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    Dracil's Avatar
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    Question Stronger/weaker immune system = stronger/weaker sickness symptoms?

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    So I've been recovering from the flu. It's been a weird flu too. Scratchy throat for some days, turned into more of a sore throat, then woke up one day with body aches and got a 101.5 fever that night and low appetite, down to 100.5 the next night and now all I really have is a sore throat that's going away slowly. None of the usual nasal stuff or coughing. My friend claims that's because I'm too stressed so my body won't go into full-blown sickness. I'm hoping instead maybe it's because I have a stronger immune system now so the symptoms are lessened.

    I'm wondering if it's related to the Primal stuff. I remember reading something similar from someone here too about not getting sick/having strong symptoms. But then the person or someone else also remarked that since the symptoms are our body's way of fighting off illness, having a weaker reaction could mean a weaker immune system as well.

    I take daily vitamin supplements (Vit D 680IU, Vit C 1g, Zinc 30mg, any other relevant stuff?) for months, and try to get out in the sun often during work though I've also been upping my exercises a little and IFing a bit more before I got sick.
    Last edited by Dracil; 10-21-2011 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #2
    dado's Avatar
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    i haven't been sick since 1996, so i can tell you if your immune system had great strength, you would not be sick at all.

    vitamin c, 1 gram is nothing. you need between 10-20grams, spread out, now that you are sick

  3. #3
    Dracil's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that anecdote really solves the debate though. My friend would say you've probably been sick, but your immune system has become so weakened you just haven't had any noticeable symptoms or you may have just been lucky.

    Anecdotally, I feel like I've gotten sick *more often* since going primal. The night before I got the body aches and fever I also had a really stressful argument with a loved one though, which may have been the straw that actually made me get more major symptoms.

    I guess I'm looking more for actual papers.
    Last edited by Dracil; 10-21-2011 at 10:37 AM.

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    This is something ive been thinking about as well, and while I havent done any serious analysis of it (immunology is really really complex, even for scientists) the general gist that Ive been thinking is this:

    When we get sick, what we mostly see (sore throat, stuffy nose, etc etc etc) arent necessarily symptoms of being sick. These arent actually caused by the body fighting off the sickness, theyre side effects. When the immune system fights off pathogens, part of its functioning is to produce these proteins called cytokines*. Thing is, an immune system that overreacts to everything will produce way, way too many cytokines, and these are what cause the side effects. CW diets play havoc with the immune system because of insulin spikes, etc, and so these over-sensitive immune systems attack things theyre not supposed to (allergies) and overreact to normal pathogen infections (cold and flu symptoms). Fever and body aches, however, ARE results of your body actively fighting off infection, so they will be present no matter what.

    Thus, given this logic of mine (which has no firm support, its just an idea based on pieces ive picked up here and there) someone on a paleo/primal diet wont necessarily have a stronger or weaker immune system; their immune system will just be able to do its job without mucking up a lot of other shit in the body at the same time. This may be why youve had fever and aches, but not snot-based symptoms.

    (* there is a lot of research into this idea of something called "cytokine storms" lately, wherein a "healthy" immune system will basically self-destruct because it overreacts to an infection. This was the idea behind explaining why so many healthy people dying from swine flu in Mexico a few years back)
    Last edited by Corvidae; 10-21-2011 at 10:46 AM.
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  5. #5
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    nice try but not quite.
    http://ndmat.hosp.ncku.edu.tw:8080/兒科/Feb-27.pdf

    pick up an immunology textbook.

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    Corvidae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    nice try but not quite.
    http://ndmat.hosp.ncku.edu.tw:8080/兒科/Feb-27.pdf

    pick up an immunology textbook.
    I'll pick up your FACE. Jag-ass.

    I said that what I said was based largely on conjecture, but since youve been so kind as to provide a source for me, I can parse it down to reevaluate what I said.

    The surface of the macrophage exhibits toll-like receptors that combine with the components of viral and bacterial pathogens and trigger the production of cytokines. The cytokines act to recruit other immune cells, trigger inflammation, and generate systemic symptoms such
    as fever. A complex mix of proinflammatory cytokines and mediators generates the symptoms of URTIs. The inflammatory mediator bradykinin is believed to have a major role in generating the local symptoms of URTIs (eg, sore throat and nasal congestion), and cytokines
    are believed to be responsible for the systemic symptoms (eg, fever).
    So, cytokines are indeed an intercellular signalling molecule that instruct the immune system to respond to infection, but I was incorrect in that the cytokines are responsible for the major symptoms and this other molecule, bradykinin, causes the BS-symptoms related to mucous and phlegm. Bradykinin is a vasodilator and thus involved with inflammatory responses.

    The presence of physical features of URTIs—eg, nasal congestion, rhinorrhoea, and cough—may cause discomfort, attention deficit, and mood changes but there is increasing evidence that the psychological changes associated with URTIs may also be caused by the effects of cytokines on the central nervous system.
    An interesting point, that apparently feeling crappy is not just a matter of having the constellations of symptoms; the action of some of these immune molecules actually *makes you feel crappy.*

    Myalgia is a symptom of the acute phase response to infection and there is evidence that the symptom is caused by the effects of cytokines on skeletal muscle. Proinflammatory cytokines have been implicated as inducing the breakdown of muscle proteins, and tumour necrosis factor was initially referred to as cachetin because of its role in causing muscle wasting or cachexia. The breakdown of muscle protein in response to URTI can be viewed as beneficial because it mobilises proteins and aminoacids that can be converted in the
    iver to opsonins and other components of the immune response.
    This is what I meant by some of the response to sickness (aches and pain) are part of the body actively trying to fight the infection. To do this, they need to produce intercellular signalling molecules such as cytokines and bradykinins. These molecules cause a lot of symptoms throughout the body, though, that may not be as actively important in fighting the illness.

    Obviously there are no studies on the difference in a paleo/primal person's immune system and a SAD person's immune system in how they deal with respiratory infections. BUT, there is evidence that this diet helps mediate so many other diseases that are the result of too much inflammation and an over-active immune system. I am saying that a possible mechanism by which it does this is reduce the amount of immunological signalling molecules used by the body, which in turn will reduce the severity (or even likelihood) of many of the sickness-symptoms caused by them.
    "Since going primal, I've found that there are very few problems that cannot be solved with butter and/or bacon fat."

    My amusing take on paleo-blogging: http://whatshouldwecallpaleolife.tumblr.com/

    Are you a Primal in San Francisco, or the SF Bay Area in general? Join our facebook group!

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