Immunosuppression - What Is It, And What Can I Do About It?

Immunosuppression is of concern to many nowadays. What is it?

It is defined as a diminished immune response caused by disease or drug therapy.

What this means very simply, is that your immune system is not as strong as it should be, and you are more vulnerable to getting sick or catching infections.

In some cases, this is deliberately induced, as in the case of drugs given to purposely suppress the immune system. That will not be the focus of this page, as if you are on these types of drugs to keep from rejecting an organ transplant, you do not want to work against these drugs to strengthen your immune system.

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In other cases, however, it is caused by disease, and you would like to strengthen your immune system, and so this will be the main focus of this page.

There are some synonyms for immunosuppression we will be using, and while there are slight variations in the meaning of these, for our purposes, these terms will all refer to the same thing. The terms are :

  • immunosuppression
  • immunodeficiency
  • weakened immune system
  • immunodeficiency disorders
  • immunocompromised

Many are most familiar with the term immunosuppression from it's association with the virus that causes the disease AIDS. That virus is known as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. For more information on HIV, as it relates to your immune system, along with published research, please click here for

treatment for HIV.

Immunodeficiency is a cause for concern, mainly because we want to stay strong and healthy, and we rely on our immune system to do it’s job properly. When it does not, and we have a weakened immune system, we are left open and vulnerable to catching whatever we may be exposed to.

So naturally we are interested in how to boost immune system activity if we are suffering from immunosuppression. Our immune system is our front line of defense against all infectious and destructive attacks.

So the strength of our immune system function may be directly related not only to our quality of life, but also to whether we live or die.

Those that survive exposure to deadly infectious diseases and those that die as a result of exposure have one difference between them: the strength of their immune system.

To learn more about how your immune system works, please see our Immune System page.

With immunocompromised individuals, we want to understand what has gone wrong. On the immune system page, we learned about our lymphocytes that help us to fight off infection. A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell that encompasses Natural Killer cells, T-cells, and B-Cells.

All of these components are very important in fighting infection. The links you see in this sentence take you to an Immune System Facts page for definitions of terms that may be unfamiliar to you.

Immunosuppression - What Causes It?

immune system pictures

In cases of immunosuppression, these immune system components are not present in sufficient amounts. You just don't have enough lymphocytes to do the job. Or in some cases, the various cells may be damaged, and unable to function properly. At times, there may be a particularly destructive pathogen that overwhelms these lymphocytes that fight infection.

With immunodeficiency disorders, the proper function of our immune system is interrupted, we leave ourselves vulnerable to infection, and our health may be compromised.

As an example, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) destroys helper T-cells and makes killer T-cells powerless. As a result, invading pathogens that a healthy person would be able to fight off and destroy are able to multiply and cause the severe infections that are so often seen with AIDS patients.

If we want to fight the war, we need enough soldiers. So naturally we want to ask : “What can be done to increase our white blood cells- our disease fighting components - the natural killer cells, T-Cells, and B-cells?“ How can we boost our weakened immune system?

Immunosuppression - Fight it With Glutathione!

The best way to win the war against immunodeficiency disorders is to boost our glutathione levels. Glutathione is at the heart of proper immune function.

immune system pictures

If this is an unfamiliar word to you, it won’t be for long. This is a protective protein that is in each of your cells right now. Without it, you wouldn’t be alive right now. With immunosuppression, the patient does not have enough glutathione to keep their immune system strong.

To learn all about glutathione, what it is, and what it does, please click here for a

glutathione refresher.

It is a well established fact that glutathione, or GSH, plays a central role in the function of our immune system. Dr. Gustavo Bounous, a leading expert on glutathione, says, “The limiting factor in the proper activity of our lymphocytes is the availability of GSH.”

This is particularly true with AIDS patients. They typically have very low glutathione levels, and also very low T-cell counts. Many studies have demonstrated that an AIDS patient’s chances of survival and quality of life depend very heavily on their glutathione levels.

When experiments have been conducted to deplete glutathione, immune function decreases and person becomes immunocompromised. When glutathione is raised, the lymphocytes increase in number. With white blood cells, this is referred to as mononuclear expansion. It has also been shown that raising glutathione levels increases T-cell and B-cell replication, which means their numbers are multiplied. These cells are key to fighting infection.

So in this sense, glutathione is considered food for your immune system. It is absolutely essential that each and every one of us keep our glutathione levels high in order stay healthy. And if we are suffering from immunosuppression, then it will help to bring us back to a state of health by strengthening immune function and resisting disease and infection.

Immunosuppression and Glutathione - What Does Research Show?

There are many ways to raise glutathione, and you can’t just take a glutathione pill.

There is one thoroughly researched method that I recommend for raising intracellular glutathione for proper immune system function, and it is an undenatured whey protein named Immunocal. You can learn all about what the doctors are saying about this medicinal food for the immune system on this glutathione studies page.

Note a few statements from published medical papers regarding glutathione and immunosuppression here:

“No other antioxidant is as important to overall health as glutathione. It is the regenerator of immune cells and the most valuable detoxifying agent in the body. Low levels are associated with early aging and even death.”

-The Immune System Cure, Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe and Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph. D.

“Your life depends on glutathione. Without it, your cells would disintegrate from unrestrained oxidation, your body would have little resistance to bacteria, viruses and cancer , and your liver would shrivel up from the eventual accumulation of toxins.”

immune system pictures

-Glutathione: Essential health AID - Antioxidant, Immune Booster, Detoxifier, Dr. Jimmy Gutman, M.D., FACEP

Immune depressed individuals have lower glutathione (GSH) concentrations. Healthy people also drop their glutathione levels when fighting disease. Lymphocytes, cells vital for your immune response, depend on GSH for their proper function and replication.”

-Immunology 61: 503-508, 1987

In conclusion, immunosuppression is a potentially dangerous condition to be in. What this means is that your immune system is not strong enough to fight off potential invaders.

Immunocompromised individuals do well to raise and sustain their glutathione levels. This has been shown in medical studies to boost the immune response, strengthening a weak immune system, leading to greater health for the individual.

Do your own research, and decide the best way for you to start raising your glutathione levels today for great health. Your immune system will thank you!

Dr. Jimmy Gutman is the world's most published author on the subject of glutathione. His current bestseller is entitled "Glutathione - Your Key To Health."

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