Immune System Basics

Our immune system is our body’s system that keeps us safe from diseases & infections. It helps us keep ourselves healthy. When an exterior disease causing bacteria or any other agent enters our body the immune system deals with it. The atmosphere is filled with trillions of germs, every breath we inhale, drop of water we drink, bite of food we eat, all contain germs. We are vulnerable to attack by germs. 

The Lymphatic System plays a large role in immune function.  Lymph Vessels circulate and drain body fluids known as lymph to and from our organs.  Lymph transports nutrients to the organs and removes any excess substances from them.  Lymph also contains white blood cells – the soldiers of our body that kill a wide range of harmful invaders. White blood cells are manufactured in the thymus and bone marrow, then released into the lymph and circulated through the lymph vessels to their final destination.

Diet and lifestyle play a huge role in our immune system’s ability to keep our body functioning at its best.  Unhealthy habits significantly increase the number of harmful chemical compounds our body takes in.  These compounds, known as free radicals, are present in abundance in processed foods and alcohol. 

Free radicals destabilize healthy atoms in the body, causing cell damage that may eventually lead to illness and disease.  When our immune system constantly works to defend against free radicals, it has fewer resources available to fight off other invaders like viruses, bacteria, which is why we tend to get sicker when we fail to eat healthfully or live a wholesome lifestyle.

Because it fights to ward off disease and infections everyday, the immune system plays an essential role in protecting our health.  It is involved in everything from repairing a paper cut to killing life-threatening parasites.  Every illness, injury, and threat to the body requires an immune response in order to heal.

When compromised, however, the immune system may let in bacteria and viruses, which cause conditions like colds and flu’s.  If overworked, protective immune responses may even harm the body causing issues like chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease, which occur when the immune system attacks healthy body tissues.  The development of cancer is also linked to a compromised immune system.

So, what makes a person catch a disease while others stay healthy in same conditions?  It is nothing but the immune system’s strength.  Strong immune system fights against those germs and keeps you protected. 

The immune system is generally tolerant of self-antigens, so it does not usually attack the body’s own cells, tissues, and organs.  However, when tolerance is lost, disorders like autoimmune disease or food allergy may occur.