Our immune systems start in our bone marrows as stem cells. These young, vital cells undergo further processes to become specialized, defensive cells. The resulting cells produced are imprinted with the traits and experiences of our bodies’ inner environment, such as our nutrition status, sleep deprivation, toxin exposure, and genetic predisposition. These factors make our bodies programmed resilient or non-resilient to their exposure. Our immune systems are flexible and adaptable to their bodies’ inner environments; this is known as immune plasticity.
With any kind of infectious disease, not everyone suffers equally. Some people are totally asymptomatic while some have mild infections and can easily recover when treated. Very few are seriously affected. What is the difference between people’s reactions? What is happening inside different people’s bodies? And how do different immune systems support different kinds of people?
What is happening inside different people’s bodies? And how do different immune systems support different kinds of people?
The answer lies in the biological factors of our bodies – these forces can fight any foreign substances and heal our systems. When our immune systems are robust and resilient, our bodies can handle and fight any kind of viruses or bacteria. On the other hand, people who already have a diagnosis of diabetes, hypertension, cancer, obesity, or heart disease (all chronic diseases) are in the category of high risk. According to functional medicine, the common denominator of all these diseases is inflammation.
What is inflammation, you might ask? Inflammation is the body’s natural mechanism for healing, by secreting chemicals called pro-inflammatory mediators. However, if the process of inflammation continues rapidly and this goes unaddressed, the body will be in systemic low-grade inflammation, one of the main causes of autoimmune disease. To provide an example, with obesity, especially with those who have pot bellies, the fat around their abdominal organs secretes pro-inflammatory chemicals such as adipokines. And referencing the chronic diseases mentioned above, CRP is the known inflammatory marker in all these conditions.
People with comorbidities have altered immune systems – either over heightened or immune deficient systems. Under these hostile conditions, if infected with COVID-19, their immune systems are non-resilient in fighting the virus and the outcomes could be fatal. Nevertheless, despite all the developments and sophistication in the field of medicine, we are in a global health crisis today. Looking back, our ancestors didn’t have antibiotics or immunizations, but they lived happy, healthy lives. What was special about their lifestyles and food habits that is missing in ours today? Our ancestors respected nature. They ate right.
With the withdrawal from ancient wisdom, I was able to see the interconnectedness of micro-cosom and macro-cosom (soil and plant intelligence). Wild, heirloom plants/trees have innate intelligence and are drought, virus, fungus, and insect resistant. They can survive harsh and extreme climatic conditions.
Overall, the memories and experiences of these conditions are registered in the plants’ genomes, which in turn give instructions to the plant cells for survival. As examples of more survival mechanisms, plants can grow long roots to reach deep water in the ground, and this is especially beneficial during times of drought. Moreover, trees secrete different pigments and chemical compounds to keep predators away. These unique compositions in plants and trees are called phytonutrients.
On another interesting note, when we consume these plants, they have an instigating effect on our immune systems; they make us resilient as well (immune phenotyping and immune rejuvenation).
Therefore, it is safe to say that FOOD IS INFORMATION – to our genes.
In all, all these compounds mentioned above work at the level of genetic expression – making vital progenitor cells. The old senile cells are macrophaged and room is made for the young vital cells. These plant molecules serve as conditionally essential nutrients. In any chronic condition, there is a long latency nutrient deficiency, which leads to having a compromised immune system.
By cultivating and consuming these heirloom varieties, respecting Nature, understanding the biochemical innate intelligence in soil and plants, one can strengthen his or her immunity.