The Immune System

How does it work?

Immunity; a simple term but the function is very complex indeed. The immune system is comprised of a network of cellular structures and biochemical signalling pathways, which can be viewed rather like an army: various sections have specific jobs – intelligence gathering, communication, front line troops, reserve battalions, artillery and Special Forces.

The immune system is designed to protect the body from foreign and internal attackers such as poisons (chemicals, bites and stings etc), infections (bacteria, viruses), foreign objects (pollens, foreign cells, puncture wounds), also from internal mechanisms that may go wrong such as cell turnover,  growths and cancers. Without this protection, humans would have passed on many centuries ago.

An immune response can be non-specific (innate) or specific (adaptive). The innate system provides a non-specific response to invading pathogens, attacking anything identified as foreign. If the pathogen manages to get through this first line of defence, it is then exposed to the adaptive immune system. This provides highly specialised antibody protection against specific invaders that are remembered and recognized by the immune system.

When immunity goes wrong!

Immune problems may be divided into three basic groups:

  •  Infections, repeat illness, autoimmune and cancer group.
  •  Inflammatory group – allergies, skin problems, hay fever, asthma and irritable bowel type problems.
  • Barrier integrity group – including gut conditions, skin conditions, chronic sinusitis, etc.

And yes, these groups can certainly cross over and contribute to each other.

Poor immunity may be caused by numerous events such as excess exposure to chemicals, pollutants, prescription drugs, repeated immune assault, poor dietary and lifestyle habits and at times, genetics.

Immune cell definition

B cells, T cells and Natural Killer (NK cells).

T and B cells can recognize the bad guys (invading organisms) and generate specific reponses to remove the threat and any host cells that have already been infected.  These cells also create a  ‘memory’ of the attack, should the host encounter the same invader again.

Natural killer cells do not directly attack foreign invaders, but they do destroy host cells that have been attacked by a virus, or mutated into tumour cells.

 Macrophages & Dendrite Cells.

These cells  are phagocytic (they engulf and destroy the bad guys). They present pieces of the destroyed foreign body to the T cells, imprinting a memory of the invader so that it will be recognized immediately if it tries to attack again.

Neutrophils, Eosinophils, Basophils

These cells are responsible for targeting and destroying all types of micro-organisms, including bacteria, fungi  and parasites. They are also involved in allergic reactions and inflammation.

The Immune Connection

Immune compromised individuals will also suffer from poor gut functionality and vice versa – immunity will suffer creating a very effective self perpetuating adverse event. And all this before we even talk about what actually enters the mouth at the very start of the perilous journey.

Gut, the common issues

–: heart burn, irritable bowell, diverticulitis, crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, bowell cancer, stomach cancer, oesophageal cancers, ulcerations, infections – worms, parasitical, mold, yeasts, viruses, bacteria; polyps, constipation issues, diarrhoea, food allergens and many others….

Most of these have a resolution, however some may take best maintenance to provide ongoing relief….

It is time to Live Well!

Call 03 9785 7885 for further information or click below to make an appointment.

Nepean Naturopathic Centre – Making Health Easy

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