Speaker 1: More than 5,700 people in Virginia have been diagnosed with Covid 19. And as those case numbers rise, a growing number of people are recovering. And Dr. Erica Steele from Holistic Family Practice in Virginia Beats joins us to learn more about how the body’s immune system works. Dr. Steele, good to see.
Speaker 2: Hi. Good to see you too, Cheryl.
Speaker 1: We’ve heard much about our immune system, but what does it do?
Speaker 2: So our immune system, very simply, I love the immune system, by the way. It’s one of my favorite systems. What it does is it just recognizes self from non-self. So anything that’s not self, it’s gonna attack. And anything that’s self, hopefully, if there’s not an autoimmune condition on board, will protect. So that’s pretty much simply how it is.
Speaker 1: But it’s interesting, though, because sometimes your body will start to attack things that are self, so to speak, but it shouldn’t be different. Yeah.
Speaker 2: That’s for our community. Yeah, that’s where autoimmunity happens. Okay. Yeah, exactly where the body is, but that happens because the body is overwhelmed with things. So I want people to understand it’s not just if you if let’s say, you contract covid 19, it’s not just that one thing that’s gonna affect it.
It’s almost like balancing scales, right? So let’s say your body is eating a lot of sugar, you’re stressing out, you’re not working. You’ve got some bacteria going; you’re not digesting well. So all those things will build on the stress of the immune system, right? And then this virus comes along, and it’s one more thing.
It just can’t handle it. And so we see that a lot in autoimmune cases like Hashimoto thyroiditis. Sore rheumatoid arthritis is where the body just can’t identify itself from non-self because it’s being bombarded with pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and things like that but also heavy metals and chemicals in our environment. So it’s not just one thing; it’s a combination of things that either build health or, unfortunately, disease process.
Speaker 1: Can you do specific lab tests to find out how well your immune system is?.
Speaker 2: Yeah, I really have an expanded CBC, a comprehensive blood count that’s gonna look at more of the expanded white blood cell count.
If lymphocytes are high or low white blood cell counts are low. A lot of times, too, if a patient’s undergoing, let’s say, chemotherapy or some immune treatment, those numbers will be skewed, but working with your oncologist, they’ll advise against that. Another marker that should be of interest is a sino.
When eosinophils are elevated in your CBC panel, that indicates food allergy. And also parasitic infection, but more so food allergy response. So if you’re not eating healthy, that number will definitely be high on your lab report.
Speaker 1: Interesting. And I know many people are buying supplements to support their immune systems, especially with covid 19 going around. Vitamin C I’ve seen it was seen as sold out in so many places.
Yeah. Should we buy things like this and take these supplements?
Speaker 2: Yes, it’s an excellent supportive measure, but nothing can replace food. Food is number one. And then from there, I really find, so we look at prevention, right? So vitamin C, making sure that you have enough, about 2000 to 4,000 milligrams, vitamin C is gonna be more of that therapeutic value.
A lot of times in the retail market, there’s not a lot of efficacy in those supplements. You never really know what’s actually in the product because they’re not regulated. Also too, the dosing is, is so low. So that’s what doctors like me were trained to be able to look at. I’ve often seen too many supplements for the immune system; they actually have sugar in them, like sorbitol, artificial sweeteners, and things like that.
And so those, again, it’s counterintuitive like what you’re trying to do versus what you’re not trying to do. We also have some immune system webinars coming up where I go more in-depth. What to do with your immune system, educating you about the immune system, how it works, how it doesn’t work, and really just dispelling all of that because really, like they said, knowledge is power.
Speaker 1: And Dr. Steele, I love how you look at the total body approach for everything. It’s not just tunnel vision. So I love what you do. Thank you so much. Great information.
Speaker 2: Thank you, Cheryl. Take care.
Speaker 1: All right, you too.