The immune system defends the body against infections. It is made up of white blood cells, antibodies, and other chemicals that help us fight infections. There are two main parts of the immune system. The ‘specific’ part that consists of lymphocytes (T cells and B cells) that produce antibodies that target specific viruses and bacteria for destruction. This part of our immune system builds immunity after we have been exposed to a particular virus. It continues to develop as we get older and are exposed to different microorganisms. Many different strains of viruses cause colds and flus, and that is why we don’t develop life-long immunity and can be vulnerable to getting these infections again each year. The ‘non-specific’ part of our immune system is our body’s first-line defense. It is made up of immune cells that are readily available in our blood and cells to immediately kill bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. This is the part of our immune system that we are innately born with and is ready for action from the beginning. The specific and non-specific parts of the immune system work closely together to protect and rid the body of infections.
Our goal as naturopathic doctors is to support your body’s innate defense mechanisms by encouraging immune function instead of suppressing your symptoms with over the counter medications.
The most important aspect of health is prevention. Our primary focus at Living Wellness Medical Center is to prevent illness and disease. We support the body’s immunity by focusing on lifestyle factors such as dietary modifications, stress management, sleep, and exercise.
Naturopathic medicine also has many tools to help boost the immune system and treat infections with natural means rather than taking medications that can have harmful side effects.
Acute vs. Chronic Infections:
Acute infections: symptoms typically come on suddenly and resolve within a week or a month. The symptoms can be mild or severe, and treatments focus on boosting the immune system and killing the bacteria or virus, causing the symptoms. Patients usually make a full recovery without any long-term issues.
Chronic infections: symptoms can come on suddenly but more typically develop slowly over time. Symptoms last longer than a month and even for years in some cases. Treatments focus on boosting the immune system and, if possible, killing the virus, bacteria, parasite, or fungi that are causing symptoms. EBV (Epstein-Barr virus is an example of a virus that can become more chronic. Acutely EBV causes Mononucleosis (Mono), which typically causes fever, sore throat, swollen glands, and fatigue. These symptoms will usually resolve within a week or two, but in some cases, they don’t. Some people can also have a reactivation of the EBV virus years after their initial exposure, which can cause symptoms like fatigue.
At Living Wellness Medical Center, we are skilled in treating both acute and chronic infections. Treatments are always individualized according to our patient’s needs.
- Vitamins & Minerals
- Herbs – there are numerous herbs used to upregulate and downregulate the immune system. Your Living Wellness physician will customize your immune protocol using herbs based on your specific situation.
- Probiotics – The immune system is largely mediated by the gut microbiome. Beneficial bacteria in the gut help to support the immune system by reducing harmful bacteria in the gut. We encourage our patients to increase their probiotic dosage if they are prescribed antibiotics. Talk to your doctor about which strains and how much of them your probiotic supplement should contain.
- Mushrooms – Cordyceps, Shitake, Maitake, Coriolus, and Reishi are rich in beta-glucan, a phytochemical known for its immune-supporting properties.
- High dose Vitamin C (IV) – A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is a staple for immune support. Higher doses of vitamin C can cause loose stool. If you experience looser stools with vitamin C, decrease your dose by 1 gram or until loose stools subside. We also offer high dose Vitamin C IV’s for immune and anti-viral support.
Nutritional IV Therapy
When nutrients are delivered intravenously, the digestion is bypassed, and 100% absorption of those nutrients is achieved. Many illnesses and conditions are associated with digestive problems, food sensitivities, and intestinal inflammation. IVs bypass the digestive system, which sometimes blocks the absorption of nutrients. The intravenous method targets nutrients directly to where they are needed: the cells. Introducing nutrients in this way immediately opens the circulation to all parts of your body so all the cells can be flooded with life-giving nutrients and antioxidants in a way you can’t get with oral supplements or even exercise. Read more about IV Therapy and its benefits here: IV Therapy and Injection Treatments.
B Vitamin Injections
B vitamin injections are effective treatment tools to enhance energy, metabolism, focus, and immunity. Vitamins administered intramuscularly, bypass liver metabolism. Bypassing the liver allows the vitamins to be absorbed by the blood and have an instant, active effect. Similar to nutrient IVs, vitamin injections don’t contain binders, fillers, or additives commonly used in vitamin supplements. With IVs and injections, you get pure, therapeutic dosages of the good stuff!
Engystol Immune Shot
Engystol is an all-natural homeopathic remedy given as an injection once a month as a preventative for flu season. It has scientifically proven anti-viral activity and is effective in treating and preventing viruses such as influenza, herpes simplex 1, rhinovirus, and RSV (Human respiratory syncytial virus). Learn more about Engystol here: Get Your Homeopathic Flu Shot.
- Relieves cold and flu symptoms including runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, and mild fever
- Reduces the duration of viral infections
- Scientifically and clinically proven effective
- No known side effects, contraindications or interactions
- Boosts your white cell blood count by as much as 41%
The oxidative property of ozone makes it a powerful therapeutic agent in the body. Ozone promotes increased production of one of our antioxidants, glutathione. We call glutathione the “master antioxidant” of the body. Glutathione is not only our strongest antioxidant, but it also serves to recycle and restore other antioxidants in our bodies, like vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and alpha-lipoic acid. We administer ozone either through an IV or an intramuscular injection. Read more about ozone and its many health benefits here: Subcutaneous Ozone Injections.