When a baby is born and in the early years of life, its immune system is still developing. This is why infants and young children are more vulnerable to infections. Over time, their immune systems will build up a memory of all the bacteria and viruses they are exposed to, and this makes them more resistant if a re-infection occurs.
Alternative health practitioners agree that, clearly, the best method to avoid the flu is to strengthen our immune system by eating properly and getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals that our body needs. Only good nutrition can build and support a strong immune system, and that good nutrition starts in the womb. Babies are born with an immune system that develops antibodies when exposed to antigens such as viruses and bacterium.
Breast is Best
The best nutrition for babies is that of breast milk, at least for their first six months. Breastfeeding is the first immune booster which is totally natural and costs nothing, other than diligence on the mother’s part to eat properly. Not only does it contain protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in just the right amounts, but breast milk also provides an array of protective components that are important for a baby’s natural immune system, including antibodies, prebiotics and nucleotides. Colostrum, the milk produced in the first few post-birth days, is full of antibodies and white blood cells that help protect the baby against potentially harmful bacteria.
At about six days after birth the serum concentration of specific antibodies rises sharply, and this rise continues until adult levels are achieved by approximately the end of the first year. Maternal immunity gradually disappears during the first six to eight months of life. It takes seven to eight years for a good immunity to be built up, so the parents will have to accept that their child will have his or her bouts with sickness. The immunity gained naturally will also provide long-term effects, rather than only seasonal immunity.
After weaning, and as the child grows, the immune system can be further helped by making sure the child is given needed nutrients. One of the most crucial is Vitamin D. Instead of directly killing bacteria and viruses, this steroid hormone increases the body’s production of a remarkable class of proteins, called anti-microbial peptides. The 200 known anti-microbial peptides directly and rapidly destroy the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including the influenza virus, and play a key role in keeping the lungs free of infection. Because we cannot eat an amount of food great enough to provide the needed amounts of this hormone, it must be taken in through the skin from sunlight or taken as a supplement.
In addition to Vitamin D; Vitamins A, E and C, and other essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc and selenium, are vital for a strong immune system. Cod liver oil is recommended by some nutritionists, but it shouldn’t be overdone. Basically a good balanced diet emphasizing lots of fresh fruits and vegetables provides for a child’s nutritive needs.
So it can take years and years to build our immune systems into adult life. Through nutrition, vitamins, minerals, antibodies from our mother’s milk, picking up bacteria here and there to help strengthen it. What happenes if there is an invasion of a foreign body, bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite when the immune system is weak, for example through stressful times or periods of poor nutrition or invasion during childhood when the immature immune system is fragile. What happens if the good bacteria cannot fight off the invader and the invader becomes stronger and more abundant in our small intestine? Could this cause autoimmunity issues? Could a foreign invader disrupt out immune systems that much that it makes us susceptible to developing autoimmune diseases? If nutrition is so vital in building a healthy immune system then perhaps we can turn around our malfunctioning immune system. It seems to make perfect simple sense.
But perhaps diet and nutrition is not enough at this stage, perhaps a foreign body needs to be eradicated alongside the rebuilding of the immune system?
Just a thought that I wanted to share. It is definitely a thought which needs to be investigated farther within our Alopecia Community.
Thanks for reading xx