Pathology Testing: How It Can Benefit Your Immune System

by Angela Prest - Naturopath & Nutritionist on June 1, 2015 · 0 comments

Sick of getting sick all the time?

 Boost your Immune system by testing and correcting your nutrient deficiencies.

Do you always get sick during the winter months or pick up whatever is going around the office / home? Have you ever wondered why you get sick more often and take longer to recover than those around you?

There are ways you can prevent this from happening this year. You could be deficient in the vital nutrients which your immune system relies upon to build immune fighting cells.

Did you know that Naturopaths can request blood tests for you to pick up deficiencies that could be leaving you open to a weaker immune system?

Here’s the top nutrients that we check to ensure your immune system has a fighting chance:

ZINC – a very common deficiency due to our zinc poor soils. Zinc deficiency  leads to decreased cell-mediated immune response, reducing T-lymphocytes, impairing macrophage function, natural killer cells and antibody-dependant cytotoxicity. Many soils in Australia are Zinc deficient, so your food may be lower in zinc than you think. A department of agriculture study found most soil in WA to be zinc deficient.

IRON – deficiency is often associated with fatigue and cognitive deficits, however, iron is also involved in immune resilience. Poor immunity could be due to iron deficiency and decreased antibody synthesis, T and B cell ratios. Women with heavy or long menstruation need to be especially mindful of their iron levels.

VITAMIN D – most cells of the immune system use vitamin D, including T and B cells, natural killer cells, antigen-presenting cells. In Australia, vitamin D is often deficient due to many reasons, including reduced exposure to the sun or pharmaceutical drug intake that inhibits absorption.

A three year study, showed that supplementation with Vitamin D almost eliminated the occurrence of yearly colds. You don’t make vitamin D through most sunscreens or through exposure though a sunny window. In winter,  to make enough vitamin D, you need exposure in the middle of the day over a large portion of your body.

SELENIUM – plays a vital role it an antioxidant glutathione which cleans up after attack from infection, which is innate, so you don’t even know it is doing this job. Selenium deficiency results in depression of immune function and cell mediated response.

Naturopath’s look for a target or optimal level of these nutrients, rather than just within the (often wide) “normal reference range.” For example, if the range for stored iron (ferritin) in women is  20 – 290, if you’re 22, you’re considered normal, but most people don’t feel optimal energy until they are at a range of 50-80.  A study found that women with ferritin under 50, who are not anaemic often feel fatigued. We recommend that you always ask for copies of your own blood test results and look at where you are within the normal range. If you’re in the top or bottom 10-20%, this may  or may not be optimal for your body and is worth consideration.

Boosting nutrients that are deficient can take up to four months, as some are stored on red blood cells, which live for 120 days, so testing them now and boosting them over the coming months is the key to prevention and good recovery. Many people make the mistake of only taking iron for a month or two, then wonder why they get sick or tired again a few months later. It wasn’t taken for long enough to build up in the red blood cells and stay at optimum levels.

It’s important to test your levels before you supplement at high doses or self prescribing, as taking nutrients you don’t need is a waste of money and not beneficial to your body. The benefit of testing is that if you are very deficient, you may need to supplement short term with much higher levels than available in standard over the counter vitamin / mineral products. Getting the right advice about dosage for your needs from a Naturopath will get you the best results. For example the Naturopaths at Vibe Natural Health often see people taking 1000 iu of Vitamin D every day. If you’re quite deficient, this dose is inadequate to correct the problem.

Often nutritional pathology tests (with the exception of Iron) are no longer covered by Medicare, therefore Naturopaths can also request them at a low cost and specifically target an immune fighting formula specific to your needs. During a consultation you also get to learn which foods are high in these nutrients, as our aim is to educate and enable you to become self-reliable.

If you’d like to get proactive about boosting your immunity this winter, book in for a consult with one of our Naturopaths, who are all qualified Nutritionists and we’ll help you get your immune system fighting fit!

This post was written by...

– who has written 12 posts on Vibe Natural Health Blog.

Angela Prest is a Brisbane Naturopath working from Vibe Natural Health - a leading integrative natural medicine centre at The Grange. She has a wealth of practical knowledge around healthy eating and offers Hemaview live blood analysis to monitor cellular health. Angela enjoys helping people with nutrition and herbal solutions for : Digestive conditions and Detoxification, Weight Loss, Cardiovascular health - cholesterol and heart disease, Skin conditions, including Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Allergic conditions including Dermatitis & Sinusitis, Preconception care and Post-labour care and Men's Health, including fertility, Andropause and Prostate conditions. To book an appointment with Angela call 07 3366 7970 or book online at http://www.vibenaturalhealth.com.au Phone or Skype appointments are available to those living outside of Brisbane.

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