FIGHTING AGE RELATED IMMUNE DECLINE: Implementing strategies to keep you protected.

Immune decline

It has long been accepted that as people age, their immune systems decline. Your thymus gland, the small organ behind your breast bone, plays an important role in the immune and endocrine system. According to medical science the thymus gland starts to atrophy during puberty, and also sometimes due to extreme stress. In spite of the atrophy, it generally continues to play an immune roll in a healthy individual; still training T lymphocytes to fight infection and cancer for your lifetime. As you age you have fewer immune cells, and the ones you do have, don’t communicate with each other as well as they did when you were younger. That means they take longer to react to harmful germs, viruses and to heal from injury. Research reports that this deficiency also impacts whether or not a vaccine will be effective; “B lymphocyte deficiencies have been found which contribute to lower vaccine response in the elderly as well as in some younger individuals”.

Watching the daily news reports highlight the vulnerability of seniors and the immune compromised to viruses, in particular to the current ‘pandemic’. Despite being a healthy senior, I like many older people, feel vulnerable. If I contracted the virus and suffered respiratory complications; my life, as I had it planned out, might take an unscheduled turn. I will continue to heed research based information on protecting and maintaining a healthy immune system as I continue to age, as well as, follow government recommendations for health protection.

Our Canadian government and healthcare system are doing an excellent job at protecting the senior and immune compromised population with the recent measures implemented; and with everyone’s cooperation, these measures should be enough to keep everyone safe. Please follow the World Health Organization recommendations for coronavirus protection at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019, your important first step to immune protection.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FIGHT AGE RELATED IMMUNE DECLINE?

Modifications and supports:

According to research, you can reverse thymic atrophy, rejuvenating immune system responses. A Springer Link research article titled Reversing the immune ageing clock: lifestyle modifications and pharmacological interventions, indicates that  you can fight your ‘forcasted’ immune decline. Below are a few summarized points from the research. Visit the link to read the research – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10522-018-9771-7

• high levels of physical activity in adulthood have a beneficial effect on thymic output
• optimal nutrition is an important determinant of healthy ageing and plays a significant role in maintaining healthy immune function
• zinc found in shellfish, meat, nuts, seeds, beans, nutritional yeast and wheat germ is a trace element required for multiple immune cell tasks
• reservatol found in red grapes, peanuts and berries, has immune modulating (enhancing) effects
• a wide range of pharmacological agents with anti-immunesenescence (anti-immune decline) properties have been identified

“Growing evidence” reported in the Frontiers of Immunology, Nutritional Immunology article “It is increasingly recognized that nutrient intake, above what is currently recommended, may beneficially affect immune function, modulate chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, and decrease infection risk. This includes both macronutrients (lipids such as n-3 PUFA) and micronutrients (zinc, vitamin D and vitamin E), in addition to phytochemicals and functional foods (probiotics and green tea). Many of these nutritive and non-nutritive food components are related in their functions to maintain or improve immune function including inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators, promotion of anti-inflammatory functions, modulation of cell-mediated immunity, alteration of APC function, and communication between the innate and adaptive immune systems.”

Nutrition/Diet:

The immune system has many protective and signalling functions which require an adequate availability of micronutrients to maintain a healthy immune response.  Diet deficiencies of many of these necessary micronutrients are often found in the elderly and immune compromised. The Nutri-Facts article titled Micronutrients and the immune system states “The nutrients collaborate and complement each other in the diverse processes of the immune system”. Homemade soups with a large variety of quality ingredients are an excellent way to get a diverse array of immune supporting micronutrients.

According to the Frontiers in Immunology article Immunosenescence (immune decline) and Its Hallmarks: How to Oppose Aging Strategically, “The close connection between nutrition, intake of bioactive nutrients and supplements, immune function, and inflammation demonstrate the key role of dietary strategies as regulators of immune response and inflammatory status, hence as possible modulators of the rate of immunosenescence. The link between aging and disease is in part a reflection of the functional changes in the immune system of older people”. You can read more at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.02247/full

The Blue Zones research article, Boost Your Energy and Immunity with These 13 Super “Blue” Foods,  reports that you can improve your immunity by making changes in your diet. A diet focused on beans, greens, sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, oats, barley, fruits, green or herb teas, turmeric, garlic, shitake mushrooms and goats milk; can boost your immunity. The Blue Zones Solution lays out a proven plan to maximize your health based on the practices of the world’s healthiest people. Dan Buettner reveals how to transform your health using smart eating and lifestyle habits gleaned from new research on the diets, eating habits, and lifestyle practices of the communities he’s identified as blue zones—those places with the world’s longest-lived, and thus healthiest, people. Visit the Blue Zones website to read more at https://www.bluezones.com/2020/03/boost-your-energy-and-immunity-with-these-13-super-blue-foods/.

Are you negatively affected by certain foods or  other triggers?  Determining the root cause of these can provide you with useful information, allowing you to avoid them and preventing risky immune system distractions.  THE WEAK LIST:  A Necessary Well-being & Protection Tool

Immunotoxicity:

Immunotoxicity is an ongoing challenge for all ages. Immunotoxicity is defined as adverse effects on the functioning of both local and systemic immune systems that result from exposure to toxic substances including chemical warfare agents. The personal care, home and garden products that we use daily come with potential immunotoxic challenges, disrupting the body’s natural and necessary immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponses. Check out your personal health care products for their potential immunotoxicity ratings at the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database – https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.

Fragrance in personal care, laundry and household products also contain immunotoxic risks. Check out the Less Toxic Guide for recommendations for less toxic options for other products you regularly use – http://www.lesstoxicguide.ca/.

Workplace exposure to toxins can result in immunotoxicity. Environmental immunology has provided highly tangible benefits in the study of the immune system. The Research Gate article Occupational Immunotoxicology, states that “Occupational immune diseases are some of the most common illnesses that affect workers including inflammation, allergy, respiratory disease, autoimmunity, or other immune modulation resulting in suppression following exposure in the work environment”. Workplace protection for employees from toxins is an employer responsibility.

Stress, Stress Idling and Stress Sensitivity:

According to the Health Psychology Open article titled Psychological intervention based on psychoneuroimmunology; “Beliefs, attitudes, spirituality, and psychological perspectives can dramatically affect our health, disease course, and overall well-being. Psychological and social disorders are also capable of altering the immune system, which may influence vulnerability to the disease and its evolution.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6444782/

Do you feel like you are stress idling? Are you sensitive to stress?  According to research reported by the American Psychological Association article Stress Weakens the Immune System, “Managing stress, especially chronic or long-term stress (even if it’s not intense), may help people to fight germs”.  Germs include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. The best action you can take to keep your immune system strong and able to handle ‘germs’, providing virus protection, is to manage your stress.

According to research “individuals who are sensitized to stress become so over time through repeated exposure to external, as well as endogenous, stressors.  As such, increasingly minor stressors maintain the disorder than were required to trigger its initial onset”. Being chronically stressed out and stress idling indicate that the body’s stress response is flawed. This can interfere with normal body functions including the necessary communication for accurate immunosurveillance, immunoassessment and immunoresponse.

Managing stress is a necessary ‘must do’ to ensure a healthy immune response.  Ensuring a healthy life balance through a more ‘health promoting’ priority list with stress management strategies is an important immune support for all ages, especially those who are elderly, immune compromised, stress idling or stress sensitive. From the American Institute of Stress article by Jim Porter, Are You Stress Sensitive, “My recommendation for stress sensitive people is to take up meditation. Meditation may actually help you rewire your nervous system. One study of mindfulness meditators (at the University of Wisconsin) showed that people who meditated for 30 minutes every day for 8 weeks were actually able to increase the size of their left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for happiness and contentment.” Learn more at STRESS:  A Modern Day Challenge -. http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1115.

Mindfulness and meditation:

Mindfulness and meditation have been researched for their immune system supporting benefits. According to a Research Gate article titled Meditation and Immune Function: “Practicing meditation has several benefits, including reducing the severity of psychological disorders and stress-related ailments, increasing immune function, and delaying the progression of various diseases. Researchers have found that Mindfulness Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Qigong interventions have positive effects on individuals’ NK (natural killer) cell activity and proportions, B-lymphocyte numbers, and telomerase activity, while also keeping CD8+ T-cell numbers stable during times of high stress. In addition, meditation has also been shown to increase antibody response in people injected with the influenza vaccine. Similarly, HIV positive individuals practicing meditation showed increased T-cell and NK cell counts and NK cell activity, slowing the progression of the virus.” https://www.researchgate.net/…/329479535_Meditation_and_Imm… I listen to the Ultimate Zen Meditation playlist on Spotify for my meditation ‘time outs’ as well as silent meditation on, breathing, ‘peace’ and family.  The research based ‘ways to’ and ‘how to’ meditate suggestions on this Science of People post are helpful to get started.

Tai Chi:

According to a Harvard Health Publishing article titled Tai chi gives immune system a boost, “Tai chi might have a strong effect on the immune system because it manages to bring exercise, relaxation, and meditation together in “one behavioral intervention,” the researchers said. They theorized that tai chi enhances T cell activity by quieting the nervous system’s ‘fight or flight’ response, which can, in certain circumstances, interfere with the immune system.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/In_Brief_Tai_chi_gives_immune_system_a_boost

Yoga:

New research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine shows that yoga can boost your immune system, helping you fight off viruses and protect you from the damaging health consequences of chronic inflammation. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/urban-survival/201802/new-research-how-yoga-boosts-your-immune-system

Herbs:

Herbs have long been used to support immune system health. Immune stimulating herbs are recommended to be used short term to help you to resist infection and provide support when exposed to contagious illnesses. Immunomodulating herbs are slower acting, with a more prolonged, deep immune balancing, toning effect.

o Allium sativum – Garlic bulb
o Baptisia tinctoria – Wild Indigo, root
o Commiphora mol-mol – Myrrh, resin
o Echinacea spp. – Purple coneflower, root and seed
o Eupatorium perfoliatum – Boneset, leaves and flowers
o Sambucus canadensis and S. nigra – Elderberry, flowers and fruit
o Spilanthes acmella – Toothache plant, leaves and flowers
o Usnea spp. – Usnea lichen or old man’s beard, whole lichen body
o Zanthoxylum clava-herculis and Z. americanum – Toothache tree, bark
o Panax ginseng – root
o Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus – root
o Astragalus membranaceus – root
o Licorice root, Glycyrrhiza glabra L. – root
o Cat’s claw, Uncaria guianesis and U. tomentosa – root and stalk bark
o Ashwagandha, Withania somnifera – root

https://www.chestnutherbs.com, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1534735403256419, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/astragalus-membranaceus, https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/3/491s/4714940, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/

Essential Oils:

Many essential oils support the immune system by either fortifying the immune response or eradicating bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Essential oils have specific immune-strengthening properties: antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. https://fullscript.com/blog/essential-oils-for-immune-health

• Eucalyptus – Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359267
• Frankincense – Modulation of the immune system by Boswellia serrata extracts and boswellic acids. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20696559
• Oregano – Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24779581
• Thyme – Antibacterial and immunity enhancement properties of anaesthetic doses of thyme. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1018364713000918

The preceding information is just a small collection of strategies to get you started on fighting your ‘forcasted’ age related immune decline and immune vulnerability. Check with your regular healthcare provider before implementing changes in your healthcare supports, there may be contraindications due to age, medications or other factors. Do not stop taking your prescribed medication without consultation with your doctor.

For more health promoting strategies:

Follow my road map: http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=2774

My Green Medicine Cabinet: http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?page_id=2914

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.C., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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BACK TO ‘BALANCE’: Body, Mind & Spirit Life Balancing Self-Care Strategies

bodymindspiritwpwbStaying balanced despite what our genetics, the environment and our body is challenged by on a daily basis can be daunting.  When we are ‘hyper’ focused on our symptoms or present life stressor or challenge, it can be difficult to zoom out and recognize and address the ‘bigger picture’ contributing factors. Could your hormone imbalance issues, including insulin, be the result of environmental endocrine disruptors absorbed through your skin from your personal care products? Learn how to recognize and address your body, mind and spirit challenges and implement self-help therapies to restore and maintain balance in your body and mind.

Blank Chalkboard

“Everybody’s a work in progress, I’m a work in progress.

We are all on a well-being journey”.

That’s the message I tell my clients. If I had waited until I was 100% ‘fixed’ before sharing my holistic protocol, there would be a lot of people who would have missed out on the well-being gains they have experienced to date. Thanks to my son Andrew for believing in me and encouraging me to share my holistic protocol with a larger audience by publishing it – ultimately helping more people to improve their health. You can read some of my clients’ testimonies on my website at http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/what_people_are_saying.htm.

My journey through multiple health and life challenges has taught me that ‘change in believing, thinking and doing’ (paradigm shifts) are necessary components to surviving and conquering what life brings you. While a vision board may provide you with an opportunity to create your life ‘wish list’, a ‘body, mind and spirit’ balance board prompts you to make changes, a requirement for improved health.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”

George Bernard Shaw

“Without change there would be no butterflies”

In my practice as a holistic wellness practitioner I share the strategies that I have found to be most effective on my well-being journey and through counselling my clients; refined through many years of trial and error. After years of working with clients with multiple and varied health challenges, there is a common thread that cannot be ignored.

Life imbalance has a ripple effect on health!

questforbalance

The impact is dependent on degree, intensity, length of time and re-balancing strategy attempts. When clients come to me with their unresolved symptoms and conditions they are often surprised and some irritated that I expect them to look at their ‘life imbalance’ issues as an underlying cause that needs to be addressed in order for their health to improve. Read my post  Life Balance:  The Well-being Root to help you assess your life balance.

Life imbalance is one of the underlying factors that I list on my ‘base of the iceberg analogy’ – see Digging Deeper: For a Healthier You! If you want to permanently relieve your symptoms and conditions you need to dig deeper, while also applying symptom relief solutions.

My well-being journey continues! Requiring daily reviewing of what to hold onto and what to let go of.

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go!” – Rumi

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BNSBletgo

Busy lives come with many life challenges, potentially ‘rocking your boat’ and leaving you feeling unbalanced. Einstein’s definition for insanity was: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Long understood by Olympic athletes; the first step toward achieving greater levels of success is understanding that you need to change your behavior and approaches to attain more. If you are not moving forwards in terms of your well-being, then it’s time to reassess your ‘game plan’.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”

George Bernard Shaw

Just as a car runs more smoothly when the wheels are perfectly inflated and aligned, you perform and feel better when your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self are in balance. When one tire goes flat in a vehicle the vibration throughout is profound and can result in further structural distress. Imbalances in your body (blood sugar, ph, brain chemistry, hormones) and life (stressors) have the potential to impact your whole body and person via a ripple effect.

The Whole Person Well-being ‘body, mind and spirit’ balance workshop discussions, work sheets and self-care balance work board prompt you to take ‘a helicopter view’ of your life to review what areas need your attention, to bring you back into balance. The information provided directs you to select supportive strategies to reach your goals. Regular use of the lessons learned, work sheets and work board (chalkboard so you can change up your strategies) will help you to restore and maintain balance in your body, mind and life. Whole person well-being (optimum health on all levels) is a reflection of your inner and outer balance. My ‘body, mind, spirit’ balance work board is and extension and companion to of my Whole Person Well-being Equation workbook.

“I like the concept of a workbook because I know from my experience to make changes you have to show up for practice.  If you can learn to care for and about yourself the tools available here will enhance your life and body’s potential for healing”

Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of A Book of Miracles and Faith, Hope & Healing’s comment about my book THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION.

While a vision board provides you with an opportunity to visualize what you want in life, a ‘body, mind and spirit’ life balance vision board workshop will help you to identify your personal body, mind, spirit and life balance disruptors. The ‘body, mind and spirit’ life balance board (and accompanying instruction booklet) is an assessment tool and working planning chart prompting you to make required changes to achieve and maintain body, mind, spirit and life balance. This body, mind, spirit mindfullness workshop is available in full weekend or mini format as an add on. Please ask for details.

A ‘body, mind, spirit life balance vision board in combination with THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION workbook is an effective tool that can ‘enhance your life and body’s potential for healing’ and promote healthy longevity. My holistic ‘stop, start and change’ protocol is your instruction guide for ‘a healthier you’.

Through the life balance mindfullness vision board material discussed and provided, the ‘body, mind, spirit life balance vision board workshop experience equips participants with knowledge about practical techniques and strategies to help assess their balance disruptors and restore and maintain balance in their bodies and lives: balance between work, family, and everything in between – inner and outer balance – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance. Ultimately translating into greater resilience and ability to rock and roll with life’s challenges. Make the choice today to direct your ‘life balance ripple’ to good health!

Participants can start the workshop with a partially completed vision board (everything you see in the first picture in this blog post is done for you in permanent chalk marker – additional fee applies) or start from scratch using the class instructions. You will customize your board (see my second board image below) with self-help strategies you select from the provided material, images and clip art that you bring to the workshop. I added my sample strategies to my board with regular chalk and with images and clipart.  You will be able to use an erasable fine point chalk marker (or regular chalk) on the board giving you lots of room to add and change strategies. There is additional space on the board to add your motivational words or quotes or doodles and designs. Keep your completed board beside your favourite relaxation spot at home or your office wall to help remind you often that you may need to regularly re-evaluate and implement alternate strategies to achieve your goals and maintain balance. Edit your board as needed to keep you on track.

The boards below are two of my personal ‘body, mind, spirit’ life balance vision boards. If you are motivated to make changes in your life for ‘a healthier you’,  can print, write, cut and paste pictures; this workshop if for you.

Board with visionchalkboardBMS

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Experience a life balance vision board workshop experience at a holistic wellness retreat with your women friends. Make it a one day or weekend event by combining it with other workshop options. I will help you design your workshop format.  Accommodation is available at my location for 8 participants. Upcoming workshop on Saturday, March 14, 2020 (This workshop has been postponed due to coronavirus travel concerns. Check back for a new workshop date in the future)

Interested in creating your personal DIY MDF or vinyl (peel and stick) chalkboard at home? The complete ‘body, mind, spirit’ chalkboard creation e-book includes a full size printable transferable pattern, materials list and instructions for how to complete your personal board.

BMSBprinterpattern

The e-book also includes the workshop material and resources to help you identify your ‘body, mind and spirit’ challenging factors and ‘body, mind and spirit’ supporting strategies to help you restore and maintain healthy ongoing balance. The ‘body, mind, spirit’ balance chalkboard is a companion to my Whole Person Well-being Equation workbook.  The e-book and paper copy are for personal use only. The material is copyright protected. If you would like to use the material for a group, please contact me for a group rate.

To purchase the ebook with full size printable pattern click on the Buy Now button below the image.  All sales are final on all ebooks.  By proceeding with this purchase you are agreeing to these terms. There will be no refunds.Email me at elisabethlhines@gmail.com if you have any problems with the transaction.  Do not contact Paypal. If you would prefer a Printed Copy mailed via Canada Post.  Cost is $39.98  which includes shipping.  Click on the second button below for a printed copy and make sure to include your shipping address when checking out.

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$29.98 CAN e-book (with full size printable pattern)

             $29.98


$39.98 CAN paper copy (with full size printed pattern – sent via Canada Post, shipping included)

              $39.98


Get started using essential oil therapy to help you manage stress and anxiety; allowing for a more ‘balanced’ life.

Now available:  Ready to create adhesive vinyl body, mind, spirit balance chalkboard.  Permanent design as seen on the ebook cover, ready for your creative inspiration.  You can also order it with just the balance wheel design so that you can customize the finished product.  Add this partially completed adhesive vinyl chalkboard to your ebook purchase for an extra $45 plus shipping.  Just need a blank adhesive vinyl to complete your DIY vision chalkboard? Get it for an additional $25 plus shipping. Contact me elisabethlhines@gmail.com to determine shipping to your location.

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Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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