Improve your immunological health

In an ideal world…

I realise that much of what I say below is not possible for some and that even if you do everything I suggest the chances are you will not get better, or not completely. They work best as prevention although if you are able to be disciplined using those parts applicable to you then you will see an improvement in symptoms due to inflammation over time. Particularly the part about not using antibiotics, excercise and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Everyone is different and for people who are not part of the average or amongst the most commons types I have to address when writing something like this that my advice could make things worse for some individuals.

I write this assuming you are an adult in outlook, that you are or will soon be well read on the subject of your health, and that you are atttuned to your body to the extent you know which parts of what I recommend should be avoided by you.

You should always be guided by your body and what it tells you. So if your diet works best if you do the exact opposite of what I recommend then clearly you should keep on doing what works for you.

EVERY ONE is different, it is why our Questionnaire contains so many questions, I use them to identify members of the multitude of subgroups who have to be handled differently. When it comes to medicine in general and helminthic therapy and to everything I say below, one size does not fit all.

I also know that some of what I suggest is enormously difficult, caffeine, for instance, is incredibly hard to stop using in our modern world and sometimes one just has to take antibiotics. While antibiotics are the primary cause of this epidemic of immunological disorders it has to be acknowledged that they have saved billions of lives and that modern surgery would not be possible without them. One has to exercise judgement.

If I suffered from any nasty immunological disorder, or any involving chronic inflammation this is what I would do (this is not medical advice, this is what I WOULD DO or that I DO):

1. I would not rely on experts, so-called, who have managed to create a situation where all these diseases are out-of-control and increasing. Clearly “modern medicine” not only does not have the answers for these conditions, it is clear that it is part of the problem. Having said that if you are currently reliant on some modern drug to function you are going to have to continue to rely on it until you can get things under control such that it is possible to discontinue its use.

2. I would systematically make my life as close in its daily routine to that of a hunter-gatherer. This sounds wildly impractical, but if you understand what is important about each difference between modern living and the stone age in terms of health it is very easy. So what does that mean in terms of practical advice? These are the changes I would make to my life knowing what I know now, and to a large extent have. The more severe your disorder the more disciplined you need to be with each of these changes:

3. Eliminate carbohydrates, both simple and complex, from your diet, as close to entirely as possible. Eat vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, and flesh of one kind or another. No grains or their products, ever. No sugar, no rice, no bread, no crackers, no cereal, no pizza crust, no pastry, no cake, no pie, you get it. Never eat prepared food, prepare it yourself from fresh ingredients, preferably organic or grown yourself. If you cannot pronounce it, from the label, and have no idea what it is, why the hell are you eating it? If you garden you win thrice, see below.

4. Make your meals smaller and more frequent. No large set meals, snack all day.

5. Subject yourself to periods where you don’t eat at all. Episodic hunger is good. But drink a lot of water. If that does not suit take a very small meal early in the day and a larger meal late. It can be hard to sleep if you go to bed hungry. You can trick your stomach by drinking a large volume of water with a spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of vegetable oil just before sleep.

6. Expose yourself to sunlight, and drop the sunblock. Yes, it may increase your odds of developing skin cancer, but be smart about it. When I lived in the tropics I stayed out of the sun from 11 am to 3 or 4 pm, and never burned although I went shirtless most of the time and never wore sunblock. I am blue-eyed and had blond hair as a child. If you have to go out during those hours wear a hat and a long-sleeved shirt. Our skin can produce 20,000 IUs of Vitamin D, the right kind, in a few hours of shirtless exposure to sunlight. The RDA is 200 or so IUs? Really? If we evolved to produce that much vitamin D there is a reason for it, and lack of vitamin D is implicated in a host of immunological disorders. It also plays a central role in the immune system and the RDA is set with no real idea of how much is required. Again, if we evolved the capacity to produce that much there is a good reason for it.

7. Get in the dirt every day, ideally, this would mean hikes in the woods, gardening, swimming in unpolluted rivers and lakes. You need to be exposed to the bacteria and other organisms in the soil. Be smart, don’t rub dirt into cuts, by exposure I mean some should end up in your digestive tract, on your skin, in your lungs. Every day. Breathing dust is good, in moderation. If this is not practical, eat some small amount of dirt from natural source every day. The practice is called Pica, and not just humans, but animals, have and do practice it, and have over evolutionary time. Go to the woods, to areas you know they don’t spread fertiliser or herbicides. Mix it up. You can bring a week’s worth back with you, just store it in an open container and don’t refrigerate it. Quantity is not important, the frequency is. If you garden, eat your tomatoes or carrots with minimal washing out of the garden, for instance.

8. Exercise, a lot. It has an enormous impact on well being, stress, etc., and our forebears were nothing if not active. But again, be smart, walking is vastly underrated as an exercise but requires more time to produce a given result than something more intensive. Be sure to mix it up, I am not advocating marathon running, which is a modern abomination guaranteed just about to result in damage and injury. Combine walking, running, swimming, climbing, weight lifting, dancing, wrestling, boxing, etc., and do things you enjoy. Be active for 1 hour a day at least, and mix it up. You are not competing, you are doing it for pleasure, I hope. You can make all this stuff more time efficient by combining things whenever possible, so running or walking barefoot in the woods would deal with both exercise and exposure to dirt at the same time. If you have to go upstairs for something run up the stairs. Going to the bus stop? Jog there. You can get a lot of exercise in by doing it in small digestible bits, rather than as long arduous and unpleasant tasks.

9. Simplify your life, we are not meant to live in large complex societies, or deal with all these modern distractions and contrivances. The result is stress, implicated in about every immunological disorder there is. Turn off the TV, close the laptop, bring your point of view down to the level of someone living in a social group of a few hundred people, tops, and a geographical limit of fifty miles, and unplug. The world will manage to continue to screw itself up without your active participation, don’t worry about it. Why the hell is the world so upset and angry anyway? Do you really need your share of that action?

10. Stop replacing your skin’s oils and biome with artificial substitutes on a daily basis, or ever. You can shower every day, but don’t use soap or shampoo. Think about it, you strip your skin and hair’s surface of naturally occurring oils, and by extension organisms, every day, and then immediately replace those lost oils with artificial substitutes. Substitutes implicated in atopic disorders like allergy, eczema and asthma at least. Stop using soap and shampoo, and the things that follow their use, and I guarantee you that within a few weeks you will wonder why you ever used either of those things. I still brush my teeth and recommend you do too. No, I don’t have an odour. My skin and hair are in the best shape of my life.

11. Repopulate your intestinal tract with the organisms your modern life, either by lack of exposure or by use of antibiotics, etc., has denied it and that you have evolved to live cooperatively with. See eating dirt above. We used to live in close contact with the soil and the organisms it contains, it was in our food, on our skin, we breathed in dust every day. Food preservation was largely fermentation or drying. Eat natural yoghurt’s, seek out odd fermented foods, if necessary acquire intestinal worms, helminths, for the most important class of organisms for your immune system, which also have a profound effect on populations of bacteria and other microorganisms when they are introduced.

12. Faecal Material Transplant is another option, it can be used to transplant the microorganisms lost to your colon from a donor who has not used antibiotics. There are lots of ways to do what is a very simple thing, if very unpleasant to perform, without paying someone enormous sums of money to do it for you. That is what the internet is for, that and your brain and opposable thumbs.

13. Stop using caffeine, doing so induces a stress response, every day, all day, see above.

14. Lose weight if you are obese, being overweight is implicated in a lot of diseases involving inflammation and even autoimmunity. This is a huge effect. HUGE, if you are overweight and suffer from inflammation the most important thing you can do to reduce inflammation throughout your body is to lose the excess weight. Its your body and your life, stop making excuses and take charge of your life, because no one is going to do it for you.

15. Avoid antibiotics sensibly. Be cautious, interrogate your doctor who likely prescribes them reflexively. Is there is a risk of organ damage or disfigurement? What about dying, am I at risk of dying if I don't take these antibiotics? If the answer is "no" why take them?

Always take them if prescribed them as a result of surgery. If we lose antibiotics say goodbye to joint replacements and a host of "routine" surgeries including cosmetic surgery.
If I am prescribed them, I avoid doctors, I fill the prescription but do not use them. But I have them on hand if it turns out they were right. They never have been so far.

You evolved to be much more active than you are, to eat a radically different diet and to deal with a very large variety of infectious organisms and parasites throughout your life.

Every aspect of your daily routine is radically different from that you are evolved for.

Your body is an ecosystem and your health depends on that ecosystem being in good shape.

That, in turn, depends on your daily routine, almost every aspect of it. But especially your diet and antibiotic use. Your doctor says you have an overgrowth of a "bad" bacterium? Ask them and yourself how this situation arose, then ask why taking antibiotics is the answer when it is almost certainly the cause. 

No one is going to make you well, the medical system isn't helping. No one is going to do it except you.

No magic supplement, no "super-food", no magic pill, nor any fad diet is going to do it. Not alone, it's not.

If you take responsibility and reorder your life around the principle of being healthy then you very likely will regain your health and massively improve the quality of your life.

But this is not a quick fix. Not from this side of the task anyway.

Looking back you will wonder how you ever got in this state in the first place, and you will be amazed at how fast and complete the transformation was. The years will pass whatever you do after all.

You have spent years screwing your body up. Yes, you got a lot of help, but you have to take responsibility in order to take charge.

You can expect things to improve gradually, it may be months before you notice a difference. But as you lose weight, get in shape, improve your diet, and remediate you the ecosystem you will regain your energy, vitality and joy.

Yes, joy. Remember that?

This requires faith, persistence and hard work. You should be thinking in terms of a time frame of months and years before you are bursting with vitality, energy and good health.

The changes will be slow but ongoing for a long time, but if you persist you will get better.

Good luck on your journey and do not lose hope or allow those who cannot see to deflect or to delay you.

The road to good health awaits, what are you waiting for?

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