• Cancer./ Health/ Immune System/ Immune system - healing/ Thymus Gland

    Immune Function – Thymus Gland

    Immune Function - Thymus Gland

    Immune function relies on a healthy Thymus Gland. The Thymus gland is situated under the breastbone at the top of the chest, just below the Thyroid Gland. It is the major gland of our immune system, responsible for many functions, including the production of T Lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell responsible for cell mediated immunity rather than antibody controlled immunity. Cell mediated immunity is extremely important in forming resistance to infection by mold-like bacteria, yeasts, fungi, parasites and viruses (including Epstein -Barr and Herpes Simplex). It is also critical in protecting us from the development of cancer and allergies.

    The Thymus gland also releases several hormones which regulate many immune functions and low levels of these are associated with depressed immunity and increased susceptibility to infection. Thymic hormones are frequently very low in the elderly, AIDS patients and cancer patients ( especially those who have undergone Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy) and high stress levels deplete them more.

    There are three main areas where you can do things to improve your Thymus function and boost your immunity. Read More

  • Health/ Nutritional Medicine/ Supplements

    How can you avoid infections?

    Bacteria and viruses

    Winter in the Northern Hemisphere always seems to bring with it some nasty bugs and this year has seem some especially nasty viruses, like EV-D68, that have had a big impact on children and those with lower immunity. These Enteroviruses are often found in the respiratory secretions and stools of a person. Colds and Flu, stomach upsets and coughs that upset your sleep can all be quite debilitating.  Arm yourself with a strong immune system and take sensible precautions to remain healthy or to bounce back quicker if you do catch something.

    The normal precautions to avoid infections and stop spreading viruses and bacteria apply

    • avoid contact with sick people
    • wash your hands frequently with cleanser and running water
    • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or you sleeve, if you use your hands then wash them immediately.
    • clean and disinfect surfaces like toilet seats, handles, taps, toys, keyboards and TV remotes with toxin free anti-bacterial wipes or sprays like Faith in Nature from Big Green Smile.



     

    • use a hand sanitiser in between hand washing (but not one with Triclosan as it is a hormone disrupter and can react with chlorine to produce Dioxin)
    • get plenty of sleep
    • stay hydrated
    • get fresh air

    In addition you can put a small amount of Tea Tree cream up your nose, spray your throat with Silver Spray or gargle with Apple Cider vinegar or diluted grapefruit seed extract – these are also great precautions to take when flying. Apple Cider vinegar and honey in a little warm water also good for a sore throat and you can swallow after gargling.

    Foods, Herbs and Spices that can really help your immune system

    Zinc – get plenty in your diet by eating red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

    Vitamin D  – eat plenty of oily fish like sardines, eggs, & fortified milks.

    Vitamin C – in nearly all fresh fruit and vegetables but especially kiwis, tomatoes, mango, lemons and limes, broccoli, cabbage and peppers.

    Immune boosting mushrooms – all mushrooms but especially ones like Shittake and added to Tom Yum soup with the added benefit of good chicken stock, garlic, lime juice and fresh coriander.

    Rosemary -anti-viral, aids sweating and detoxification

    Ginger – soothes aching muscles and reduces fever, detoxifies by stimulating the liver and kidneys.

    Green Tea – immune boosting, reduces inflammation aids a healthier respiratory system

    Curcumin, liquorice root and Omega 3 fish oils – are all anti-inflammatory and liquorice especially good for your lungs.

    Garlic – rich in organic compounds that detoxify the body, stimulate the circulation and helps cleanse the lymphatic system.

    Honey – soothing with anti-inflammatory effect but not to be given to babies under one year due to a small risk of Botulism.

    Supplements for immune system

    • Most important Probiotics. Even babies and children can take special probiotics like Optibacs for babies and children and ProVen Probiotics and Multivitamin for toddlers (12mths -4 yrs.)
    • Vitamin D3 can be taken as capsules for adults and drops for children such as Quest Brightstart Vitamin D3 plus DHA
    • Vitamin C best taken as a high dose fizzy drink (1G per drink) or as a liquid like Sambucol (Black elderberry) for children 1-12 yrs.
    • Zinc – available as pills or as drops (like BioCare zinc plus Vitamin C) for babies from 3 -12 months old.
    • Spirulina- a super-food with Vitamin B12, essential proteins, beta carotene, trace minerals and the essential fatty acid GLA.
    • Astragalus Root is an immune system tonic and can raise white blood cells
    • Echinacea is an immune stimulant, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. both of these herbs should only be taken for short periods (up to 3 weeks) and not by anyone with known Autoimmune disease.

    All these supplements can be purchased from bodykind (USA, Europe and UK) who specialise is quality supplements.

    Click here to visit bodykind

     

    If you buy through these links I receive an affiliate commission but please be assured that I only ever recommend products and services that I personally find to be great.

  • Adrenal Fatigue/ Cancer./ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Immune system - healing/ Integrated Medicine/ Supplements

    The Thymus gland and the Immune System

    The Thymus gland is situated under the breastbone at the top of the chest, just below the Thyroid Gland. It is the major gland of our immune system, responsible for many functions, including the production of T Lymphocytes – a type of white blood cell responsible for cell mediated immunity rather than antibody controlled immunity. Cell mediated immunity is extremely important in forming resistance to infection by mold-like bacteria, yeasts, fungi, parasites and viruses (including Epstein -Barr and Herpes Simplex). It is also critical in protecting us from the development of cancer and allergies.

    The Thymus gland also releases several hormones which regulate many immune functions and low levels of these are associated with depressed immunity and increased susceptibility to infection. Thymic hormones are frequently very low in the elderly, AIDS patients and cancer patients ( especially those who have undergone Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy) and high stress levels deplete them more.

    There are three main areas where you can do things to improve your Thymus function and boost your immunity.

    1. Prevent  Thymus damage and involution (shrinkage). The Thymus is extremely susceptible to free radical and oxidative damage caused by radiation, infection, stress, exposure to high levels of pollution or chemotherapy drugs and chronic illness. Anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, glutathione, zinc and beta-carotene, anti-oxidant herbs like Astragalus and certain mushroom extracts can all help to prevent Thymus damage and enhance cell mediated immunity.
    2. There are many nutrients that are important in the production, secretion and function of thymic hormones. Deficiencies of any one of these nutrients can result in decreased thymic hormone function and impaired immune function. Zinc is particularly effective in restoring depressed immunity and low levels of zinc usually cause a lack of sense of smell and taste. Vitamin B6 and vitamin C are also critical nutrients and because they are water soluble and not stored in the body it is vital to maintain a sufficient daily intake.
    3. Stimulation of Thymus gland activity can be by high quality thymus extracts, either by capsule supplements or by a series of injections depending on condition of the immune system. I have seen someone who had a depressed white blood cell count of 2,500-3000 for 2 years following Radiotherapy and chemotherapy (the normal range is 4,000-10,000) rise to 5,300 after one course of Thymus injections and rising to 9,400 three months later. For more information click Thymus-Therapy The immune enhancing effects of thymus extract have been can be useful in treating the following conditions:
    • Lowered resistance or susceptiblity to infection.
    • Degenerative conditions of the spine and joints, including Rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Autoimmune diseases – RA, ulcerative colitis, Chrohn’s disease etc.
    • Metabolic disturbances such as Diabetes and gout.
    • Diseases of the heart and circulation.
    • Chronic inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract, the liver, the gallbladder, the kidneys or the prostate gland.
    • Thymus peptides can also be used as a supplementary measure in the treatment of cancer (pre- and post- operative treatment and for reduction of side effects during and after Radiation and chemotherapy)
    • Also as a prophylatic measure against precancerous conditions in people who have a hereditary predispoition to cancer.

    Other herbs which positively effect the thymus gland include liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and European mistletoe (Viscum Album). The most well known, often taken to prevent colds, is Echinacea angustiflolia but this should be taken with care by people who have an autoimmune disease.

    If you wish to supplement with Thymus Enzyme Capsules (dirived from calf thymus) then a quality product is very important and there are many on the market. I have used products from a company called Enzymatic Therapy and they have 2 products – Thymulus and Thymuplex.

  • Nutrition and Cancer

    Helping Yourself during Chemotherapy

    Although many people fear chemotherapy more than they fear cancer, it, unfortunately, often seems to be the only option they have. I believe that within the next few years we will have other options within mainstream medicine and that some of these options will be drugs derived from foods and herbs that are already known to have healing and protective properties. At present most Oncology Units around the World are offering the three main treatments of Surgery, Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy and extremely damaging nutritional advice that encourages high calorie intake such as ice cream, cakes and milk shakes. If you have cancer going sugar free will slow the growth of the cancer or stop it completely – Cancer feeds on sugar. The Tide is Changing and some Oncologists are now encouraging their patients to work with these treatments with supportive nutrition and supplements. Education is empowering and nothing is more encouraging than knowing that you can do things that will help the therapies work and give you a better quality of life and a better outcome. A very good website, overseen by Oncologists, is www.oncologychannel.com and I was excited to see that Naturopathic treatments and advice are included with information on drugs and side effects and also advice on which natural substances decrease toxicity and which enhance effectiveness. I will list some of the main self help measures that have been proven to be effective..

    Preparing for Chemotherapy

    • Reduce your anxiety about your treatment by asking your doctor questions about what side effects you are likely to experience and how best to deal with them.
    • Try to relax and focus on yourself and healing. Find someone or some method that suits you and will help you through it. Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Meditation, Massage, swimming, Music….. the list is endless but it is important that it suits you.
    • Get plenty of sleep. There are many supplements that can help relieve insomnia. Herbal ones like Passionflower, Valerian and Kava. Homeopathic treatments like “Calms” and nutritional supplements like Magnesium, Flax seed Oil and 5-HTP that is the precursor to Serotonin. Melatonin(1 -5 mgs) taken early evening is also an extremely strong antioxidant that can help lessen the toxicity of chemotherapy and also help normal sleep patterns especially in older people who produce less. Melatonin is not available over the counter in some countries.
    • Take care of your immune system and your gastrointestinal health. Treat any candida or parasite infection with herbal remedies. One of the best ways to enhance your system is to take a good probiotic and also a green food like Chlorella or Spirulina and this will help you body to produce vitamins B and K in the intestines as well as provide many minerals. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) helps protect the liver from toxins and therefore improve nausea, loss of appetite and fatigue. Glutamine is an amino acid that will help stop inflammation of the mouth and stomach and also significantly reduce nausea associated with chemotherapy. Powdered Glutamine can be added to water and drunk three times a day. A good antioxidant that includes Vitamins A, C and E plus Selenium. CoQ10 as an antioxidant and heart protector. As well as Milk Thistle, herbs like Astragalus, Cat’s Claw and Echinacea can help the body deal with the chemotherapy and recover quicker between treatments. Take Vitamin D3 5,000iu a day especially if you cannot go out in the sunshine.
    • Eat Well. Try to eat a really nutritious diet with plenty of wholefoods, low fat proteins(fish, chicken and beans), fruits and vegetables. Drink a Nutri -Shake (see in previous blog) with added ground flax seeds as these have many beneficial properties for before, during and after chemotherapy.
    • Drink plenty of fresh, pure water.
    • Exercise within your capabilities ever day to increase energy and vitality by improving the oxygenation and detoxing of you body.
    • Take 1000mgs- 3000mgs of L-Carnitine a day. This is sold in many supermarkets as a sports supplement and it can significantly reduce the fatigue that often accompanies chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It is currently undergoing clinical trials in several countries and it is also possible that it may protect the heart from the side effects of certain drugs like Doxorubicin.
    • Drink Green Tea and Aloe Vera. Avoid alcohol during treatment.

    During Treatment

    Continue with all the recommendations above and if you still experience nausea try:

    • Snacking on healthy foods in small quantities 5 or 6 times a day  and some of these snacks can be in the form of the protein powder smoothies.
    • Don’t drink liquids with meals and don’t lie down immediately after eating. If you can, a short walk after a meal would help digestion.
    • Ginger and Peppermint can both help settle the stomach. Cut up a little root ginger and steep it in hot water, then add a slice of lemon and drink it warm or chill it and sip it cold. Carrot and ginger juice is very soothing and full of vitamins. Avoid sugar and pure fruit juices because these can encourage overgrowth of yeasts in the stomach and intestines.
    • If you have sickness and diarrhea make sure that you add some sea salt to your vegetable broths or make a soup with Miso which is naturally salty.

    For more info on helpful alternative and complimentary cancer therapies visit Cancer Resolution Blog and

    www.the truthaboutcancer.com

  • Integrated Medicine

    Do no harm while healing.

    It is so important to do no harm while healing. As stated in my profile, I have always been a bit at odds with the medical profession. In the early years of my training I could see the point of the discipline and order but not of the lack of personal involvement with the patients. The only time we got to talk with them was while giving a bed bath.( What’s that? I hear some of you say.) Now it is frequently a bowl of lukewarm water plonked on their table and the curtains pulled round.

    Patients were usually too intimidated to talk to the doctors during ward rounds unless asked a direct question. When I was training for my General nursing at Charing Cross Hospital, London, being a teaching hospital it would sometimes be difficult to get all the doctors around the bed because there were so many of them.

    I don’t want to be all negative so I will say that one good thing that used to happen was that whenever anyone was prescribed antibiotics they were always given a Vitamin B complex. It was known that antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in the gut and that this can lead to diarrhoea or a sore mouth and that this simple action can prevent those side effects. Why don’t they do this now, when antibiotics are even stronger? Vitamin B and Acidophilus protects the immune system.

    Over the years there have been some memorable, personal occasions where I have lost faith in the safety of prescribing. At one time I was feeling very unwell and my GP prescribed Premarin (an oestrogen taken from horses urine – more on this in another blog!). She said she thought I was in early menopause due to having a hysterectomy several years before. When I went back after 1 month, not feeling much better, she doubled the dose. This started to give me some bad side effects, one of which was extremely lumpy and painful breasts – for which my GP prescribed Tamoxifen (an anti-oestrgen drug). I looked at her in disbelief and then suggested that it would probably be best if I just stopped taking the oestrogen – she didn’t agree but I did it anyway.

    A much more serious error occurred when my mother was prescribed Methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug) by a Consultant Rheumatologist. Folic Acid is essential for many functions within the body and it is well known that it has to be given to people who are on Methotrexate to prevent serious side effects but the Consultant omitted it from the prescription. This was not noticed by her GP or pharmacist for over a year and it certainly contributed to her death from heart failure.

    OK, we can’t always know if we have been prescribed incorrectly but we know if we are feeling worse rather than better and if this is the case we should clearly tell the doctor. If we suffer side effects we should ask if there is an alternative and not accept even more drugs to disguise the side effects.

    Always remember that the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors states that “they should do no harm” and this should apply to all medical and health professionals.

    Confession: For three years I persuaded my mother to take Echinacea for a couple of weeks whenever she was flying over to visit. Every time she developed a severe cough and felt unwell and we thought that she easily picked up viruses on the plane. Then on one occasion it did not resolve and she was admitted to hospital in the UK with breathing difficulties. They diagnosed Pulmonary Fibrosis and a young, Chinese Junior doctor, who had taken her history pointed out that anyone with Auto-immune disease, like Rheumatoid Arthritis, should not take immune stimulants like Echinacea because it makes their condition worse. I didn’t know this and neither did any of the other doctors but I have since researched it thoroughly and found it to be true. Sorry Mum.

    http://www.nutrasanus.com/echinacea.html

    http://www.medherb.com/92ECHAUT.HTM