Your Immune System - What Is It and How Does it Work?
(Note: Your immune system is very complex. Due to the complicated nature of this subject, at any time in the article if you would like a term defined, click on it to see it's definition on the glossary page, then hit the back button to continue reading.)
Very simply, your
is your front line of defense against all invaders to keep you healthy. "Invaders" include
Collectively, these make up a group of substances called
The response to these invaders is called the antigen response. The word comes from the generation of antibodies to fight them off.
Stay up to date with the latest news by signing up for our e-zine:
The human immune system is made up of proteins,
organs, and tissues. These all interact in a very sophisticated network of partnership towards one goal - keeping you healthy.
To make it simpler, we will refer to all invaders as " the bad guys. " We will refer to cells and tissues that are normal and healthy, part of your "self", as "the good guys." Now those don't need to be defined!
At any given time, we have lots of these foreign invaders in our body. And we are constantly taking new "bad guys" in through our food, air and water. Our system has a tall order to fill, and a healthy one never takes a break.
To function properly, your body must decide whether or not what enters the body is a good guy or a bad guy. In a properly functioning system, the friends and foes are identified correctly.
To make matters more complicated, pathogens or “bad guys” can adapt and change quickly, fooling or tricking your system into accepting them, and then you can become sick. So it's war between the good guys and the bad guys!
When a pathogen enters the bloodstream, there is an immune response. The
play a role in this. Large white blood cells called
Natural Killer Cells
engulf the pathogens and eat them up. The smaller
have to be a little more clever- they have to adapt a specific defense to them.
identify pathogens as bad guys, then the Killer
kill them. Helper
help out, and when the carnage is over, Suppressor
turn off the immune response. And so for now, this war is over.
See, this isn't so complicated after all!
When it comes to
there is a delicate balance to be maintained. If the immune system is too weak, referred to as
or too strong, as in
problems can result. We will discuss both imbalances first here.
Immunodeficiency occurs when a person's system is not strong enough to fight off infection. One of the best known viruses that cause this is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or
Those that are infected with this virus have difficulty fighting off disease and so may die from something as seemingly harmless as the common cold. A weakened system may also be inherited.
By contrast, an overactive immune system is referred to as an auto immune disorder or autoimmunity. Here, the good guys (normal cells and tissues) are identified as enemies, and then the killers (T-cells) and eaters (
White Blood Cells, called phagocytes,
) go in and destroy this healthy tissue. This is called phagocytosis. Some examples of autoimmune disorders are Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and Lupus. Another manifestation of this are
where normally non toxic substances such as grass or pollen are perceived as invaders, and so the body attacks, producing the symptoms that are so annoying for sufferers.
The immune system you are born with is called your
The things that we do to increase our resistance to disease, is part of what is called our
Immune System. This may also be referred to as Passive Immunity. An example of adaptive or passive immunity is receiving a
so that your body builds up a defense or
to the vaccine. As a result, if and when you are exposed to the virus that was in the vaccine, your cells will fight it off and you won't get sick. In this way, your system has memory.
The study of all aspects of the human immune system and how it relates to human health is called
This is an ever growing field, and with complexities that are continually uncovered each day, we learn more about how we can protect ourselves and our health through better understanding of our immune system, both innate and adaptive.
When we are initially exposed to a foreign invader, our innate system will protect us. If for some reason the invader gets through this first line of defense, this is where our adaptive immune system springs into action. It will adapt it's response to meet the challenge, and remember it for the next time so it is recognized and conquered more quickly in the future.
Genes play their part, and we can do the rest . This is our front line of defense against all foreign invaders, so we can certainly strengthen our army of good guys to keep out the bad guys.
Often, when our immunity is down and we get sick, we go to the doctor. At this point the approach is reactive. We are finding more and better ways now to be pro-active, and to prevent this in the first place by stopping the invaders in their tracks . This is done by building a very strong defense - a healthy immune system.
In order to do this, it is important to exercise regularly, eat well, get regular rest, maintain a healthy body weight, and supplement with what is missing.
Of course, it's always a good idea to take life with a grain of salt, so sprinkle in a sense of humor, too, and learn to laugh things off. You will be amazed at how this lowers your stress level, and can actually strengthen your resistance to invaders as a result.
It is also important to avoid ingesting toxins wherever possible, and where it is not possible, to eliminate them as soon as they are ingested. And it goes without saying that smoking, alcohol abuse, and inappropriate drug use will do harm to you as well.
has been shown to boost the adaptive immune system, and so it is very important to boost glutathione levels in order to stay healthy and ward off illness. To access published research and to read what the doctors are saying about glutathione, click
Glutathione is a balancer, so if your are immunodeficient, you will get stronger. If you have an auto-immune disorder, glutathione will re-balance it. It "knows" what to do, and gets busy doing it.
The system that protects our immunity is very complex, and requires very precise interaction and raw materials to do it's job well. We can do our part to keep ours strong by eating well, resting, exercising, and boosting it up through raising our glutathione levels.
Is there any evidence that this is all true? Well, you are in good company, because I wanted to know the answer to that question too.
Note what Medical Professionals are now saying about glutathione and the immune system:
"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.
Glutathione is important in DNA synthesis and repair, …detoxiﬁcation of toxins and carcinogens, enhancement of the immune system, and protection from oxidation..."
The Immune System Cure, Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe & Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D.
"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
So keep your Immune System strong by preventing disease before it strikes. You will be happy and healthy as a result!
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."
Here, in this brief video, he explains very simply how taking Immunocal which raises glutathione can reduce your chances of catching illness and infection by 70-80% or more:
In addition, if you or someone you love has had their appendix removed, did you realize that your appendix plays a role in keeping your immune system strong? What can you do to protect yourself?
Join the good doctor along with his assistant John Molson in this 2 minute "ImmunoByte" about the appendix and your immune system, and the important of a good probiotic supplement:
If you'd like to order Immunotec's Probiotic, please click on the image below: