Here in Puerto Vallarta, we are able to get more organic foods than other cities around Mexico, but we are still exposed to chemicals and pollution. Nowadays everything has a level of contamination, some products more than others. For example, the fish we get from the sea have been exposed to contamination from boats and other sea waste.
Our fruits and vegetables have most likely been exposed to chemical fertilizers and pesticides at some point in their plant life, possibly even from prior use of the soil. Another factor that we face as a tourist community is the exposure of different persons, travelers who come to enjoy our beautiful Puerto Vallarta. We enjoy and love our tourism, but we must acknowledge the fact that this exposure makes us vulnerable to pathogens imported from different places around the world.
Given these issues, we should consider supplements with micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help protect our bodies from free radical toxin accumulation that can lead to quicker aging and disease processes. Some of these nutrients we need to supplement, as they are essential vitamins that our bodies cannot produce. These supplements necessary for our immune system health may be ingested orally, intramuscular, or via intravenous drip.
Understanding Our Immune System
Our immune system is our body’s defense network of highly specialized cells and proteins that respond to disease-causing agents called pathogens including viruses, bacteria, fungi, cancer cells, and many more. The immune system is spread throughout the body and involves many types of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues.
Everyone’s immune system is different, and varies throughout our lifetime. In general, as we get older our immune system becomes stronger, having been exposed to more pathogens and developed more immunities.
When a pathogen attacks our bodies, our immune system develops a protein called antibody to help combat the antigen. Once an antibody has been produced, a copy remains in your body so that if the same antigen appears again, it can be dealt with faster. Therefore, you only get some diseases once as your body has already produced its’ antibody, ready and waiting to destroy it upon detection. This is called immunity, though we do need to keep in mind that not all diseases develop immunity. In humans, we have three different levels of immunity called innate, adaptive, and passive.
Innate immunity is what we are born with, and is our first line of defense. It consists of physical, chemical, and cellular responses to immediately prevent the spread of foreign pathogens. Adaptive (acquired) immunity is the type of immunity we get when we are exposed to diseases or get vaccinated, as we build up different antibodies to diseases.
Passive immunity is “borrowed” from another source, but it does not last indefinitely. For instance, babies receive antibodies from their mother through the placenta before birth, and in breast milk following birth.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Our defense mechanism is facilitated by our immune system. In fact, the symptoms we often experience during an illness are usually a result of our defensive fight against the invaders, leading to inflammation and stress within the cells. To keep our immune system strong and with the optimal condition, we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the best step you can take to naturally keep your immune system strong and healthy. The immune system functions better when bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, maintaining an ideal weight, avoid smoking, keeping an adequate sleep cycle, good hygiene habits like washing your hands frequently, and overall taking care of your body.
Emphasizing a healthy lifestyle, we need to take into account that a balanced diet is key to keeping our body functioning well. Vitamins and antioxidants are essential constituents of our diet that have been known to influence the immune system. Eating more nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, help keep the balance in our diet. These foods are packed with nutrients, especially when eaten in their raw forms and organically sourced. In a modern world it is difficult to get all the nutrients our body needs since most of our foods have exposure to pesticides and different chemicals. Modern farming techniques do not allow the soil to regain a good level of nutrition. And when we get our food, we then often cook it. Heat energy depletes nutrition in our food. Half of the proteins and enzymes in our foods will not make it into our bodies after being cooked.
We are also exposed to many more chemicals through air pollution, cleaning products, yard and garden products, pet maintenance products, paint products and more. Our bodies were not designed to be exposed to high levels of chemicals used in the modern world. Our immune system can naturally deal with a toxic build-up in our cells, utilizing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help neutralize them and then expel them from the body. But with increased exposure, we need extra nutrients to help to protect our bodies.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate, is a great example of an essential vitamin. It is an antioxidant that neutralizes toxins and free radicals that can damage our bodies. It also has an important role in the production of collagen and in our immune system, which requires this vitamin to combat pathogens and keep us healthy. There are a lot of great sources of vitamin C in foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and many other fruits.
Vitamin B12 is an especially important essential vitamin. It takes part in different metabolic processes that are crucial to maintaining our body’s health. Some of the main benefits of Vitamin B12 range from regulating sleep, mood, and appetite cycles, to boosting the immune system and increasing production of red blood cells. It also helps with releasing energy from food. This vitamin can be found in meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, milk, milk products, soybeans, and different cereals.
Complex B is a group of essential vitamins that also play a vital role in maintaining good health. B Vitamins have a direct impact on our energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. Their role is to help convert nutrients from food into energy, metabolize carbohydrates and fat, aid DNA production and repair, and it is involved in hormone and blood cell production. These vitamins can be found in dairy and dairy products, eggs, fish, shellfish, red meat, poultry, kale, spinach, beets, avocado, watermelon, potatoes, whole grains and cereals, seeds, nuts, beans, soybeans, wheat germ and many more.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that our body is unable to produce or store. This mineral is vital for a healthy immune system, cell growth, wound healing, senses of smell and taste, enhancing insulin action, synthesizing DNA, and breaking down carbohydrates. It is necessary for over 300 enzymes that act in metabolism, digestion, nerve function, and other processes. Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in our body, it is present in every cell. It can be found in red meat, nuts, beans, whole grains, legumes, and yeast.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps with over 300 enzyme reactions in our body. Its main functions involve maintaining a normal muscle and nerve function, a healthy immune system and bone formation, helps control glucose and insulin metabolism, and aids to regulate mood disorders and blood pressure. It is also required for energy production and synthesizing DNA, RNA, and glutathione. It can be found in nuts, peas, beans, soy products, whole grains, and dairy.
Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant. Its main function is to neutralize free radicals which can cause damage to our cells. It is also an essential component of the body's natural defense system. Pathogens damage healthy cells and deplete glutathione. Glutathione depletion has been correlated with lower immune function and increased vulnerability to infection. Other functions of the glutathione include the production of DNA and regenerating cells, forming sperm cells, aiding enzyme function, regenerating vitamins C and E, transporting mercury out of the brain, and it helps the liver and gallbladder deal with fats. Due to the role that glutathione plays in our metabolism, there have been many studies that have shown promising results on how this antioxidant can help prevent, reduce, or slow the progression of many diseases. Our bodies do not absorb glutathione well from foods, but it is possible to increase glutathione levels through oral or intravenous (IV) supplementation. Some foods that can help boost its natural production include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, garlic and onions, eggs, nuts, legumes, fish, and chicken
If you feel that your body is not getting everything that it needs, or that it could use a boost, you may want to consider intravenous therapy. Nutrient ingestion from the foods we eat only has an absorption rate of about 30%, while the absorption rate via IV drip is 100%. Here in Puerto Vallarta, you can visit REVIV, a professional IV therapy clinic located in the newly constructed Parota Center on Francisco Villa. REVIV is a global leader in IV therapy and they take medical safety extremely seriously. A strict medical screening, including a full examination by a certified doctor, is required before the therapy is prescribed to determine your needs and ensure that you are safe to proceed with IV therapy. The therapies have been vigorously tested and undergo a research and development cycle to ensure they are dosed correctly to the latest medical evidence, including laboratory testing in a certified lab. REVIV is the only company dedicated to do this, and is constantly working with regulatory bodies across the globe to try and improve medical safety and regulation of IV therapy.