What is Real Immunity?

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, immunity is "a condition of being able to resist a particular disease especially through preventing development of a pathogenic microorganism or by counteracting the effects of its products”

But, I think Real Immunity* is more than avoiding disease.  Real Immunity is a state of health and harmony with the world around us (and in us).  Our immune system is a marvelous creation that helps to keep our body in balance.

In the 1860’s Louis Pasteur introduced the “germ theory” of disease and our war on microbes began.  It was theorized that germs were the cause of disease and that we needed to destroy the germs to survive.  His contemporary, Antoine Bechamp argued that the underlying condition of our body determines the risk of disease, not just the germs itself.  In his “terrain theory” he postulated that a weak body attracted disease, while a healthy body resisted it.  Rumor has it that Louis Pasteur himself admitted on his death bed that there was more merit to the terrain theory, but modern medicine had set out on a new course by then.

More recently, we have realized that while our bodies are composed of approximately 30 trillion “human” cells… we play host to at least the same number of bacteria, viruses and fungi. (1) We are actually more bacteria than human.  We need those organisms—our body’s microbiomes— to survive and thrive.  If the germ theory was true, none of us would survive the trillions of bacteria that reside in and on us.  

We survive because real immunity is woven into our creation, it is encoded in the DNA of every cell of our body.  Our body is designed to interact with the world around us and assess the risks, responding to the few threats & tolerating the rest.

Our immune system starts to develop in week 14 of gestation when our thymus gland begins to develop.  During the last few weeks of gestation antibodies from mom pass through the placenta to give initial protection against dangerous organisms.  And mom’s breast milk continues to pass protective antibodies as an infant grows and develops their own immune responses.  As babies are nurtured over the first few months, it stimulates their thymus gland continues to grow and thrive.  The journey of Real Immunity continues throughout our lifetime.

Ideally, our first interaction with bacteria occurs as we pass through the birth canal.  The bacteria in the birth canal colonizes our guts with bacterial species that will persist through out our lifetime.  (It is well established that babies that miss this passage can have immune problems that manifest as things like asthma, allergies, eczema and even developmental disorders.)

As we encounter bacteria, viruses and fungi our immune system has innate wisdom to assess risk and respond accordingly, slowly but surely developing protective responses without overreacting.  A healthy body responds in a balanced way.  As parents there are lots of things we can do to help our child’s immune system to develop in a healthy way… keeping the rest of the body healthy in the process.  Essential nutrients, clean whole foods, reducing toxic exposures, supporting gut bacteria, etc go a long way towards creating a healthy terrain.

Modern vaccine theory is still largely founded on the germ theory of disease.  It is designed to create a specific antibody response to a specific bacteria or virus.  However, estimates are that there are at least a trillion species of bacteria alone on our planet, and that number doesn’t include viruses and fungi (2).  And, those microbes have innate intelligence of their own.  Life changes and adapts to survive.  When microbes are “attacked” by antibiotics and vaccines, they adapt, making our attempts to control them obsolete.  So, whether you are “pro-vaccine” or an “anti-vaxer” I think we can all agree that supporting the body’s innate immune system is a good idea.  The current vaccine schedule covers ~38 different strains bacteria or viruses.  That is 38 out of over a trillion potential threats.  Real Immunity can assess all of those as well as compensate for the shifting changes in bacteria and viruses, just as it has done for millennia.  Real Immunity is foundational to Real Health.

* Not to be confused with the movie “Real Immunity”.  But you should watch it. Find out more here

1. NCBI - Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body
2. Newsweek - New Estimate: There Are 1 Trillion Species of Microbes on Earth