Credit: Healthexel

Have you ever wondered why people tend to get colds and flus in the winter more often than in the summer or always seem to get sick during or right after the holidays? Or, perhaps of even greater interest, have you ever wondered what you could do that might help you keep from coming down with something during cold season?

For many, the coming of fall is a joyous time of year. The relentless, round-the-clock heat of the summer months gradually turns into the just right climate of Indian Summer -- warm but mild days, and crisp, cold, good-for-sleeping nights. Back-to school, football season, the gathering of friends and family for annual festive holiday feasts, the beauty of autumn colors, transforming the landscape are just a few of the pleasant times many look forward to. But, for others, the coming of fall equates with the imminence of illness. For them, anticipation of the trimesteral change is more one of dread than delight; from their point of view, fall heralds flu season rather than holiday season!

But, take heart O ye fearful of fall turnings. Illuminating research into the exciting field of Metabolic Typing, especially the ever-growing volume of empirical data from individuals working with their own uniquely-designed metabolic programs, has done much to explain not only why so many get ill this time of year, but also how illness can be effectively prevented!

Before we take a look at some of the specific, practical actions one can take in the name of prevention, let's first examine some of the underlying principles that can help us understand why certain nutritional strategies for warding off winter's woes might be successful.


The quality of life of every living thing thrives or diminishes depending on its relationship to it's environment. All the life-sustaining processes of the human body (referred to in a word as metabolism), depend on the body's capacity for an energy exchange with its environment, whereby four major elements from the environment -- air, food, water and light -- are converted by the body into energy for life.

The ability to maintain life, especially in a state of perpetual health and well-being, is additionally reliant on the body's capacity for adapting to adverse environmental influences such as stress, toxins, temperature changes, and invading organisms (e.g., bacteria, viruses). Both the processes of metabolism and the adaptive capability of the human body are predicated on the body's capacity for the creation, maintenance and control of energy.


The creation of energy in the body takes place in the cells through complex chemical processes known collectively as oxidation. Of the four major elements necessary for sustaining life -- air, food, water and light -- three of them are relatively invariable. While it is true that the quality of air, water and light that different people are exposed to varies, relative to food, they tend to be essentially constant. Food, however, is a different story.

The food one ingests can vary dramatically in terms of the quality (organic, non-organic, processed, synthetic, whole, fresh, frozen, canned, packaged, etc.), the type (protein, fat or carbohydrate) and the nutrient content (specific balance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, etc.). Due to the various components that make up our food, nearly infinite variation is possible in terms of the kinds of foods we ingest. Nonetheless, whatever the combination of quality/type/nutrient content, food is intended to serve as fuel for our cells -- our body's engines of metabolism.

In any engine, the kind of fuel that is used is important in relation to the maximum energy output of the engine. A proper fuel mixture, one specifically suited to the engine in question, allows for optimum energy output. An improper or poor fuel mixture results in degradation of performance (consider the disappointing outcome of using diesel fuel in a gasoline engine). So it is with the cells of the human body. For maximum energy, peak performance and optimum health, it is vital that the cells in the human body acquire the proper fuel mixture.

We are all different from one another -- in the way we look, our height, weight, personality, behavior, inherited physiological strengths and weaknesses. And, on a biochemical level, each individual is as unique as his fingerprints. The same genetic material which carries the blueprint for our individual, physiological selves (such as our length of bones, color of skin and eyes, efficiency of organs), also contains information concerning individual nutritional requirements.

This means that different people have different genetically-dictated fuel (nutritional) requirements. In order to be healthy and function at an optimal level of efficiency, each individual must provide his cells with the proper fuel mixture. He must ingest only those foods which provide the proper balance of vitamins, minerals and other intrinsic factors specifically needed by his cells to optimally convert the four elements (air/water/food/light) into optimum, life-supporting, health-maximizing energy.


So, how does all this talk about fuel and energy relate to immune efficiency? Well, to understand this, we need to know a little bit about how the body is structured. The human body is organized in a hierarchical fashion. Beginning from the grossest level moving to the subtlest level, the body is structured through seven basic levels of organization: systemic (e.g., immune system), organ/glandular (e.g., thymus), tissue (e.g., membranes, blood), cell (e.g., thymus cells, T-cells), nuclear (nucleus of cell), subnuclear (chromosomes) and genetic (genes).

Any bodily system (cardiovascular, digestive, immune, etc.) is comprised of various organs and glands. These organs and glands in turn are made up of numerous cells of like kind. The efficiency of any system is thus dependent on the efficiency of each of the organs and glands which comprise it, each of which in turn is dependent on the efficiency of its cells, each of which in turn is dependent on its cellular capacity for energy production in order to carry out its assigned role, which is ultimately dependent upon the presence of the proper fuel mixture, the right combination of nutritional substances!

More specific to our concern, an efficient immune system depends highly on an efficiently functioning thymus gland. The thymus gland is composed of a grouping together of similar (thymus) cells. In order for the thymus to function efficiently as a gland, the collective cells which comprise it must be functioning efficiently. In order for the cells of the thymus gland to function efficiently, the cells must produce sufficient energy to allow them to fulfill their specific functions. Finally, in order for each of the cells in the thymus gland to produce an optimum amount of energy by successfully and completely carrying out the processes of oxidation, each thymus cell must obtain the proper fuel mixture, i.e., the proper balance of nutrients.

In this way, we can see that the efficiency of the immune system is highly dependent on the presence of the proper biochemical, nutritional balance. And, that because each person has his or her own unique genetically-inherited requirements for nutrition, the nutrient balance comprising one individual's optimum fuel mixture which would support the functioning of his immune system, may in fact retard the immune efficiency of a different individual. Thus, perhaps the most essential, overall consideration in assuring immune system efficiency is for each person to maintain the proper nutritional balance for his or her unique metabolic type.

(Note: The individualized Metabolic Type analyses provided by Healthexcel, Inc., are designed for just this purpose. -Ed.)


Without a doubt, eating the right foods for one's metabolic type and taking the correct balance of nutritional supplements (if supplements are taken) are the most critical factors regarding maintaining the body's proper biochemical balance. However, many other components can contribute to imbalancing body chemistry and directly or indirectly depleting nutritional reserves, thereby compromising immune efficiency.

Heavy metal toxins such as lead, mercury, cadmium and aluminum, so profuse now in our environment, displace organic minerals like calcium and potassium and disrupt enzyme activity in the body. Junk foods and other commercial, processed foods add over 10,000 synthetic chemicals to our systems which disrupt metabolism. Industrial pollutants in the air and water contaminate our bodies with toxic substances, adding to the ever-increasing burden our organs of detoxification must bear. Physical trauma, fatigue and the psychological stresses associated with our fast-paced modern lifestyle, deplete the body's vital nutrient reserves. The use of many prescription drugs often is accompanied by harmful side-effects which disturb the body's natural homeo-static balance. The excessive use of stimulants such as nicotine, caffeine and sugar disrupts normal autonomic and neuro-endocrine functions. Seventy-five years ago, the average person consumed 5 pounds of sugar a year. Today, the average consumption of sugar is up to 175 pounds each year. The excessive intake of sugar alone can cause severe mineral depletions and directly compromise the immune efficiency by stimulating the overgrowth of Candida Albicans yeast.

Even from just this cursory list, one can see that the immune system of modern man is overtaxed in its attempt to keep the body disease-free. It is at once both remarkable that the immune system can function efficiently at all, and not at all surprising that at times its efficiency breaks down and some manner of illness gains the upper hand.

Tomorrow  we will talk about immune ehnancers....

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