The immune system is composed of cells and organs which protect the body from infection and disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungus, and parasites (kind of germs). The immune system likewise eliminates malignant cells and pre-cancerous cells which are out of control. This fights illness and makes you healthy whenever it works properly. Whenever the immune system is compromised, bacteria and other aberrant cells in the body have an easier time causing illnesses and disorders.
The Immune System’s Key Organs
Your skin, the body’s single biggest organ, serves as the first line of protection against microorganisms. This creates a physical barrier between the body and bacteria and viruses. Viruses also including HIV are unable to penetrate typical, healthy, undamaged skin. HIV can enter the body through unbroken mucous membranes, which would include the moist membranes of the vagina (birth canal), rectum (“butt”), & urethra (urinary tract) (the tube that brings urine out of the body).
Germs that seem to get into the body are dealt with by the internal elements of the immune system. The bone marrow is where the white blood cells that guard the body against invaders and remove potentially hazardous aberrant cells begin their existence. They move to the lymph organs, which serve as a home base for mature white blood cells after they leave the bone marrow. The white blood cells are waiting for orders to battle illness.
The lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, appendix, tonsils & adenoids, as well as Peyer’s patches inside the small intestine, are also all lymph organs that can be found all through the body. The neck, armpits, belly, and groyne all have lymph nodes. Each lymph node has cells that are prepared to fight off invaders. Lymphatic veins connect lymph nodes and transport lymph, a clear fluid that “bathes” the body’s tissues and aids in the removal of invaders or pathogens.
The spleen is a vital organ for maintaining a strong immune system. This is about the size of a fist and sits in the top left corner of the abdomen (“belly”). Its primary function is to filter blood plus identify and eliminate worn-out white blood cells.
Immune System Cells of Major Importance
The immune system’s important cells include:
· Macrophages and dendritic cells
· T and B cells
1. Macrophages and Dendritic Cells
Dendritic cells are primarily located in the skin and mucous membranes which guard the body’s openings (e.g., nose, mouth, and throat). Invaders are captured and transported to the lymph nodes or spleen by these cells. The intestines (“gut”), lungs, liver, & brain are all protected by macrophages (whose name originates from Latin and means “great eaters”). Macrophages, like dendritic cells, collect and transport pathogens to the lymph organs. Scavengers refer to these 2 types of white blood cells. They consume (devour) foreign invaders, split them apart, and show bits of the germs on its surfaces, which are recognized as antigens (from antibody-generating). The body could then produce antibodies against that specific germ, allowing it to rid itself of the invader more quickly and remember it in the future. These cells also create chemical messengers called cytokines, which tell other immune cells when they should act.
2. T Cells
Helper T cells could identify antigens that have been processed and presented on the surface of macrophages (also known as CD4 cells). Once CD4 cells “see” the antigens on display, they coordinate and control the activity of those other immune cells, like killer T cells, B cells, including macrophages, to combat the intruder. To communicate successfully with other immune system cells, CD4 cells release a variety of cytokines.
Killer T cells target and kill virus-infected cells as well as aberrant cells that could turn malignant. Once the invader has been defeated, suppressor T cells turn off the immune system’s attack. This is to ensure that the killer T cells stop killing once their mission has been completed. CD8 cells are used to describe both killer and suppressor T lymphocytes.
3. B Cells and Antibodies
CD4 cells also activate B cells, which are another type of immune cell. Antibodies are produced by B cells when they detect an antigen (also called immunoglobulins). Antibodies are proteins that bind to antigens like a key to a lock. Each antibody binds to a distinct antigen.
When you’re first introduced to a germ, it takes a long time for your body to generate antibodies to combat it (a few weeks to a few months). However, if you’ve been exposed to a germ before, you’ll likely still retain B cells (also known as memory cells) in your body that recognise or “remember” the repeat invader. This permits the immune system to respond quickly. That’s why some infections, such as chickenpox or measles, only affect people once. Vaccines function in the same way: they expose your body to an inactive or attenuated (altered) form of a certain germ, causing your immune system to create antibodies against it.
The importance of nutrition in the development of a strong immune system cannot be overstated. Immunity can only be boosted by eating the correct foods. Here are some immune-boosting nutrients:
1. Vitamin A
It is one of the most important vitamins in the body.
This is a potent antioxidant that boosts immune function by encouraging the formation of white blood cells (WBCs). Sweet potatoes, winter squash, bell pepper carrots, pumpkin, plus mango are some of the foods that are high in vitamin A.
2. Vitamins C and E-
These are two antioxidant vitamins that help the body to fight free radicals. These include a lot of antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals and boost immunity. Oranges, strawberries, kiwi, lemon, guava, red bell peppers, and amla are just a few examples of vitamin C-rich foods. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, and broccoli are among the items high in vitamin E.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps to keep viral and respiratory tract illnesses at bay. It also aids in the prevention of other chronic illnesses such as hepatitis and heart disease. Improve your vitamin D intake by eating fortified cereals, cheese, eggs, and milk.
It increases the formation of white blood cells (WBCs). Cashews, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and lentils, yoghurt, and chickpeas are all excellent sources of zinc in the diet.
5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These vital nutrients help WBCs perform better by reducing inflammation. Flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, even avocados are all good sources of omega-3.
By battling bacterial and viral infections, this macronutrient aids immune system function. Quinoa, legumes, soy products, paneer, seeds and nuts, broccoli, and other protein-rich foods must be included in your diet.
Changing Your Way of Life
A few lifestyle adjustments that can help the immune system work better are listed below.
1. Sleeping well
For healthy recuperation, our bodies require adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation can impair the immune system’s ability to function. To make your immunity strong, try to get at least 7 hours of restful sleep each night.
2. Factors affecting one’s lifestyle
Keep an eye on your drinking and cigarette intake, as both can significantly reduce the immune system’s response to microorganisms, making you more susceptible to diseases.
The production of cortisol hormone in the body is triggered by high levels of mismanaged stress. This can harm lymphocyte function.