Immune Support from the Inside and the Outside: 3 Pathways

The front line defenses of the immune system are located at the respiratory system (lungs), the digestive system (stomach) and the skin. These three areas are where harmful elements such as germs, viruses and toxins are introduced into the body, so it is no surprise they are where our body’s strongest defenses are housed. One important way to reduce the immune systems’ workload is to reduce the body’s need to process everyday, unnecessary chemicals at these points of entry.  A simple way to think about this, and help improve your child’s immunity, is to decrease the chemicals that go IN, ON and AROUND your baby’s body.

1. In- Food: To help prevent the build-up of toxins in your baby’s body, you can provide her with natural and organic food that is grown without the use of pesticides and dangerous fertilizers. BONUS: Organic ingredients are naturally more potent antioxidants – as much as 30% more – so the free radicals our bodies are exposed to (and produce) are offset better and faster by choosing organic ingredients. DOUBLE DUTY: Specific food choices affect the skin (the “ON” category). Nearly any skin condition can be improved with better circulation and more efficient toxin elimination. Circulation and toxin elimination control how the skin gets the oxygen and nutrients it needs to heal and how hard it has to work to help the body stay healthy. Choose brightly colored, natural foods to best support your skin’s immunity and even to boost natural sun protection from the inside out!

2. On- About 70% of what goes on your skin goes in, and can hit your bloodstream in 30 seconds. And, about 30% of unscheduled visits to the pediatrician are caused by a scary skin problem that probably could have been avoided. Further, eczema rates in babies and kids are reaching 25% now where they were only 5% 20 years ago.

Skin Care Products: Typical skin care products can be drying and filled with harsh (even toxic) chemicals. When developing baby skin is dehydrated, under-nourished, cracked, irritated or disrupted, whole body immunity can be compromised. You can wash your baby’s hair and body with baby wash that is free from harsh chemicals.

Avoid Fragrances! The word “fragrance” in personal care products can indicate upwards of 4000 chemicals that are not required to be listed on an ingredient label. Synthetic fragrances are used to make goods such as fabrics and cleaning supplies smell more “appealing”. These fragrances are usually generated with a mix of chemicals including benzene, ammonia, ethylene glycol, and other petroleum based synthetics that are known toxins or carcinogens.

Avoid Petrochemicals! Mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and paraffin wax are examples of petrochemicals. The production and disposal of these ingredients is damaging to our environment and they may contain toxic byproducts like 1-4 dioxane.

3. Around- Household cleaning products, paints, carpets and even furniture can emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the air and are considered a primary source of indoor air pollution. VOCs, including formaldehyde, ammonia and acetone, can harm eyes, nose, throat, liver, kidneys, and cause nausea, headaches, and loss of coordination. Here are a few ways to avoid them:

Cleaning Supplies and Fabrics: Choose household cleaning products that are effective without generating ammonia vapors. Wash clothing without bleach and artificial fragrances.

Seek Out Natural Materials! Natural fabric materials like wool, cotton, silk, hemp, bamboo, and linen are better for the body because they are breathable and better for planet due to safer production and disposal. Plus, there are organic options that further reduce the chemical load for both the body and the planet. Rayon is a good synthetic choice because it’s made from cellulose, not petrochemicals like polyester, acrylic and nylon.

Published on: November 10, 2011
About the Author
Photo of Kim Walls
Kim Walls, M.S., is the mother of two young boys and a serial entrepreneur. Kim has recently launched a new website - to educate expecting parents about the value of skin-to-skin contact in the newborn period.
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