Interesting Immune System Article

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by TerriM, Apr 3, 2003.

  1. TerriM

    TerriM New Member

    I found this article and thought it was interesting. My immune system blood work has so far been normal, however, I keep getting opportunistic urinary & vaginal infections as well as have a chronic sinus infection. My doctor mentioned an IgA issue to me so this could possibly be important info . . . Hope it helps others, too.


    Two major aspects of healthy immune function are mucosal and humoral immunity. The mucosal immune system consists of the lining tissues of the body that defends us against infectious organisms such as bacteria, virus, yeast, parasites and food antigens. The mucosal immune system also protects us from the entry of harmful toxins from chemicals and heavy metals. Our humoral, or blood immunity, represents the ability of immune cells in the blood to fight and neutralize harmful agents.

    These two basic functions of the immune system can be easily measured using Functional Diagnostic lab tests. The strength of our mucosal barrier function, or our mucosal immunity can be assessed with the salivary mucosal barrier screen test. The humoral immune system's reaction to candida can be measured by the Candida antibodies/DNA panel. Both mucosal and humoral immunity are required for our body's to fight infections and handle food antigens.

    Symptoms of suppressed mucosal immunity include chronic sinus infections or sinus congestion, susceptibility to colds and flus, intestinal upset, food allergies, environmental allergies to pollens, animals. Suppressed humoral immunity is a more advanced condition that results from mucosal barrier dysfunction. This condition is common in people with chronic health problems such as chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, depression and food reactions.

    Further immune system function can be measured by testing antibodies to gluten, milk dairy, soy, corn and rice. Food reactions are the most frequent hidden cause of immune system problems. Genetic, autoimmune conditions such as gluten intolerance affect millions of Americans. Lactose intolerance and cow's milk dairy allergies are a leading cause of sinus problems and excessive mucous production. Corn and soy allergies are also increasingly common.

    Salivary testing also detects the level of secretory immunoglobin A, referred to as 'SIgA', a vital, if long unrecognized component of the immune system.

    In a healthy body, SIgA protects us from opportunistic infections (e.g., parasites, bacteria, yeast, virus) and reactions to foods. SIgA is a thin, healthy, mucous-like substance that provides a physical barrier of defense in all the lining tissues of the body. SIgA defense is found in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, sinus passages, throat, mouth, vaginal tract, and urogenital system. When SIgA is depressed, we become susceptible to a wide range of infectious organisms, environmental allergens such as pollens and molds, and can become reactive to the very foods we eat.

    Stress and Immune Function
    Cortisol, the "stress hormone", directs the production of special immune cells called immunocytes which produce, SigA, our first line immune defense. If cortisol values are abnormal the ability of immune cells to produce adequate SigA is compromised. This is one reason we get sick so easily when we are stressed. Simply put, prolonged stress results in adrenal exhaustion and depressed first line immune defense opening the door for opportunistic infections.

    Physiological Effects of Stress
    Repair (Anabolic)
    The repair/breakdown or anabolic/catabolic dynamic is one of the most important health principles. Depending on our physical and emotional health we are at all times shifting between a repair (anabolic) or breakdown (catabolic) state. Being in an anabolic state means you are rebuilding, repairing, literally re-constructing your body's tissues. Being in a repair state is like renovating a house by painting, landscaping and replacing a leaky roof. Anabolic refers to your immune system's rebuilding processes. When you are anabolic, your body is in a state of constant regeneration, repairing blood vessels and heart tissue, rebuilding old bone, and even destroying cancerous cells.

    Breakdown (Catabolic)
    The opposite process, a breakdown state, is referred to as a catabolic state. The word catabolic is from the same Greek root as the word cataclysm, meaning disaster. It is a well-chosen term since too much time spent in a catabolic state has disastrous effects on your health. This breakdown or destruction phase occurs when your body is operating under stressful conditions and isn't able to repair itself adequately. Under catabolic conditions we breakdown our own muscle, our own organs and our own bone. This breakdown ultimately leads to degenerative diseases.

    We maintain a strong immune system when our bodies spend more time in repairing than breaking down. A healthy immune system prevents the development of many chronic degenerative diseases. For example, we have cancer cells that grow in us each day and it's our immune system's job to destroy those cells so that tumors don't develop. Our blood vessels and heart require constant renewal to prevent the plaquing that causes cardiovascular disease. Our bodies are constantly breaking down and repairing bone and joint tissue; if this breakdown process is blocked, osteoporosis and arthritis occur. Prolonged immune system stress can lead the body to attack itself resulting in autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

    Your health status, whether you are predominantly in a repair state or breakdown state, can be measured by a variety of lab tests. This information allows you to address chronic degenerative diseases in their earliest stages, long before a pathological condition has developed.
  2. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    You can get IGg, IGa, IGe, etc. immune testing done on blood by any allergist, and it is a whole lot more accurate than saliva.
    My last tests showed my immunity to be activated as if it were under assault. Because nothing could be done about knowing this unsettling fact, I have not repeated the tests. I do make sure, however, that I do not take immune stimulants such as echinacea.
    Alt. Practitioners push saliva tests because they cannot legally order blood tests in most states, not because of accuracy, though they never admit this. (I am only a dissertation away from being an N.D. myself and am not making this up). One reason I wanted to become an N.D. is because the two systems of medicine are so polarized, and tend to completely mistrust each other, whereas I feel there is good, and bad, in both systems.
    Thanks for posting this,
  3. TerriM

    TerriM New Member

    Yes, I've had tons of immune testing done in blood, but I didn't realize the mucus system is a different first defense. My Dr. told me a couple of weeks ago he was going to look into IgA problems because that is indicated by chronic sinus infections (I have a structural sinus problem also) . . . I know my immune system is overactivated also, but have always wondered why that if it is overactivated, why do I get these weird infections common in the immune compromised . . . I guess it is an immune imbalance either way . . . Terri
  4. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Your immune system has two sides, that alternate back and forth as needed. One side handles things like yeasts, cancer, stealth bacteria and viruses, and the other handles allergies, chemicals, standard bacteria,etc. I think I got that right, but there are several other threads on this in the library here, so you can check the info. (I'm in the fog in a big way today).
    In our illnesses, the second side is activated to the detriment of the first side, so you have allergies and reactions to all sorts of innocuous substances, while at the same time being more susceptible to other things like yeast infections and mycoplasma infections.
    It sounds like your doctor is very conscientious....a rare thing in these days of ten minute appointments.
  5. TerriM

    TerriM New Member

    I am familiar with the TH1 and TH2 areas . . . I think this mucus thing is something different. However, I was convinced after reading Dr. Cheney's article that I was TH2 activated. I went to the immunologist here and talked to him about it. I had a bunch of prick test allergy testing done by him and some immune blood work plus a CT scan of my sinuses. He told me I am not TH-2 activated, because if I was I would have reacted with an allergic reaction to every prick on my skin. I reacted to NONE . . . isn't that bizarre!!?? I've never had allergies in my life . . . that's why this hypersensitivity state is so crazy. What the immunologist said is happening with me is that my immune system is so cranked up on high that it is recognizing everyday things are harmful . . . on high alert. Although something is definitely not right with it . . . it may be on high, but part of it is not working because I continue to have chronic vaginal, urinary tract and sinus infections (UTI's less frequently than the others that are constant) . . . and it keeps being new pathogens that don't cause infections in healthy people. Jeez! At least I have some type of plan for things to keep checking. Just had all of the mycoplasma PCR testing . . .waiting for those results now. Thanks! Terri
  6. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    Interesting article, thanks for posting it!!

    OK, so I'm in the category of having a severely screwed up immune system, as evidenced by my results on the tests mentioned in the article. I have truly severe food allergies, probably had them for years, long before I started having Fibro symptoms.

    So now, for only two or three weeks, I'm on a strict diet of no gluten, soy, milk, corn, etc., etc. plus supplements (the usual suspects like digestive enzymes, probiotics, plus everything I was tested for & deficient in.....) and I fully realize it took me YEARS to get sick, it's going to take me years to try to get well......but am I on the right track at least??? Is there anything else I can do to help repair this broken down immune system that was wrecked by undx'd----til now--- food allergies???

    Thanks for any advice you have, I respect the knowledge & experience people here have on issues that I'm just learning about.....

  7. beckster

    beckster New Member

    interesting posts. I've always wondered what is the scientific explanation for what I've always felt was a problem with bad membranes (but not classic allergies)and a connection with constant infections. If I just wipe dust off the TV or sweep the floor (or go for a ride in the car on a dusty day even with windows up)I immediately get eye and membrane pain , a headache that night, and by the next day or two a full blown sinus infection. Over and over. Or try to do some much loved activities, such as pruning overhead with the loppers, some particulates (dust etc.)
    fall onto my eyes and nose (ears get affected too) and voila, spacey, can't think IMMEDIATELY and later the headache and then after that the full blown infections.
    Terri's article is only the SECOND one I have seen kind of explaining this. I always knew there must be some connection between membrane quality or immunity and the other stuff. (I have no classic allergy stuff, rhinitis, itchy eyes, etc. go figure.)

    The FIRST article I just saw several weeks ago was a bulletin from this site written by the writer/PWC Patti
    Scmidt regarding Dr. Shoemaker's theories and treatments. She is getting improvement after being sick 20 plus years. Anyway, he says that you have to check your MSH levels (melanocyte stimulating hormone) because if leptin level are low (leptin initiates MSH production) you'll have all these weird symptoms:MSH controls defenses(immunity) in the membranes (nose, etc.) ALWAYS KNEW THERE WAS A CONNECTION.
    So thanks, Terri, needed the info;am determined to get well (okay, more well if not totally well)LOL and aint it a b___ having to be your own researcher and doctor as well as
    full time sick!

    By the way, may be either of you can address this. I've always been mystified by allergists. When I was first sick and very ill (85 pounds from 135) my IGG,IGA, and IGE were normal which the allergists themselves couldn't understand.
    I had practically no cell mediated immunity (CMI) and low
    complement (hypocomplement). So they could tell my immunity was way low; I wheeled to lots of things (not foods) but did not respond to allergy shots and don't have classic allergies (just the "neurological" ones). I never found the allergists particulary helpful, either.

    Terri, I guess our immune systems can be overactive in some functions but underactive in other ways? Looking forward to your responses.

  8. TerriM

    TerriM New Member

    Yes, I think it is that there are several portions of the immune system (or parts) and they aren't all bad, and we have to figure out which part. I would say we both have possibly the same issue. My doctor said chronic sinus issues are most closely related to an IgA defect which is what I think they are talking about in this article . . . makes sense with the mucus producing areas being affected. I think I had one IgA test done and it was normal, but they may need to dig deeper.

    Also, you might want to get a CT-Scan of your sinuses if you haven't and then have a sinus specialist look in there. They have found a structural problem in mine (caused by a deviated septum surgery years ago) where the Dr. created "windows" or extra holes in my sinuses and now the mucus, instead of clearing, is going around and around in a sort of feedback loop. The dr. explained that when this happens any allergen that gets in there just stays and grows . . . this almost sounds like the same for you. They can only fix it with surgery, but I can't undergo any surgery until I can get my hypersensitivity under control (and the sinus issue may be causing that . . . jeez, what a Catch-22, huh????) . . . I would like to read the article in the library that you mentioned. I don't know if I've seen that one . . . Thanks!!!! Terri
  9. TerriM

    TerriM New Member

    of the article you mentioned? I looked in the library here under Patti Schmidt & Dr. Shoemaker and didn't find it . . . my e-mail is in my profile . . . could you post it here to me or e-mail a copy to me?? Would love to read it . . . Thanks . . . hope you see this!!!! Terri
  10. beckster

    beckster New Member

    but am new to computer and don't know yet how to "send" it to you. A guy is coming over nextweek to help me with some things so I will then. Meantime, it was a bulletin, the kind that they notify you via email. Funny you didn't see it; maybe check under neurotoxin. Later- Beckster Oh, also
    be careful, check out the surgery stuff carefully. I've had two friends do it and they both ended up worse off.
  11. TerriM

    TerriM New Member

    What format do you have the article in now? I could walk you through how to send it . . . I'll check again, though in the library.

    Also, yes I do not want surgery, but I have no choice on this one. I had deviated septum surgery 10 years ago (probably a huge mistake, but I was young and didn't know it) . . . when they did that, they put windows in my sinuses . . . that is what is causing this bad sinus problem now . . . it is structural and cannot be fixed with ABX, etc. Also, nasal rinses are the worst thing for me because the mucus is stuck in there circling around and then the saline does the same thing . . . what a mess! I came down with CFS after abdominal surgery, so actually never want to have surgery again, but they think this sinus thing may be the underlying issue here . . . its such a bad infection. The guy who found it at Vanderbilt started there in 1968 & he said he's never seen one this bad before . . . YIKES! Anyway, I am investigating other things before deciding on surgery, that's for sure!!!! Terri