Your immune system can be complicated, but is highly efficient in providing multiple defenses – an infrastructure of white blood cells and antibodies - as your body’s tissues and cells work together to resist and defend against unwanted bacteria intrusions, infections and diseases.
Your immune system is amazing and remarkably effective, at least most of the time. Think about your body and what it does:
If any unknown or unwanted substance – an antigen or microbe - enters your body and penetrates, your body’s immune system attacks it. Your immune system has a series of dual natures, the most important of which is self/non-self recognition. It’s like your own built-in computer virus scanner.
- Your skin, mucus and hairs work together to form a physical barrier
- Your organs and body cavities – like heart, lung and digestive track – are lined with protective membranes
- Your blood is constantly being purified
An antigen is any substance that elicits an immune response, from a virus to a skin scrape. Parts of the immune system are antigen-specific (they recognize and act against particular antigens) or systemic (not confined to the initial infection site, but work throughout the body), and have memory (recognize and mount an even stronger attack to the same antigen the next time).
Self/non-self recognition is achieved by having every cell display a marker based on the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Any cell not displaying this marker is treated as non-self and attacked. This process is so effective that any undigested proteins are treated as antigens.
Your body has more than 100 trillion blood cells. Approximately one in every hundred cells is a white cell. There are two types of white cells: the phagocytes and the lymphocytes (also known as T-cells and B-cells). These cells work together and independently to fight off any antigen.
Sometimes, the process breaks down and the immune system attacks its own cells. This is the case of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and some forms of arthritis and diabetes.
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack
- Kidney disease
Diet and nutrition play key roles in maintaining a strong immune system. If you are looking for natural immune-building steps, click below:
- Tobacco products of any kind
- Bad foods & fats
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive eating – no more than 2,000 calories per day (depending on height, weight and activity level, this number may vary)
- Prepared, packaged, refined, fried or frozen foods
- Sugar, salt, whole-fat dairy products
Check out melsTake on immunity medicines and sleep steps to getting a good night’s sleep.