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Balance Immune Function

The skin is an integral part of our immune system and is one of your main physical barriers to the outside world. If overall immune function is restricted, it’s easy to presume the skin could face instability and skin issues may arise. Accordingly, restoring stable immune function can help reclaim our skin health and potentially even reverse seborrheic dermatitis progression.

Basics of Regaining Control of Your Immune System

Regaining control of the immune system and improving it’s ability to defend out bodies is a huge topic with a large variety of variables. Many of the main aspects of improving immunity have already been discussed throughout this book in the various sections (most found in the immune section).

The most prominent advice in this area includes:

  • Obtain adequate nutrition from diet
  • Maintain adequate amounts of physical activity and exercise
  • Reduce levels of chronic stress by learning to cope and/or avoid it
  • Increase consumption of omega 3 rich foods

These are general suggestions, but keeping things general may actually be favorable as long as you follow the advice.

Over-thinking things on the other hand may actually be counterproductive. If we worry and stress too much about our immune system, there is a chance we may be introducing a source of chronic stress into our lives. Just try to do as much good things for your body as possible, without worrying too much about all the small details.

In addition to the general recommendations above, there are specific nutrients which have been shown to be especially important for immune system stability. Specifically, emphasizing foods rich in the following nutrients may be of use:

  • Vitamin A – protects membrane lipids and essential for a variety of immune cells [1, 2]
  • Vitamin E – protects membrane lipids and and can improve the immune response [3, 4]
  • Vitamin D – vital for calcium absorption and overall immune function [5, 6]
  • Vitamin C – protects membrane lipids and major role in disease prevention [7, 8, 9]
  • Omega 3s – modulates inflammation and controls the immune response [10, 11, 12]
  • Selenium – essential for adequate immunity, hormone production and vital resistance [pubmed id=”3552651,18384097,12142958″]

But once again, singling out specific nutrients and supplementation may not be as useful as eating a well rounded diet based on fresh local foods. Too much focus can actually drain your energy from the bigger picture.

Finding a sustainable approach is key
Though specific foods may provide an excellent source of these nutrients, it may be wise to actually pick the foods you enjoy. By eating the foods you actually enjoy you build a dietary approach that will actually withstand the test of time. The aim is to shift your diet into one that is healthy, stress-free and sustainable. Not to force yourself to eat foods you don’t like.

Identify Outstanding Health Issues

Another important aspect of stabilizing immune function is to actually address any outstanding health issues you may be facing. If you have a health issue that has been lingering around for a substantial amount of time, your immune system is likely drained and potentially unstable.

Thus, taking care of any your outstanding health issues will take a drastic load off your immune system and allow valuable resources to be freed up for other tasks. This may lead to overall improvement of your health and the condition of your skin.

This, however, is quite a complex task and self-diagnosis can do more harm then good. The best way to approach this would be to consult a local medial professional and undergo the recommended medical examinations.

Not all health conditions have a straightforward solution
Some chronic health conditions may not be fully reversible. As a result, getting rid of the health condition all together is not always possible. At the very least attempts should definitely be made to educate yourself on the condition and to minimize it’s progression.

Implement Caloric Restriction and Fasting

Numerous studies have shown that fasting and caloric restriction can have drastic effects on stabilizing immune function and can even reduce the effects of aging. Unfortunately, modern society has almost completely abandoned this ancient practice.

To underline the power of fasting, consider the following documented effects of fasting:

  • Can improve immune function, restore cognitive health and increase lifespan [13]
  • Helpful in improving clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis [14]
  • Preventative of a variety of chronic diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease and diabetes [15]
  • May retard the development of metabolic disease [15]

Thus, learning to implement at-least some level of fasting into your life may have profound effects on your health, your immunity and ultimately your seborrheic dermatitis.

Section Summary

This introduce the main factors affecting the immune system and provided some ideas on how we can improve it’s functioning. Key action items include:

  1. Eat a well balanced diet focused on whole foods
  2. Obtain adequate amounts of physical activity
  3. Minimize sources of chronic stress and build coping strategies
  4. Increase consumption of foods rich in omega 3 and selenium
  5. Increase consumptions of foods rich in vitamins A, E, D, and C
  6. Don’t over complicate things
  7. Find a sustainable and low maintenance approach
  8. Factor out and address any other outstanding health issues
  9. Utilize caloric restriction and fasting to jump start immunity

References

  1. R D Semba "Vitamin A, immunity, and infection." Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 19.3 (1995): 489-99. PubMed
  2. C B Stephensen "Vitamin A, infection, and immune function." Annual review of nutrition 21 (2001): 167-92. PubMed
  3. B E Sheffy, R D Schultz "Influence of vitamin E and selenium on immune response mechanisms." Federation proceedings 38.7 (1979): 2139-43. PubMed
  4. Philip C Calder, Samantha Kew "The immune system: a target for functional foods?" The British journal of nutrition 88 Suppl 2 (2002): S165-77. PubMed
  5. Cynthia Aranow "Vitamin D and the immune system." Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research 59.6 (2011): 881-6. PubMed
  6. Martin Hewison "Vitamin D and immune function: an overview." The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 71.1 (2012): 50-61. PubMed
  7. Alexander Strufhle, Andreas Hahn "[Vitamin C and immune function]." Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten 32.2 (2009): 49-54; quiz 55-6. PubMed
  8. W R Thomas, P G Holt "Vitamin C and immunity: an assessment of the evidence." Clinical and experimental immunology 32.2 (1978): 370-9. PubMed
  9. Angela Sorice, Eliana Guerriero, Francesca Capone, Giovanni Colonna, Giuseppe Castello, Susan Costantini "Ascorbic acid: its role in immune system and chronic inflammation diseases." Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry 14.5 (2014): 444-52. PubMed
  10. Artemis P Simopoulos "Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases." Journal of the American College of Nutrition 21.6 (2002): 495-505. PubMed
  11. David Ergas, Eran Eilat, Shlomo Mendlovic, Zeev M Sthoeger "n-3 fatty acids and the immune system in autoimmunity." The Israel Medical Association journal : IMAJ 4.1 (2002): 34-8. PubMed
  12. Philip C Calder "Immunomodulation by omega-3 fatty acids." Prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and essential fatty acids 77.5-6 (2007): 327-35. PubMed
  13. Sebastian Brandhorst, In Young Choi, Min Wei, Chia Wei Cheng, Sargis Sedrakyan, Gerardo Navarrete, Louis Dubeau, Li Peng Yap, Ryan Park, Manlio Vinciguerra, Stefano Di Biase, Hamed Mirzaei, Mario G Mirisola, Patra Childress, Lingyun Ji, Susan Groshen, Fabio Penna, Patrizio Odetti, Laura Perin, Peter S Conti, Yuji Ikeno, Brian K Kennedy, Pinchas Cohen, Todd E Morgan, Tanya B Dorff, Valter D Longo "A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan." Cell metabolism 22.1 (2015): 86-99. PubMed
  14. Harunobu Nakamura, Kaori Shimoji, Katsuyasu Kouda, Rikio Tokunaga, Hiroichi Takeuchi "An adult with atopic dermatitis and repeated short-term fasting." Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science 22.5 (2003): 237-40. PubMed
  15. Valter D Longo, Mark P Mattson "Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications." Cell metabolism 19.2 (2014): 181-92. PubMed
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About Michael Anders

After being affected by seborrheic dermatitis, I have made it my goal to gather and organize all the information that has helped me in my journey.

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