Dr Wendi's Health

Category Archives: Immune system

Essential fatty acids

Inflammation is the underlying cause of all the chronic conditions we have today and that includes heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases like arthritis, MS, Crohn’s, and celiac, neurological issues like Alzheimer’s, dementia, mood disorders, and anxiety.  Inflammation is also the cause of the aches and pains associated with getting older, slow recovery of muscles from workouts, slow tissue repair, dermatitis, fasciitis, tendonitis, any “itis” is inflammation.  If you have any inflammatory conditions then you will want to continue reading. Fats play a major role in our health and disease processes.  Fat is an essential component of our diet and should contribute anywhere from 10 – 30% of our total daily calorie intake.  But which fats are healthy and which ones contribute to disease? Fats all have different compositions of fatty acids.  I made a chart that shows the breakdown of each type of fat and then sorted them into…

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intestine health

The lining of our small intestine is where we absorb the nutrients we have digested.  It is very important to have a healthy intestinal barrier so that only fully digested nutrients enter our bloodstream. If undigested large molecules leave the intestine and get into the interstitial space and bloodstream then an inflammatory response is triggered.  Having continual intestinal inflammation will increase overall systemic inflammation in the rest of the body and will exacerbate any inflammatory condition.  The key to decreasing chronic inflammatory conditions is to first make sure your intestinal lining is healthy. Chronic conditions that are caused by or exacerbated by inflammation Cardiovascular disease Alzheimer’s and dementia Autoimmune diseases – arthritis, crohn’s, colitis, lupus, Hashimito’s, Grave’s, Celiac, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, etc Diabetes Mood disorders Various skin conditions Allergies Asthma Osteoarthritis Cancers Fibromyalgia Metabolic syndrome Obesity Irritable bowel syndrome As you can see, many diseases and conditions are…

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The COVID-19 pandemic has virtually locked down most of the planet; a first in human history. The effects of the virus and the world’s reaction will be debated for years to come. Some interesting side effects that have been notable so far. Things that are decreasing Influenza – lack of social contact is reducing the spread of other infectious organisms as well – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-flu/remember-the-flu-coronavirus-sent-it-into-hiding-but-at-a-cost-idUSKBN2221PG Number of traffic accidents – less people driving has reduced traffic accidents by 60% in US https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/04/09/covid-19-cuts-car-crashes-but-what-about-crash-rates/ Pollution – cool to know that earth can start recovering so quickly – Lockdowns a re clearing the air – National Geogrpahic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/04/pollution-made-the-pandemic-worse-but-lockdowns-clean-the-sky/ Things that are increasing The RATE of fatal traffic accidents is increased because that is determined by the number of accidents compared with the number of drivers, apparently the lack of traffic jams is making some people drive more recklessly so if accidents do occur they…

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alcohol consumption

Alcohol sale’s have spiked during this Covid crisis.  The increased consumption may be due to boredom while being stuck at home, a way to reduce stress and anxiety, or a false belief that it will help prevent infection. Link to chart below is here. There are some myths going around about alcohol consumption and the Covid virus.  Myth 1: “Consuming alcohol destroys the virus” – Using isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or 60-70% ethanol on your hands can kill some virus particles you have touched but consuming alcohol (ethanol) will not kill virus particles inside your body.  First, because we inhale the virus and we swallow alcohol, and second, alcohol we consume is a much lower percent so it can’t kill viruses in your mouth. Myth 2: “Alcohol stimulates immunity” – Alcohol has the exact opposite effect on immunity in any amount.  The effects are dose-dependent; even one drink will inhibit…

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time is money, money soothes, sleep

Sleep is essential for life.  I think the most important factors for a healthy body are eating (healthy whole food), sleeping and exercise.  Poor sleep quality and duration are associated with decreased immune function, increased stress hormones (that suppress the immune system), mood disorders, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. In a normal night, we go through about 4-6 cycles of sleep and each stage contains varying amounts of light sleep, deep, sleep and REM sleep. Deep sleep is important for regeneration of the body, including the immune system, and REM sleep is important for regeneration of the brain. Stages of sleep Awake – stage 0 Light sleep – stage 1 and 2 We typically spend around 45-55% of the night in light sleep EEG shows non-REM alpha and theta brain waves Blood pressure, body temperature, breathing, and heart rate start to decrease Muscles relax and you may jerk awake…

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Curcumin is the active chemical in the spice turmeric.  It has long been known that curcumin has many beneficial effects on inflammatory conditions, cancer, and infections.  A 2019 article in Frontiers in Microbiology further investigated the antibacterial and antiviral actions of curcumin and found that it was very effective against several viruses including influenza, hepatitis C, HIV, as well as strains of bacteria that can cause secondary infections after viral infections such as staphylococcus, streptococcus, and pseudomonas. This is the chemical structure of curcumin. Turmeric is in the same family of plants as ginger, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.  Curcumin is the principle component of the yellow pigment, which is the major bioactive substance. Several herbs have been shown to have some antiviral effects including: Curcumin Oregano Sage Garlic Ginger Green tea Cinnamon Ginseng Dandelion How does Curcumin work? Some recent studies have found that curcumin is significantly effective in…

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Ibuprofen COVID

All viruses need to bind to a receptor on our cell surface in order to enter and replicate. Here is an example of an influenza virus entering a cell.  Every virus has a specific receptor it binds to in order to enter and infect a cell. What type of receptor does COVID use? COVID-19 infects epithelial cells, the cells that line the respiratory tract and has a surface spike protein, called S protein that binds to a receptor called ACE2 – Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2, the same as SARS.  Other Coronaviruses that cause milder common cold use different receptors. ACE2 receptors are found in high concentration on type 2 alveolar cells….these are cells in the air sacs of the lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged, also in goblet cells that produce mucus, and the ciliated epithelial cells in the upper airways.  ACE2 receptors are also expressed on epithelial…

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As COVID-19 makes its way through the population it is important to consider how we can help our immune system cope with viral infections. In my previous article I described how our immune system generally deals with viral infections.  In this article, I will discuss the specific role of vitamin D in viral infections.   Vitamin D deficiency is recognized as a global public health problem and has linked with a variety of diseases including an increase in severity of viral infections.  There are a few key ways that vitamin D has an impact: Induction of antimicrobial peptides Antimicrobial peptides play an important role in the innate (non-specific) early immune response.  Antimicrobial peptides can directly or indirectly kill microbes and they also stimulate the monocyte/macrophage response.  Macrophages are immune cells that engulf infectious organisms as well as dead cells and they “present” antigens on their surface in order to activate specific…

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virus structure

Organisms and pathogens have been evolving together since the beginning of life on earth.  Humans have always been exposed to infectious organisms and sometimes they kill us and sometimes we adapt and fight them off.  What determines what pathogens kill us, why are some easier to fight off than others? Topics covered:  How viruses infect cells Stages of infection How our immune system responds Innate immune cells Adaptive immune cells Why do we keep getting colds – how viruses change over time Factors that affect the severity of infection How Viruses Infect Cells Viruses require a specific cell receptor to bind to and then infect a cell.  For example: Hepatitis infects liver cells Epstein Barr (mono) infects B cells HIV infects T cells and monocytes (white blood cells) – making people immunocompromised so death can occur from any kind of infection Cold and flu viruses infect the epithelial cells that…

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