Research has found a new pathway in treating the flu virus.
This pathway, unlike a vaccine or antiviral, is not specifically targeted at the virus itself. Instead, this potential new flu therapy works with the first lines of defense in the immune system. As you may already know, the immune system’s first line of defense is:
- Something that is called “non-specific.”
- This means that once the immune system recognizes a pathogen or even a piece of debris in the body, it simply goes after it.
- This is unlike more advanced stages of the immune response, where there is a lifetime “memory” of the pathogen.
- The first line of defense contains a number of immune cells that respond to a pathogen in a non-specific, general way.
Your immune system’s first line of defense is quick to spot an unwanted guest. This first line of defense is also full of hungry immune cells. This means that several of the immune cells are programmed to swallow any pathogenic cells, stray particles, or debris. The most efficient of the hungry immune cells is a type of white blood cell called a macrophage.
If you feel flu symptoms coming on, boost your immunity naturally with healthy bacteria found in fermented foods and beverages. A healthy inner ecology means a robust immune system to fight off the attack of the flu!
Macrophages are the largest of the hungry immune cells. The name literally means “big eater.”
- A macrophage can swallow a large number of bacteria, microbes, and other particles.
- Macrophages can move outside the vascular system and into tissue.
- When a macrophage is present in the tissue, it has a special name. This depends on which part of the body it can be found in.
- For example, macrophages positioned in the lung tissue are called “dust cells” because they literally pick up and dispose of all the dust and debris that we inhale on a daily basis.
Remember, dust cells are big-eater immune cells that are positioned specifically in lung tissue.
- Dust cells are also called alveolar macrophages.
- The lung tissue is made up of little balloon-like structures called alveolar sacs that fill with air when we inhale.
You can see why dust cells would want to hang out in the lung tissue: there is a lot of opportunity to protect these delicate little sacs from outside debris and pathogens.
Recently, scientists found that when they administered something called GM-CSF (granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor) to the lungs of mice, the mice were protected from a lethal dose of the flu virus. It turns out that GM-CSF protects the body against the flu virus because it encourages the growth of dust cells! (1)
- Researchers tested several strains of influenza.
- This includes H1N1, H3N2, and the 2009 California pandemic strain of H1N1.
- Every mouse that was given GM-CSF survived an otherwise lethal dose of the flu virus.
- GM-CSF encourages the growth of dust cells, which are an important part of the immune system’s first line of defense.
GM-CSF is a type of chemical messenger that talks to specific cells in the body and asks the body to build up the army of the immune system. In other words, GM-CSF stimulates the production of a number of cells that are incredibly important to the immune system’s first line of defense. This includes macrophages and macrophages called “dust cells,” which are special macrophages that live in the tissue of the lungs.
Dust cells, or hungry macrophages located in the lung tissue, have no memory of a virus. They simply attack when needed. It turns out that this lack of memory is to the advantage of the entire body. Viruses are highly skilled at changing what they look like and at becoming drug-resistant. To a macrophage, this means very little. A macrophage will still mount an attack and gobble up whatever it reads as foreign.
The trick? Getting enough macrophages on the scene in time to fight off a viral infection.
- This is exactly why GM-CSF was so successful at preserving the lives of mice that were infected with a lethal dose of the flu virus.
- GM-CSF rallies the troops and builds numbers.
Research into GM-CSF is still in progress. For example, scientists do not know if GM-CSF administered after infection will be just as effective as GM-CSF given before infection. We also do not know whether a high dose of GM-CSF is safe.
This is why it is important to look for ways to naturally stimulate the production of this important chemical messenger. Because GM-CSF is a chemical messenger, it can be administered from an outside source to encourage the production of dust cells. We saw this with the mice that survived a lethal dose of the flu virus. But your body also naturally makes its own GM-CSF.
- You can make sure that your body is producing enough GM-CSF by simply consuming fermented foods on a daily basis.
- It turns out that many lactic acid bacteria involved in fermentation have also been found to stimulate GM-CSF. (2)
- Human breast milk also contains certain lactic acid bacteria that produce GM-CSF. This gives the breastfed infant a powerful immune army with which to protect itself. (3)
A Healthy Inner Ecology Strengthens the Immune System
Remember, the lungs and the digestive system are both our body’s first filters that screen whatever comes into our body from the outside environment. This means:
- The air that we breathe.
- The food that we eat.
- The beverages that we drink.
For this reason, the lungs and the digestive system are uniquely related. These systems are also the most susceptible to an acute infection. However, when the lungs and digestive system are healthy, they are both fully equipped to handle outside invaders.
After over three decades of research, Donna Gates has made it easier than ever to incorporate beneficial bacteria back into the diet. In traditional diets, these living and bacteria-rich foods were served on a daily basis, if not with every meal.
- Traditional cultures did not know about chemical messengers like GM-CSF.
- Now science is showing us why these traditional diets were so nourishing.
- Unfortunately, the standard American diet does not promote the consumption of these powerful and immune-boosting foods.
The Body Ecology Core Programs contain all the elements needed to strengthen the lining of gut, promote digestive health, and nourish the communities of beneficial bacteria in the body - giving you more protection against this season’s flu virus!
What to Remember Most About This Article:
Scientists have discovered new ways to stimulate the growth of dust cells, hungry immune cells that filter dust and debris from the lungs. When scientists administered the chemical messenger GM-CSF to mice, it encouraged the growth of dust cells so that the mice were resistant to lethal doses of the flu.
You can also stimulate your immune system to fight off viral infection with large doses of beneficial bacteria. By eating fermented foods each day, it will support your inner ecology and strengthen your immune system to better filter air, food, and beverages on a daily basis. This is exactly why traditional diets full of bacteria-rich foods naturally boosted immunity. By going back to your roots, you can protect your health and resist the flu virus this season!
- Huang FF, Barnes PF, Feng Y, Donis R, Chroneos ZC, Idell S, Allen T, Perez DR, Whitsett JA, Dunussi-Joannopoulos K, & Shams H (2011). GM-CSF in the lung protects against lethal influenza infection. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 184 (2), 259-68.
- S. Guglielmetti, et al. A dairy bacterium displays in vitro probiotic properties for the pharyngeal mucosa by antagonizing group A streptococci and modulating the immune response. Infect Immun. 2010 Nov; 78 (11): 4734-43. Epub 2010 Aug 23.
- Perez-Cano F.J., Dong H., Yaqoob P. In vitro immunomodulatory activity of Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 and Lactobacillus salivarius CECT5713: two probiotic strains isolated from human breast milk. Immunobiology. 2010; 215 (12): 996-1004.