Peter M. McCarthy

Certified Traditional Naturopath


            Here in the early 21st century, increasing numbers of people are expressing concern about the health of their immune systems.  When examining this issue, it is helpful to review some of the factors which impact this important system. 

It is a regrettable fact that our society has seen fit to expose our species to more toxic chemicals in the last fifty years (including many in our foods) than in the prior 200,000 years of human history combined.  At the same time, our lifestyle has subjected us to unprecedented levels of stress, with no relief in sight.  We see steadily rising levels of chronic and degenerative diseases, including cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders, as well as countless individuals who report to their medical doctors their nebulous, hard-to-diagnose feelings of “unwellness.”

            What do all these have in common?  They are either contributors to, or results of, overstressed immune systems. 

            From our food supply, to our homes and offices, to the very air we breathe, we are exposed to countless toxic influences which cause our immune systems to react.  For example, the radiation exposure on a single cross country flight in a high altitude jet aircraft is equivalent to that of a chest X-ray.  When the immune system is continually bombarded with such challenges, we are rendered less capable of fending off the truly serious challenges to our health.   

            At the same time, we as a society are exposed to historically unprecedented levels of chronic stress.  The demands of Corporate America, the continually fast paced lifestyles of countless families, the ever increasing demands of everyday living, and the means with which we choose to cope with these stressors (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, processed sugar, white flour, over exercising, etc.) all combine to further challenge our immune systems, but in a different way. 

Each of the coping mechanisms mentioned above overtaxes the adrenal glands.  When these glands are continually overactive over long periods of time, the body’s ability to cope with stress gradually diminishes.  The results can manifest in conditions anywhere from depression or other psychosomatic disorders, to asthma or allergies, to a variety of serious autoimmune disorders, depending on the length of stress exposure.

            Does it have to be that way?  Absolutely not!  Naturopaths can help their clients adjust the level of stress in their lifestyles, including the foods they consume, and in the process provide some relief to their overworked immune systems.  They can also recommend a variety of high quality, effective nutritional supplements to enhance the effectiveness of their clients’ diets in helping their bodies support their immune systems. 

            Finally, and perhaps most exciting, there are now assessment modalities which permit the natural health professional to better assess a client’s state of health and, in the process, provide more specific and helpful recommendations to address immune system related health challenges.  These assessment modalities do not require invasive procedures.  Partnering with laboratories specifically tailored for this purpose, the naturopath can use the results of such assessments to construct a set of diet and lifestyle recommendations and a protocol of herbal, nutritional and botanical products specifically tailored to address the client’s most pressing health issues, without any guesswork. 

Through the use of these and many other tools at their disposal, natural health professionals can help their clients enhance the effectiveness of their immune systems and, in the process, enjoy a lifetime of abundant health and energetic living.


Peter M. McCarthy, ND

Martin's Wellness


Peter M. McCarthy, ND is a nationally board certified traditional naturopath, and a wellness consultant with Martins Compounding and Wellness Centers in Austin, TX.  He is the author of Adrenaline Nation: Chronic Stress is Ruining Our Health and Bankrupting Our Economy – Discover What YOU Can Do About It NOW!  Trained in both functional blood work analysis and saliva hormone analysis, he is a former member of the Advisory Committee of the American Naturopathic Certification Board. He is available for individual wellness consultations by appointment at Dripping Springs Pharmacy, 100 Commons Road, Suite 1, Dripping Springs, TX, Monday through Friday from 12 pm til 6 pm.