Friday, November 15, 2013

The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan Blum, M.D., M.P.H.


So I am a huge dork. For those of you who may not know me, I enjoy reading about nerdy stuff like our bodies and the atomic bomb. For those of you who do know me- you understand. This book is my latest greatest find! After spending a few hours up at the local library trying to work on a paper, I managed to browse through a few isles and stumbled upon this book. It caught my attention, not just because the Immune System is one of my favorite body systems, but ever since I've been a child I've experienced a fair share of allergic reactions. When a foreign object enters into our bodies, our immune system protects us by attacking this foreign object. It does this by causing inflammation, which results in an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction simply means that your immune system is fighting off a foreign invader. I often joke that I was the lucky child that received all the family problems since I've probably dealt with any type of allergic reaction you can think of including swelling of my eyes and lips, hives, and eczema. Fortunately, many of these conditions don't last more than a few days, but they always seem to come back at some point.

This books outlines a 4 step program that can be used to treat Autoimmune Diseases. Autoimmune Disease is an umbrella term for any condition in which the immune system, instead of attacking foreign invaders, attacks your own tissue. This can occur anywhere in the body, and as you can assume, causes a great deal of damage to body tissue. Autoimmune diseases cover a wide range of conditions, including celiac disease (an allergy to gluten), Grave's disease (hyperthyroidism), Hashimoto's disease (hypothyroidism), lupus (attacks DNA), multiple sclerosis (attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord), rheumatoid arthritis (attacks joints and tissue), and Sjorgen's syndrome (which causes excessive dryness because mucus-secreting glands are damaged). All of these conditions are characterized by different symptoms, yet they all stem from the same problem- a misbehaving immune system. This program uses four steps to clean out the body and restore balance back to a chaotic immune system. These steps involve
  1. Using Food as Medicine
  2. Understanding the Stress Connection
  3. Healing your Gut
  4. Supporting your Liver
It wasn't until I started reading this book that I discovered that my earlier diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, also known as Grave's Disease, is also considered an autoimmune disease. It is characterized by the stimulation of the thyroid gland by antibodies, which cause it to release excessive amounts of the thyroxine hormone (T4) into the bloodstream. Some of the classic symptoms include weight loss, rapid pulse, heart palpitations, restlessness, intolerable to warmth, protruding eyes, insomnia, diarrhea, and irritability. My body had shed 20 pounds in 2 weeks because of my increased metabolism (trust me, not a healthy way to lose weight), my heart rate had peaked around 106 beats per minute (bpm) and was producing a murmur, it was impossible for me to sit still, and I would get hives all over my body when I wore clothes that were too warm or tight. The doctor told me to quit playing soccer for a year to avoid any heart complications and gave me some medications to take. Eventually my hyperthyroidism subsided (no more fast metabolism) and I could return to soccer. This happened back in high school and luckily I haven't had any issues since. The thing is, all these flare ups indicate that there is something terribly wrong with my immune system, not because of how I was born or my genetic makeup, but mostly because of what I was eating. Even though my hyperthyroidism is hereditary (my mother has hypothyroidism), I realized that by watching what I eat, eliminating certain foods, and incorporating more beneficial food items and supplements, my over-reactive autoimmune response could be controlled without the need for any medications!

All this background is to inform you why this book is so significant to me, and why I believe it might change your life as well, even if you don't suffer from any Autoimmune disorders. I have started reading this book only recently and I've already learned so much about our bodies and how it communicates with food on a molecular level. I know all this sounds really dorky, but this stuff is really important and can mean the difference between simply living until you get sick, or thriving at your body's best. If you suffer from any of those diseases or are simply just interested in establishing healthier eating habits, join me as I journey through this book and challenge myself to live for the better. :)

- Linda

Here it the website for the program: http://www.immuneprogram.com/the-immune-system-recovery-plan/about-the-book.html

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I remember back in McDaniel's biology class you mentioned you had thyroid problems. I'm dorky enough that I'd enjoy the book too :). It's something many people could benefit from.

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    1. Thank you for reading! I'm glad you share my interest. :) and I completely agree, so many times people complain of health issues that could have been easily reminded by changing the way they ea

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