Immune System Functions, Malfunctions, and Fixes

The immune system has a tremendous influence on all aspects of lives; it can positively or negatively affect our body, heart, will, mind, and soul.

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND
Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

When the immune system goes awry, we become vulnerable to all manner of alien intruders that can negatively impact our life – making us feel ill, lethargic, depressed, joyless, and a whole lot worse – dead!

We all know the secret of building our immune defenses: avoid a healthy, natural, mostly plant-based diet; get plenty of exercise; and supplement with immune-strengthening herbs and nutrients.

The job of the immune system is to distinguish self from not self, and ward off dangerous intruders.

A large number of the body’s organs, systems, individual cells, and proteins are intimately involved in our immune defenses.

The bone marrow and spleen produce specialized blood cells vital to the immune system.

The thymus gland produces a white blood cell type that protects against infection.

The lymphatic system carries white blood cells where the immune system needs them.

Mucus membranes produce immunoglobulins that bind to particular antigens such as bacteria or viruses, and aid in their destruction.

The immune system can go awry several ways.

An underactive immune system can cause long-term immune deficiency syndromes and chronic recurring illnesses.

Repairing an underactive immune system may require encouraging the bone marrow to produce more stem cells, by consuming thymic proteins and other substances that stimulate white blood cell growth.

An overactive immune system can cause hypersensitivity and autoimmunity. “Autoimmunity” occurs when the body responds to its own cells as if they were foreign invaders.

Common examples of autoimmune diseases are Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease.

A conventional approach to treating autoimmunity involves simply suppressing the immune system.

Alas, the unfortunate consequence of this treatment is that the immune-suppressed body becomes vulnerable to other invaders such as the tuberculosis pathogen.

Other treatments address the affected organ but not the underlying cause. In Hashimoto’s, the treatment may involve prescribing thyroid hormone. But of course this is merely treating the symptom.

For a lasting cure, the cause of the autoimmunity must be determined and treated.

And there lies the rub! We’ve barely begun to understand the many possible causes of autoimmune disease.

For example, a number of diet-related factors are associated with autommunity – low vitamin D, food sensitivities, gut permeability, etc. (Gluten sensitivity goes hand in hand with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.) And increasing evidence points to environmental toxins as a factor in autoimmunity.

Here’s an intriguing idea from the cutting edge of energy medicine.

The thymus gland is associated with the extremely important subtle energy center in the spine known as the heart chakra.

The spiritual purpose of the heart chakra is to serve as an instrument for expanding our awareness in kindness and compassion to embrace the whole world as our own.

As we said at the start, autoimmunity happens when the body recognizes itself as an enemy, and wages war against itself. It would hardly be surprising if contractive attitudes such as anger, hatred, resentment, and revenge were found to evoke negative health consequences at their source, in our own bodies.

In this divisive world, it’s worth considering whether the disturbed feelings of human hearts are playing a role in the present epidemic of autoimmune disease.

Perhaps it’s scientifically true, as saints and sages of all ages have told us, that the greatest defense is love.


Find out more about Dr. Connie’s work HERE.