Updated: Jun 29, 2020
In these present days, especially with the corona virus pandemic, developing immunity has become the number one priority for all of us. Many of us have taken to vitamin supplements to boost our immunity. Although well intentioned, this may not always work. We need to find out if there is anything that may be keeping our immune system down and, if so, develop an individualistic approach to boost our immunity.
Immunity is the body's defense system inside all of us. At one level, Immunity is responsible for eliminating the alien cells (e.g. bacteria/viruses) or rogue cells (e.g. pre-cancer or cancer cells). At another level, immunity gone awry can start attacking its own body (e.g Autoimmune diseases) or become super-sensitive to everyday things (e.g. allergy). Therefore, defective immune system can not only increase risk of infections, but also allergies, autoimmune diseases and cancers (Yes ... stress could lead to cancers).
There are mainly 2 types of immunity
1. Adaptive Immunity (works through prior exposure e.g infection or vaccine): This immunity works through antibodies. When our body comes in contact with a bacteria or virus (or a vaccine), the immune system learns and develops antibodies. These antibodies take about 2 weeks to make in the body. Once made, these antibodies are very efficient at destroying the already 'known' bug but completely ineffective against even a different strain of the the same bug. This is why we need a new influenza vaccine every year and why vaccination will never be able to serve as a overall defense system. We need to have a robust immune system that can respond to 'unknown' threats rapidly.
2. Innate Immunity: When we talk about improving our immunity, this is the system we want to strengthen. This is the immunity that helps destroy new or unknown bugs (e.g. the new coronavirus or any new virus that may come along in the future) before they have a chance at harming you. Developing a strong innate immunity not only requires healthy nutritious diet that is free of toxins but also a healthy joyful mind unencumbered by stress or fear.
Furthermore, we require the following systems for the immunity to work effectively:
3. Communication system - between the immune cells but also between the immunity and the rest of the body - through chemical messengers and nerves.
4. Skin/Mucosa, White blood cells, Spleen, Lymphatic system: designed to
- filter (or atleast slow down) the bugs before they can enter the blood;
- drive (and buy time for) the adaptive immunity to develop antibodies against the attacker;
- allow the innate immunity to destroy the bug.
As you can see above, the immune system is very complex. It is on the lookout 24/7, and when faced with threat, it needs to learn and take action rapidly. Needless to say, it will need a mechanism to coordinate a combined effort, have the raw materials at hand to mount an effective response in a short time and not be hindered in any way. Not only does it need the nutrients but also a form of communication network to let the other parts of the immune system (and the rest of the body) know who and what could be a potential threat. The immune system works in balance with the outside and inside environment. Immune system could potentially fail at any of the steps. Understanding the physiology that is unique to each one of us can help us develop strategies to overcome any potential faults in the immune system.
If you want to discuss your health concerns, make an appointment to see me today.