What is immunity?
Immunity is the ability of the body to resist a particular infection or toxin.
Where is the Immune System?
The gut contains 70-80% of the body’s immune cells.
The immune system begins to grow just a few days after conception. Everything in the development of a baby from conception to about one year of age is about keeping the baby’s immune system in an anti-inflammatory state to allow it to develop properly. The placenta, the amniotic fluid and stem cells all contribute to this anti-inflammatory state. When the baby is born the mother’s breast milk is the next stage in the development of the baby’s immune system and it is also designed to keep the baby’s immune system in an anti-inflammatory state while at the same time conferring the mother’s immunity to the baby for those diseases which the mother has been exposed to in her life time. If it is at all possible a mother is encouraged to breastfeed her baby for at least the first six months of life and up to two years, so that the baby’s gut flora remains in an anti-inflammatory state while the immune system continues to develop and strengthen.
There are 100 trillion bacteria from 100 different species living in a healthy gut. These bacteria outnumber our body’s cells by 10 to one, so for every cell in our body there are 10 bacteria in our body. These 100 trillion bacteria weigh 5lbs and combined they have the same metabolic capacity as the liver. A healthy gut contributes to our weight control, energy levels, gene functions, our immune tolerance and the stability of our immune system, the metabolism of our vitamins and the neutralization of toxins and drugs. So we can see that the bacteria in our gut is really, really important. Babies start to gain some of these bacteria in the womb.
It is now known that genes do not dictate our health but that epigenomes do. Epigenomes do not change our genes but they do change how our genes (DNA) express themselves and epigenomes respond to our environment. Our environment is anything outside of our self. So the food we eat, what we breathe into our bodies, the feelings we are experiencing, anything we ingest or inject into our body. In this way while a baby is developing in the womb the mother’s environment not only effects her but also her developing baby in many ways, including the baby’s developing immune system. There are studies showing how a woman’s diet can affect conception and the development of her baby in the womb.
So now that we can see why it is so important to help a baby establish a healthy gut flora and so a healthy immune system we need to ask ourselves some questions.
Do we want to take any drugs or vaccines while we are pregnant? We now know that drugs and vaccines affect our epigenomes and can affect the developing baby. Also vaccines contain DNA from human fetuses, monkeys, chicks, Cocker spaniels and caterpillars and it is possible that this DNA could affect not only our baby’s developing immune system but also create a genetic imprint on our baby.
Do we want to give our baby any antibiotics “just in case” when they are born? Quite often hospitals give babies antibiotics after they have been born “just in case” they get an infection. We now know that antibiotics affect our epigenomes. Also antibiotics kill all bacteria, they are not selective, so do we really want to wipe out a baby’s gut flora (bacteria) now that we know it contains most of the body’s immune cells and that it is only partially developed?
Do we want to give vaccines to a new born baby knowing that they affect our epigenomes? Do we know how these vaccines will tell our genomes (DNA) to react? Is it possible that vaccines can turn on or off genes creating conditions such as autism, type 1 diabetes, asthma, allergies and many other conditions that are listed as adverse effects on vaccines? Certainly we need to research the vaccines for ourselves before we allow them to be given to our baby, so that we can make an informed choice.
Infant Immunity Part I: Pregnancy, with Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Youtube
Nutrient tasting and signaling mechanisms in the gut. II. The intestine as a sensory organ: neural, endocrine, and immune responses. Furness JB, Kunze WA, Clerc N 1999 PMID:10564096
The Epigenome at a Glance http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/intro/
Role of micronutrients in the periconceptional period. Cetin I, Berti C, Calabrese S. 2010 PMID:19567449
The importance of antioxidant micronutrients in pregnancy. Mistry, HD, Willimias, PJ 2011 PMID:21918714