Swimming in our bodies is a sea of antigens. These antigens include dangerous environmental invaders such as viruses, bacteria, abnormal cells, parasites, chemical pollutants and other synthetic poisons which are threatening our bodies. We are able to survive periodic assaults on our health and life from these antigens because of our immune system. The key to maintaining optimal health begins with a better understanding of the human body’s biological processes.
The human immune system is the result of a synergistic interactions between cells, molecules and fluids in the body. When the body is in good health, all biological systems are functioning effectively together. When the body is threatened, the immune system is activated to help restore health. The body uses two systems to identify foreign invaders. The first system is the non-specific defense system and the second is the specific defense system.
The non-specific defense system relies on the body’s natural ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders. Its first line of defense consists of skin and mucous membranes and blood brain barriers. They serve as physical barriers by preventing foreign matter from invading the body.
When pathogens enter the body through broken tissues, biochemicals are released which “turn on” the inflammatory response. To combat the threatning invader the body increases the production of white blood cells which can result in a temperature increase. This explains why fever often accompanies an infection.
If a pathogen passes through the body’s non-specific defense, the immune system responds with a series of defenses that attack the foreign invader. These defenses are known as the immune response consisting of antibodies and special immune cells. T-Cells and B- Cells are critical to the immune system,. T-Cells (T-Lymphocytes) mature in the Thymus Gland and the B-Cells (B-Lymphocytes) mature in the bone marrow.
The T-cells provide the first response to a threatening foreign invader. One type of T cell is the T4 helper cell. These induce the B cells to “turn on” and respond to the presence of such a threat. The B-cells respond by producing antibodies and by stimulating one type of T cell, which is the natural killer cell (NK). It destroys the invading cells by means of direct contact or by producing a cytotoxin or cell poison. As a control the T8-suppressor cells “switch off” the immune response once the invaders are destroyed and the infection is cleared up. If the pathogen reappears, the body has the ability to immediately produce antibodies to deal with the foreign invader.
The Specific defense system circulates in part in the blood and Lymphatic system. The Lymphatic system consists mainly of lymph, lymphatic vessels and structures or organs containing lymphatic tissues. Lymph is a thick colorless fluid. Some of its functions are to carry fat and nutrients and to distribute germ fighting white blood cells. Lymphatic vessels transport the lymph to the different parts of the body.
Along the larger lymphatic vessels there are small kidney shaped structures that are the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes filter the blood in order to help prevent bacteria and other pathogens from travelling through the lymphatic system. The lymph nodes are areas of high immunological activity along with the bone marrow, thymus, spleen, liver, tonsils, adenoids, appendix, and peyer’s patches in the intestines.
The human immune system has the ability to recognize and protect against a huge variety of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that challenge the body daily. All parts of the immune system work together to help protect the human body. There is a growing concern however, that our bodies are being “overloaded” with progressively dangerous chemicals and pollutants in the environment that we can not rid ourselves of naturally.
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