Your Immune System and the Key to Longevity – Part 1
In times past, it is said man had a much longer lifespan than the 80 – 90 years we now consider to be the norm. Yet, in certain parts of the world, there are still people who reach the age of one hundred and older. Do they have the key to longevity? And if they do, what is it exactly? What do they know, or what do they do, that the average man on the street is clueless about? The key to their longevity may simply be a much more heightened immune system!
Parasites, the Secret Infiltrators
The world has long had and dealt with parasites. Some of these are so small that they exist at the cellular level. They are everywhere. They are even on the skin, in the blood, and the organs of every single living animal on the planet, humans included.
As a countermeasure, we, as well as all living animals, have developed a way of dealing with them. This is by means of our immune system. Interestingly, our immune system itself evolved from parasites in a bid to remove harmful intruders so that those that were more beneficial could survive, i.e. those that could live in harmony with each other and living tissue. In essence, our immune system thus preys on parasites it deems harmful.
Now, upon learning that we are infested with parasites, the first instinctive reaction would be to get rid of them. This would be a short-term solution, and also a disastrous one. The problem is there are three distinctly different types of parasites, but the ones we need are key in ensuring longevity, as will be explained.
Types of Parasites
The first type of parasites live in symbiosis with their carrier. They provide their host with certain benefits, while they, in turn, get certain benefits from their host. Neither they nor the host harm the other in any way. One such type of parasite is the ‘good’ bacteria found in our gut, for instance. They provide a beneficial service as far as digestion is concerned, while we provide them with the nutrients they need.
The second type we have what is known as commensalism. Here these organisms are in the host body. They get the benefit of being supplied with what they need in order to sustain themselves but do not harm the host in any way. That is, until such time as the host body gets into trouble e.g. becomes ill. They may actually then contribute towards the illness and are no longer as innocent as they might have seemed.
Lastly, there are the true parasites that are benefited by the association with the host, at a cost to the host. These organisms may actually do you great harm and sometimes result in conditions leading to death.
When commonly talking about parasites in people we usually tend to think of tapeworms, for example. However, the parasites we will continually be referring to might be microbial in size, as previously mentioned. Tapeworms, as a matter of interest, have their own set of parasites.
Immunity, the Parasite Killer
Our immune system is our greatest key to longevity. In fact, our immune system saves our lives without us even being aware of it. Our immune system and immune cells play a role in just about every bodily function, for example:
- In the brain, where immune cells live in the outer membranes in order to protect it
- They play a role in brain activity and central nervous function
- They play a role in blood circulation by spreading nutrients and ridding the body of toxins
- They play an important role in gut activity and health
- Immune cells are present in all our connective tissue
- They are found in all of our glands and play a role in hormone production
- They are found in the entire lymph system
- They are found in the heart where they help look after our cardiovascular health
These immune cells were designed by natural evolution, with the main function of sustaining life in a parasitic environment. This parasitic environment encompasses the entire biosphere on which we live. In other words, they were designed in order to ensure our survival on earth.
If the immune system is so strong, however, and if it is the key to longevity, why do some people live relatively short lives, while others live much longer?
The Key to Longevity – Building Up Your Immune System
If you want to understand why some people on earth live much longer lives than others, you need to study them. What are their habits? Where do they live? What do they eat?
One such group of people live in the Himalaya Mountains, which is one of the harshest terrains in the world. In many cases, the old adage of ‘survival of the fittest’ applies. Yet even within the Himalayas, there are certain groups in certain areas who live to a much more advanced age than others. This too needs looking into.
The Environment as a Key Factor to Longevity
The Himalayas have a very harsh, cold climate. Studies indicate, that colder temperatures encourage better circulation. It also improves the skin barrier, i.e. the outer layer of skin, resulting in less infection or microbes from entering the body.
Additionally, people in this type of harsh, cold climate show an increase in their immune cells, meaning their bodies are better able to fight off the onslaught of ‘bad’ organisms. Colder temperatures is another key to longevity that results in an increased production of sex hormones, which results in improved fertility, and in a sense, improves mood.
Research with regards to colder temperatures has also produced a number of surprising results. When doing experiments on cold water exposure, they found that the body, under extremely cold conditions, has sustained elevated levels of stress-fighting hormones, creates more active cancer-fighting cells, and releases more endorphins (feel good hormones).
Besides temperature, earth radiation is also a factor. The areas where those with a high incidence of longevity reside also have soil with an extremely high crystalline mineral content. These crystals give off intense earth radiation, also known as a geomagnetic field.
What has been found is that those people living in the areas of the Himalayan mountains with the most intense earth radiation, tend to have longer life expectancies than their counterparts living in areas with less.
Modern science has created machines that simulate this effect. The treatment offered by these machines is known as pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy and the results have been telling. Some of the results obtained by use of PEMF generating machines include:
- Immune cell activity is enhanced
- Inflammatory cytokinesis is decreased
- Effects on the body similar to that derived from cortisone
- Stimulation of immune cells to fight parasites
- Labs rats exposed to radiation showed restored immunity and regeneration
Pulsed magnetic therapy has also shown other benefits, including
- Cells (that work as capacitors) become charged with electrical energy
- Cell membrane capacity is restored
- Cells are able to utilize oxygen more efficiently
- The production of mitochondrial energy is increased. The mitochondria are the powerhouse in cells.
- The body’s pH balance is normalized
- It is cancer fighting (according to research on animals, cancer cells, when getting more energy, revert back to normal cells)
- It cleanses your blood vessels
- It activates the immune system
- It plays a role in enhancing brain function
- It prevents the blood from clotting
Although not everyone is suited to living in those parts of the Himalayas where temperatures are much colder and where there is more earth radiation, similar effects can be experienced by taking a cold shower on a regular basis and by means of pulsed magnetic therapy. Be cautious when using PEMF if you are sensitive or have a heart conditions, the electrical pulses, while mild, can stimulate your body and lead to adverse effects.
Meditation as a Key to Longevity
Meditation can be seen as a process of contemplation, thinking, pondering, considering, reflecting and praying. In essence, the mind is transformed, and the way in which you see things changes. In doing so, you develop clarity, a feeling of calmness, and of being in the present. The result is a deep peace and a more positive outlook on things in general and life in particular.
Meditation has a host of physical and mental health benefits:
- The body excretes larger concentrations of inflammatory chemicals
- It increases the activity of your immune cells
- More antibodies are produced to fight infection
- It reduces the number of pro-inflammatory CD4 immune cells
Pro-inflammatory CD4 cells play an important role in protecting the intestinal lining against foreign invaders. When compromised, pathogens can enter the bloodstream via the intestinal lining, resulting in leaky gut, also known as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
Meditation may also:
- Help you reduce your stress
- Have a beneficial effect on heart issues
- Reduce chronic pain
- Improve sleep
- Reduce blood pressure
- Bring relief to those suffering from depression
- Help with anxiety
Exercise as a Key to Longevity
One of the keys to longevity is exercise. Not any exercise will do, however. Research has found that those who have a severely strenuous exercise regime have a similar life expectancy as those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Seemingly, this indicates the key to a long life is moderation. It seems that those who practice moderate forms of exercise, such as, for example, yoga, brisk walking, tai chi, or any other form of aerobic activity that allows you to break out in a slight sweat and lets your heart increase its pace slightly is of more benefit than strenuous running or exercise with a similar effect on the body.
The benefits of regular moderate exercise include:
It may be beneficial for your muscle and bone health
Research indicates that regular physical activity builds muscles and prevents the loss of bone density related to age. It also keeps your joints healthy and improves mobility in those with arthritis.
It may improve your mood
Regular, moderate exercise, besides being healthy for your body, also has the added advantage of releasing ‘feel good’ hormones in the brain, thereby helping maintain your mental health.
It may help with weight issues
Physical activity burns calories and may help in the losing and maintaining of weight.
It may reduce your chances of contracting cardiovascular disease
Research indicates a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease in those who take part in frequent, moderate exercise. It may also deal with high blood pressure issues.
It may reduce your chances of contracting metabolic syndrome and diabetes
Research shows that when those with metabolic syndrome increase their exercise activity, they lower the risk of metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, and too much fat around the waist). Regular exercise also plays a role in controlling blood sugar levels.
It may reduce your risk of contracting cancer
Research indicates that people who regularly partake in exercise tend to stand a lower risk of contracting certain types of cancers, such as colon, breast, and lung cancer.
There are also indications that cancer survivors have a better quality of life when they become more active.
Your Diet as a Key to Longevity
Studies indicate that vegetarians with a diet rich in organic vegetables have double the cancer cell destroying ability than non-vegetarians. The question is, why?
The vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables are very easy to digest while they are full of antioxidants. Organic fruit and vegetables, while being free of the toxins those of us ingest by eating ‘regular’ produce, are also stacked with healing phytonutrients, microbe killing phyto-antibiotics, and immune activating phytochemicals. In short, they are a key to longevity that is conducive to good overall health.
The benefits associated with an organic vegetarian diet are many, including lowering your risk of the contracting or developing:
- cardiac disease
- different cancers
- high blood pressure
Read Part 2
Part 3 Coming Soon! Available on July 17th, 2018.
© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
Is proper adrenal function a key to longevity?
Yes, it is, in a sense. Proper adrenal function is to a large extent responsible for dysbiosis in the body, resulting in an imbalance between good and bad bacteria. Healthy adrenal glands, however, encourages homeostasis, implying a balance between these necessary microbes and a healthy immune system.