Your Questions About An Impaired Immune System

August 30, 2013

Sandy asks…

Best way to cure a cold/boost up immunity system?

I keep getting sick with the flu/cold, I been through 5 different affecting colds/viruses for four weeks now and it is annoying.
Any advices or suggestions?

admin answers:

Food Therapy:
Grapefruit is a great food for fighting a cold, says Paul Yanick, Ph.D., a research scientist in Milford, Pennsylvania. One reason is that it’s high in vitamin C, according to Dr. Yanick.

A lesser-known reason, he says, is that grapefruit help detoxify the liver. “The liver is your front line to the immune system, and when immunity is impaired, you need something that’s alkaline and not acidic to detoxify it,” he says.

All citrus fruits become alkaline when metabolized in the body, he explains, but oranges and other citrus are too sweet to promote proper liver drainage, so you get much better detoxitication from grapefruit.

He recommends eating one or more grapefruit and their white bitter pulp each day to prevent colds and to build immunity.

Herbal Therapy:

Garlic can help prevent a cold and help reduce symptoms because it contain a potent antibiotic called allicin, wwhich is released when cloves of garlic are chopped, crushed or chewed, says Varro E. Tyler., Ph.D., professor of pharmacognosy at Purdue University.

You can add raw garlic to foods as a preventive measure, according to Dr. Tyler, or you can buy garlic supplements.

He says the best supplements form is entric-coated capsules, which are easier for the body to absorb. He recommends that you follow label directions for dosage; a typical dosage is 300 milligrams daily for as long as symptoms persist, he adds.

Ruth asks…

Is it okay to eat a recipe with raw eggs from my own chickens?

I was planning on making tiramisu, an Italian dessert, which calls for eggs and does not involve cooking. However, I do have my own chickens from which I get the eggs. If they are not in contact with other chickens, is there any risk of getting a bacterial infection or virus from consuming the raw eggs?

admin answers:

Short answer is I grew-up on a farm, and we ate raw or undercooked eggs all the time (remember when it was a “good” and “healthy” thing to eat raw eggs?). Just make sure to wash them very well, and keep your cooking area nice and clean. Long answer is:

“Following is what the American Egg Board says on using raw eggs:

There have been warnings against consuming raw or lightly cooked eggs on the grounds that the egg may be contaminated with Salmonella, a bacteria responsible for a type of food poisoning.

With eggs and all other raw foods from animals, there is a small possibility of Salmonella food poisoning. The risk is greater for those who are pregnant, elderly or very young and those with medical problems which have impaired their immune systems. These individuals should avoid raw and undercooked animal foods.

Healthy people need to remember that there is a very small risk and treat eggs and other raw animal foods accordingly. Use only properly refrigerated, clean, sound-shelled, fresh, grade AA or A eggs. Avoid mixing yolks and whites with the shell. Refrigerate broken-out eggs, prepared egg dishes and other foods if you won’t be consuming them within an hour.

For summer outings, use ice or coolant in an insulated bag or cooler to keep cold foods cold (40ºF. Or lower) and thermal containers to keep hot foods hot (140ºF. Or higher). When toting raw eggs on outings, leave them in their shells. Immediately consume, refrigerate or freeze raw or lightly cooked egg dishes. Eggnog and homemade ice cream should be based on a cooked stirred custard to ensure safety.

The kitchen, too, can be a source of bacteria. Clean hands and equipment, sanitary food handling practices, proper cooking and adequate refrigeration are essential in safely preparing all foods.

Raw Egg Whites Although it is possible for Salmonella to be in both the white and the yolk of the egg, the white does not readily support bacterial growth. Cold soufflés, mousses, and chiffons containing raw beaten whites require refrigeration to maintain their character, and added safety factor. Such dishes might be considered low risk for healthy individuals.

For further safety, combine the whites with the sugar in the recipe (using a minimum of 2 tablespoons of sugar per white) and beat over hot water or over low heat in a heavy saucepan until the whites stand in soft peaks. Without sugar, the whites will coagulate too rapidly and produce an unsatisfactory meringue.

This is the same procedure used in making 7-minute Frosting and can be used to make Royal Icing or other frostings ordinarily containing raw whites.

If using an unlined aluminum saucepan, do not add cream of tartar. It will react with the aluminum to produce and unattractive gray product.

Raw Egg Yolks

Raw egg yolks are a fine growth medium for bacteria. It is best to cook yolks for use in such dishes as cold soufflés, chiffons, mousses, mayonnaise and Hollandaise sauce.

To cook yolks, the recipe must contain at least 2 tablespoons of liquid per yolk. Less liquid will produce scrambled eggs. Simply combine the yolks with the liquid in the recipe. Cook in a heavy saucepan over a very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats a metal spoon, bubbles at the edges or reaches 160ºF. Cool quickly and proceed with the recipe.


One of several types of bacteria which can cause food poisoning (salmonellosis) if ingested in large numbers. It is found in the intestinal tract of animals, birds, insects, reptiles, seafood, and people. The bacteria can easily be passed from the intestinal tract to the hands and onto food.

Although the inside of the egg was once considered almost sterile, Salmonella enteritidis (Se) has been found recently inside a small number of eggs (much less than 1%). If an egg does contain Se, the numbers in a freshly laid egg probably will be small and, if the eggs are properly refrigerated, will not multiply enough to cause illness in a healthy person.

The majority of salmonellosis outbreaks have been attributed to foods other than eggs—chicken, beef, and fish—to human carriers, and through them, utensils and other foods during preparation. Of the outbreaks involving eggs, almost all have occurred in the foodservice sector and have been the result of inadequate refrigeration and insufficient cooking.

Se will not grow at temperatures below 40ºF. And is killed at 160ºF., known as the danger zone, are ideal for rapid growth.

Illness from Se can be avoided through adequate refrigeration, proper cooking and sanitary kitchen and food handling procedures

Helen asks…

Do people with autoimmune diseases have a strong immune system or a weak one?

I have Vitiligo and I’ve become confused on whether an autoimmune disease indicates a strong immune system or a weak immune system. I’ve read that it tends to occur due to a weak immune system, at least that’s what I think it said. I’ve also read that it might not necessarily be weak or strong and is just the immune system malfunctioning. Yet still, I’ve read that it’s due to a strong immune system that is overzealous.

Every since my Vitiligo appeared I’ve never gotten sick. Not once in about a decade. I have no idea what to make of what I’m reading. I have an uncle with psoriasis, but nobody in my family history has ever had Vitiligo; not sure if that makes a difference.

admin answers:

This is a great question. The actual autoimmune reaction during an attack at the molecular, cellular, and tissue level is due to a hyperinflammatory and aggressive immune responses. In most autoimmune diseases, there is a complex interplay of the various components of the immune and inflammatory response. These 2 features of autoimmunity underly the reason why so many autoimmune diseases are responsive to immunosuppressant therapies, and why these therapies can target different elements of the immune system and still be effective. Moreover, in many cases the hyper-immune state evolves over time. This is both in terms of the nature of the reaction and what is being attacked.

That said, it is clear that there are environmental triggers for autoimmune diseases. Some triggers appear to be infectious in nature. For example autoimmune rheumatic heart disease or PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections) which appear to be in part triggered by strep infections. Also there are strong epidemiological evidence that Epstein Bar Virus infection is an environmental trigger in people susceptible to lupus. There is the possibility that an impaired immune response underlies the etiology of these infections.

Finally, there is also growing evidence that if an immune system does not develop in a standard way, that it can result in a hyper-inflammatory state. An example of this is the theory that having an overly sterile environment in the formative years can lead to increased rates of asthma and other atopic diseases (the cleanliness hypothesis).

This is made more complex by the fact that the immune system is not actually as separate from other systems in the body as is suggested in most text books. The cross talk with the nervous system is so robust that it is hard to separate one from the other in regards to overall response, and barrier tissues such as skin participate actively in induction and regulation of immune responses.

Practically speaking, it is becoming increasingly clear in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis that aggressive disease activity control through suppression of inflammation and immune attack early in the disease course can dramatically improve outcomes.

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