Atlantic Coast Chiropractic

Supporting a Healthy Immune System

As the weather turns colder, you may find that your family

will be spending less time outside and more time inside

with the heater running. Your body’s natural immunity

against common illnesses will be put to the test now more

than ever, right down to the common cold or the flu.


What is Immunity?


Immunity is defined as having resistance to infection or a

specific disease; and your immune system is the network

within your body that recognizes and destroys invading or

foreign bacteria, viruses and germs.

The immune system is like no other bodily system, as it

is not just one organ but an interaction between many

organs, structures and substances within the body. Your

immune system has the task of patrolling and protecting

the body. It does this using a number of tools inside your

body: white blood cells, bone marrow, the lymphatic

system, specialized cells and body tissues, and specialized

substances that are present in the blood. All of these

must work together to protect the body against viral or

bacterial infections and disease.


Immunity Status

It’s not difficult to tell when your immune system is being

overly taxed; one of the first symptoms is fatigue. Other

symptoms to look for include chronic infections, frequent

colds and flu, frequent cold sores and sore or swollen

lymph glands.


A poorly functioning immune system can be caused by

many factors. These can include any of the following:

• Emotional state/stress

• Abrupt lifestyle changes

• Dietary habits/nutritional intake

• Surgical/medical treatments

• Prescription medications


When your immune system is not functioning at its best,

any exposure to germs, bacterial or viral infections can

lead to a serious health risk.


 Healthy Changes

There are choices you can make for your family to help

them have strong and healthy immune systems. Then, as

children bring home bugs from school, your whole family

can fight them off successfully.

The first change should be dietary. Food provides energy

for our bodies and there are several vitamins and minerals

that are a fundamental part of a strong immunity,


The most important thing

to remember is that good rest is a prerequisite for a

healthy immune system, so begin to establish a simple

routine Sunday through Thursday that encourages your

child to get their much-needed sleep.

Some suggested routines to fight stimulation close to

bedtime can include:

• No TV, VCR, DVD or computer/video games in

the child’s room

• No homework right before bed

• Avoid TV, computer games within an hour

of bedtime

• Play soothing music or have “Story Time” with

little ones an hour before bed


Other Tips and Recommendations


To help support your immune system and keep it

operating at peak efficiency, consider the following

healthy lifestyle choices for you and your family:

• Increase your water intake – you should be

drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to

boost the immune system and flush out toxins

• Exercise regularly – daily physical activity for 30

minutes a day will improve your overall health and

give your immune system the boost it needs

• De-stress – be sure to include regular relaxation

and down-time into your weekly schedule as stress

will quickly wear down your body’s natural defenses

• Vitamins A, C, E, Beta-Carotene and Selenium

are antioxidants, which are part of our body’s

natural defense mechanism – consumed in fruits

and vegetables

• The mineral Zinc is important because of the role it

plays in increasing your child’s resistance to infection

– found in red meats, eggs and most dairy products

• Magnesium is another important mineral essential

for boosting your child’s immune system – available

in legumes and milk


Additional dietary changes that can help support your

family’s immune systems include:

• Eat three meals and two snacks a day – making sure

that at least four out of the five are rich in protein

and dark green vegetables

• Purge the kitchen, eliminating all junk food and

snacks – or – store them in a medium sized

Rubbermaid container in the garage or master

bedroom out of the reach of children (make it an

effort to get to these items so they won’t be

consumed as easily or as frequently)

• Reduce sugar intake as much as possible – studies

have shown a high intake of processed sugar

adversely affects the immune system as it impairs

the ability of white blood cells to sweep up and

kill bacteria

• Keep fruits, nuts and boxed raisins on the counter;

celery with peanut butter or other “like” items in the

fridge; go to your local health food store to find

some other great tasting alternatives. (ie. European

or whole grain breads, cheeses and fruits)

• Consider taking the time once every six weeks to

write down what your family eats for a week and look

for areas of improvement.

Finally, make sleep a high priority for your entire

family. Long considered a restorative process that is a

fundamental part of a healthy body, recent clinical studies

have found that sleep is also a crucial part of a properly

functioning immune system. In fact, a sleep-deprived

individual’s immune system includes patterns of alteration

similar to those found in depressed and alcoholic patients.


Herbal Remedies

The most popular natural remedy for supporting the

immune system is the herbal supplement. These are

Mother Nature’s cure for a poorly functioning or overtaxed

immune system.

• Astragalus Root is used to treat viral infections

including the common cold, it helps to

stimulate white blood cells and protects from

invading organisms

• Bayberry has antibiotic effects for sore throat,

coughs, colds and the flu

• Garlic is effective against many types of

bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi as well as

has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties

• Aswagandha is a general stimulant of the

immune system – this herb is known to

counteract the effects of stress and promote

general well-being

• Ginseng is popularly known to provide support

to the immune system

• Goldenseal strengthens the immune system,

cleanses and detoxifies the body and has

antibacterial properties

• Echinacea is an herb that helps to stimulate a

variety of immune cells

• Green tea can stimulate the immune system

• Gargling or steaming with Apple Cider Vinegar

and water has proven health benefits


The Chiropractic Factor

Your immune system is a bodily system and as such is

controlled by your central nervous system. When your

spine is out of alignment or subluxated, your nervous

system suffers and this will affect all of your body’s

natural systems, including your immune system.

Your Doctor of Chiropractic is the only healthcare

professional dedicated to the understanding that a

properly functioning central nervous system will improve

you and your family’s overall health. Many patients report

back an improvement in their family’s quality of life after

beginning routine wellness Chiropractic care.

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