocrates has for over 35 years been telling the world about the importance of diet, exercise, and thought in the maintenance of health. Imbalance and stress in any of these areas leaves the immune system less able to do its job.

B.   Environment. Today, man contributes more pollution on this planet in one day than it did any decade prior to the birth of the Industrial Revolution (circa 1865). As a result, where we live plays as important a role as lifestyle in staying healthy. Place yourself in polluted conditions, and your body becomes overwhelmed with the challenges. Air, water and electromagnetic fields (electricity) are key factor here.

C.   Chemicals. The introduction of thousands of alien chemicals into our bodies through food, drinking and bathing water, and medicines and man-made, non-whole food supplements has added exponentially to the work load put on the immune system. This leads to premature exhaustion. To get the picture, imagine being asked to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for weeks on end.

D.   Poor Agricultural Methods. The potential for our diets to be immune system builders is directly linked to the quality of the soil in which the food is grown. Soils depleted of organic (trace) minerals and high in man-made fertilizer and pesticides result in food that do not contain the raw materials for our defense system to restock and rebuild itself. This results in the malfunctioning, with an eventual breakdown, of the immune system. Chronic fatigue, cancer, candidasis, and AIDS are a few of the disorders hinting at the condition.

E.   Mutating Alien Invaders. In response to an ever-changing world, viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites are constantly mutating to survive. As a result, what once would have been identified and immediately killed by the body’s immune system now remains free to roam and find a hiding place in the body, where it waits patiently for opportune conditions under which to multiply.

Supporting Our Troops

Hippocrates has been teaching people what to do to keep their immune systems vibrant for over 30 years before the medical profession recognized the vital role that the immune system plays in our health. Below are one dozen simple guidelines that we have found will enhance everyone’s immune system.

1.   Get outdoors and in the sun (direct and/or indirect) for 20 to 30 minutes daily. Best times are before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. Allow the full spectrum sunlight to enter the eyes by not wearing sun glasses during this time. The sun is the most powerful immune system builder.

2.   Consume adequate oxygen. Put yourself in or near oxygen-rich environments (oceans, forests, running streams, greenhouses, etc.) and learn to breathe deeply. Eat plenty of raw, oxygen-rich green foods. Use safe oxygen products like Genesis 1000 in your drinking water. If you live indoors for most of the day, purchase an oxygen-producing air purifier (Alpine Air Products make fine units) for your home and office.

3.   Drink pure water. Distilled or reverse osmosis are the best water purification processes. Consume the amount, in ounces, equal to one-half your weight, in pounds. Add safe oxygen-enhancing products like Genesis 1000 to your drinking water.

4.   Eat 100% vegetarian and 75% (or higher) raw. Sprouts and green vegetables are the most balanced and nourishing.

5.   Drink freshly-made sprout/vegetable green drinks twice a day. Brian Clement, the Institute’s director, insists that “to be on the Hippocrates program, you must be drinking these twice a day.”

6.   Start using the common blue-green (Super Blue-Green and spirulina) and green (chlorella) algae on a daily basis. They are high quality concentrated foods.

7.   Stop using foods and condiments that contain immune-suppressing ingredients: salt, refined sugars and flours, dairy products, vinegars, heated oils, and all food preservatives and colorings.

8.   Avoid microwave and fried foods. Research is now indicating that these two forms of cooking cause a number of cancers and heart/circulatory diseases.

9.   Decline alcohol and drugs (even the prescribed ones, unless absolutely essential).

10. Exercise moderately for 20-30 minutes at least three times a week. This should include stretching, aerobic, and resistance exercises.

11. Get adequate rest. As part of this, rest the entire body by consuming only freshly-made juices and water for one day every week. This allows your immune system to do a weekly clean-up and get a well-deserved break from its usual chores.

12. Keep a smile on your face. A positive attitude has been proven to turn one’s health around. Read Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins for a wonderful example.

By including these simple recommendations into your daily life, you will find your immune system responding to the attention you’ll be paying it by performing its job better and keeping you healthier.