Do you tend to fall ill frequently? If yes, your body may have a weak immune response to the germs and other foreign threats in the environment.
This low activity of your immune system is called immunodeficiency syndrome, which could be the result of various factors such as genetics, medications, chronic illnesses, etc.
With the guidance of Dr. Zeel Gandhi, our Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, we bring you a detailed overview of immune deficiency disorders and how you can deal with them through Ayurveda. Read on.
- What Is An Immunodeficiency Disorder?
- Types Of Immunodeficiency Disorders
- What Causes Immunodeficiency Disorders?
- What Are The Most Common Immunodeficiency Disorders?
- Ayurvedic View Of Immunodeficiency Disorders
- Signs Of An Immunodeficiency Disorder
- How Are Immunodeficiency Disorders Treated?
- How To Prevent Immunodeficiency Disorders?
- Who Is At Risk For Immunodeficiency Disorders?
- How Are Immune Disorders Diagnosed?
What Is An Immunodeficiency Disorder?
The disorders that arise in your body due to the malfunctioning of your immune system , which eventually leads to frequent occurrence of chronic infections are termed as ‘immunodeficiency disorders’.
The organs of your immune system - bone marrow, lymph nodes, tonsils, and spleen produce white blood cells including B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes, which are responsible to fight against the antigens in your body. While B cells release infection-specific antibodies, T cells attack abnormal or foreign cells found in your body.
When you have immunodeficiency disorders, your body lacks the ability to produce adequate immune cells (white blood cells) to defend against microbial invasions (bacteria, fungi, and virus) or abnormal cell multiplications (cancer cells). This may result in the development of various infections or lymphomas in the body.
Studies say that autoimmune disorders such as immune thrombocytopenia can be developed among 25% of people with immunodeficiency disorders. In autoimmune disorders, the immune cells destroy the body’s own tissues, leading to the damage of organs.
Types Of Immunodeficiency Disorders
1. Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders
These disorders are genetic and are usually hereditary. Typically, we can notice primary immunodeficiency disorders  during infancy or childhood. There are more than 200 different primary immunodeficiency disorders known to us, while their occurrence is relatively very rare.
2. Secondary Immunodeficiency Disorders
These disorders are not genetic and may develop at any stage of life. Secondary immunodeficiency disorders  are more common than primary immunodeficiency disorders, and are often acquired from the development of other disorders such as diabetes, HIV, etc. or usage of certain drugs that weaken your immune system.
‘’While some of the immunodeficiency disorders shorten the lifespan of the patient, others may not affect the lifespan, but persist as a life-long condition. Also, few disorders can be controlled with treatments,’’ says Dr. Zeel.
What Causes Immunodeficiency Disorders?
Primary immunodeficiency disorders are caused by some specific gene mutations, which hampers the production and functioning of immune cells (B cells, T cells, phagocytes, or complement proteins) in your body. The most common primary immunodeficiency disorders are caused by the malfunctioning of B-lymphocyte cells in your body.
Secondary immunodeficiency disorders manifest from some of the drug usages such as corticosteroids (immunosuppressants), treatments such as radiation, and any prolonged illnesses such as cancer, kidney disorders, liver disorders, or diabetes.
What Are The Most Common Immunodeficiency Disorders?
The following table illustrates the most common immunodeficiency disorders that arise when a particular part of your immune system malfunctions.
Problematic Part of Your Immune System
B-lymphocyte cells which are responsible for humoral or adaptive immunity
T- lymphocyte cells which are responsible for cellular immunity
Both B & T cells
Phagocytes which engulf and destroy the antigen matter
Complement plasma proteins which are responsible for inflammatory responses that help white blood cells fight the infection
Ayurvedic View Of Immunodeficiency Disorders
As per Ayurveda, every human is a unique combination of three biological energies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha dosha. Each dosha possesses specific characteristics that are reflected in the physiological aspects of the person based on the dominant dosha.
The equilibrium of these humors is the indication of the healthy condition of the person's body, mind, and soul. Any vitiation occurring in these doshas leads to disruption of subtle energies Prana, Tejas, and Ojas, which are responsible for the balanced functioning of your immune system.
In Ayurveda, immunodeficiency is correlated to 'Oja-kshaya', which means decreased Ojas production in your body. Ojas is an essential part of all the body tissues including digestive, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow, and reproductive tissues. Ojas can be quantified and is compared to your white blood cells in the body.
Signs Of An Immunodeficiency Disorder
1. Vitiated Vata dosha causing dislocation of body parts and inflammation.
3. Sleeping difficulty
4. Skin discoloration
5. Frequent alterations in mental and physical conditions
6. Physical and mental fatigue
7. Gut problems such as constipation, gastric, bloating, etc.
8. Slow healing of wounds
9. Respiratory infections such as sinus infections, colds, and pneumonia
11. Eyes turning into pink color
12. Lose of appetite and weight
How Are Immunodeficiency Disorders Treated?
1. Ayurvedic Treatments
The Ayurvedic line of treatment for immunodeficiency disorders involves the usage of specific herbal formulations that work to stimulate balanced production of Ojas in your body. They bring balance to your vitiated doshas and the interplay of Prana, Tejas, and Ojas. It predominantly focuses on the following aspects:
A. Ayurvedic Diet
Along with nutrient-rich foods, Ayurveda recommends regular intake of ghee and milk to boost the production of Ojas.
Vedix Tip: Avoid diets that are excessively bitter, salty, and pungent. Also, avoid Ayurvedic medicines that contain Kshara as it leads to the depletion of Ojas in your body.
The following herbs can be administered as Rasayana therapy for rejuvenation.
1. Chyawanprash (promotes digestion by enhancing Pitta)
2. Brahma Rasayana
3. Amalaki Rasayana
C. Nerve Strengthening
The following Vata balancing formulations are used for nerve strengthening:
2. Ashwahandhadi lehyam
4. Balaswagandhadi taila
5. Ksheerabala taila
6. Maharaja Prasarini taila
D. Restoring Shukra Dhatu (Reproductive Tissue)
The following medications help in promoting shukra dhatu, of which Ojas is considered as a sub-product according to Ayurveda.
3. Kaunch Pak
4. Mahakalyanaka ghrita
E. Achieving Control Over Emotions
Mind peace and calmness is attained through the following antidepressant herbal formulations.
1. Brahmi ghrita
2. Brahmi Vati
3. Manasamitra vatakam
4. Maha kalyanaka ghrita
5. Saraswati churna
F. Controlling Obesity
People with dominant Kapha may have an increased tendency of obesity, in which the fat tissues prevent well absorption of nutrients to other tissues. This eventually results in depleted tissues and depleted Ojas in the body. Following are some of the anti-obesity herbal formulations, which may help to deal with immunodeficiency disorders in Kapha people.
1. Triphala guggulu
3. Navaka guggulu
4. Medohar guggulu
‘’Apart from these formulations, treatments and medications are administered specifically to the disease occurring in the person as per the vitiated doshas to restore the Ojas production in the body,’’ says Dr. Zeel.
2. Treatments In Conventional Medical Science
B. Immunoglobulin therapy
C. Antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, interferon, amantadine, etc.
D. Stem cell transplantation  (if there is no or lower lymphocyte production in the body)
E. Thymus tissue transplantation in some cases
F. Gene therapy in case of genetic abnormality causing the primary immunodeficiency disorders
How To Prevent Immunodeficiency Disorders?
Primary immunodeficiency disorders can be treated and controlled but you cannot prevent them as they are hereditary. And, you can prevent secondary immunodeficiency disorders by boosting your immunity through the following ways:
A. Maintain good personal hygiene.
B. Eat a well-balanced diet with immune-boosting foods (rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein).
C. Intake immune-boosting Ayurvedic herbs such as ginger, garlic, triphala, neem, amla, etc. based on your doshas daily.
D. Keep yourself well hydrated.
E. Get adequate sleep.
F. Relieve yourself from stress.
G. Exercise regularly.
H. Avoid exposure to people with infections.
I. Avoid huge crowd gatherings where infections can spread faster.
J. Undergo vaccination for specific diseases for which your body can produce antibodies.
In people with immunodeficiency disorders, vaccination to certain diseases performs the opposite action and leads to the development of disease as the antibodies cannot be produced. Hence, you need to be very careful and take the vaccine only after consultation with certified medical specialists.
Who Is At Risk For Immunodeficiency Disorders?
1. People with a family history of primary deficiency disorders
2. Aged people as they have a weaker immune system due to increased Vata in old age
3. Children who may have weaker immune system due to dominating and aggravated Kapha dosha
4. People who are malnourished
How Are Immune Disorders Diagnosed?
After examining you physically, your doctor may recommend the following diagnostic tests to determine if you have an immunodeficiency disorder.
1. Ask you about your family history or recommend genetic testing to know if you carry a gene for the immunodeficiency disorder.
2. Ask your medical history.
3. Test for the count of white blood cells in your body.
4. Test for your immunoglobulin levels .
5. Test for the count of T lymphocyte cells.
6. Antibody tests through vaccination to determine the immune response in your blood.
7. Sometimes, a biopsy of lymph nodes or bone marrow will be suggested by the doctors to understand the presence and production rate of certain types of immune cells.
The treatments discussed in this article are solely for educational purposes. Consult your physician or Ayurvedic practitioner who will guide you through the most suitable treatment procedures and herbal formulations by analyzing your medical history and overall condition.
The Last Word
Supporting your body with nutritious food, a stressless lifestyle, dosha balancing herbal formulations along with attaining composure at your emotional, mental and spiritual horizons through yoga and meditation is the Ayurvedic way to bring balance to your immune system. And, you need a well-balanced immune system to maintain optimal health. At Vedix, we customize Ayurvedic capsules to boost your immunity by analyzing your disrupted dosha levels and unique needs.Know Your Dosha Now