The human body requires protection against infection and illness, as many of our everyday activities present various risks to our bodies that can break our system down. Environmental factors such as hazardous waste and emission, the food we eat, and everyday stress are some of the factors that prove harmful to the body. The immune system is the body’s defense that shields it from attacks from such factors.
How Does the Immune System Provide Defense?
Your immune system is your body’s defense that protects you against attacks from bacteria, parasites, viruses, and germs. It consists of special organs, chemicals, and cells that fight against pathogens that are dangerous to the body.
The immune system is very sensitive and protective, as it recognizes the cells that make up the body and fights against anything unfamiliar. It also keeps a record of the pathogens it defeated in its memory cells. The functions of the immune system functions can be grouped into two – the innate immune functions and adaptive immune functions.
The innate immune system, just as the name suggests, is in the first line of defense of the body. It performs an immediate action by getting rid of any foreign pathogen and preventing their spreading and movement in the body.
The adaptive immune system, also known as the acquired immune system, is in the second line of defense. It is not as immediate as the innate immune system since it takes days or weeks to become established. It also functions to attack non-self pathogens.
Although not as fast as the innate immune system, the adaptive immune system is more specific to pathogens and also has memory. It becomes effective when the innate immune response is not enough to fight infection. Without communication from the innate immune system, the adaptive immune function cannot be established.
While the adaptive immune system is very effective in its duty, it also has its disadvantages. Instead of focusing on attacking the non-self pathogen, the adaptive immune system sometimes makes mistakes and attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. This is a huge problem, as autoimmune diseases can be developed as a result.
What the Immune System Is Made Of
The immune system is made up of various parts, which include white blood cells, antibodies, bone marrow, thymus, and the complement system. It consists of various cells, generally referred to as immune cells, which include lymphocytes, monocytes and macrophages, granulocytes, and mast cells.
The cells produce several hormones that enhance immune function. They also have receptors for hormones and signal transduction pathways, where a signal leads to the activation of various cell-specific immune activities. The hormones must be functioning optimally for the immune system to perform its protective works efficiently.
By its design, the immune system is very specific and tightly regulated. However, due to exposure to excessive insult, chemical exposures, and illnesses including autoimmune diseases, the regulatory functions of the immune system can become dysfunctional. This puts the body at a higher risk of attacks from pathogens, resulting in health complications. It also leaves the hormones and other parts of the immune system in terrible shape.
Hormones are a very crucial part of the immune system because of their important roles in keeping our body fit and performing various functions, including sexual activities. Hormones in the body include insulin, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, prolactin, serotonin, cortisol, adrenaline, and growth hormone. Each hormone plays a specific role to complete the immune functions in the body.
Estrogen and testosterone, for instance, are some of the most recognized and functional types of hormones. They are mostly known for their roles in the physical development of the body and the secondary sex characteristics. They help the body achieve and maintain a healthy libido, maturation of sperm in men, and regulation of the menstrual cycle in women.
They also play an important role in keeping our bodies fit. Estrogen has been identified as an important hormone in women’s mental health. A low level of estrogen can cause low mood and depression after childbirth, and nearing or after menopause, due to the decrease in the blood levels of estrogens. In men, testosterone and estrogens help bone strength, increase lean muscle mass, and help the manufacturing of red blood cells by the bone marrow.
Factors That Weaken the Immune System
The immune system, just like most other elements of the body, weakens due to certain factors. Age is one of the most common factors. In most cases, right from age 30, our amount of immune cells decreases, with the remaining cells becoming less effective in communicating and taking longer to react to harmful germs. This causes people to become sick more often and take longer to recover from illnesses, injuries, and infections. There are also immunodeficiency disorders that can weaken the immune system. One may be born with such a disorder or develop it later in life. Apart from age and medical conditions, other factors that can weaken the immune system include stress, sedentary lifestyle, nicotine, ultraviolet radiation, alcohol, and diet.
How to Keep Your Immune System Functions Optimally
The best way to keep your immune system functioning optimally is to choose a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, avoiding smoking, exercising regularly, avoiding or keeping alcohol intake moderate, and getting adequate sleep.
Other tips include personal hygiene measures against infections, such as regularly washing your hands with soap and water. It is also important to minimize stress and avoid or minimize contact with risk-producing environmental factors such as toxins and pollutants.
Of course, the above tips are very helpful in keeping our hormones functioning optimally. However, aging is part of life and is irreversible. Although stress is also a part of our everyday life, we can only strive to keep it under control.
Additionally, most of the major culprits of immune problems – autoimmune diseases – cannot be cured, and can only be controlled with specified treatments. This makes hormone therapy the major way of boosting your hormones and keeping your immune system healthy.
How to Boost Your Immune System
There are many natural and medical ways of boosting your immune system to keep your immune system optimal, especially as you grow older. These methods are also helpful if you have an autoimmune disease.
Natural Immune Boosters
The natural means are some age-long health practices such as diet, exercise, and stress management. It is important to be purposeful about your diet by increasing your protein intake, avoiding sugar, seeking refined carbohydrates, and avoiding foods that can wreak havoc on your immune system. Some foods include natural immune boosters that help you retain a healthy immune system.
They have helped people prevent various kinds of illnesses and viral infections, including winter cold and the flu. These foods include citrus fruits, garlic, broccoli, red bell peppers, ginger, and spinach, while others include yogurt, turmeric, almond, papaya, green tea, poultry, sunflower seeds, kiwi, and shellfish. It is necessary to avoid toxic body products, and let go of plastics as they contain chemicals that are harmful to your estrogens.
Immune Boosting Therapy
There are various kinds of immune-boosting formulas and supplements that can help boost your immune system. One of them is Optimal Immune Therapy, which is designed to last for 10-30 weeks, depending on each person’s needs. The therapy includes weekly Glutathione, Vitamin D3 and Thymosin Alpha 1Treatment.