I keep hearing a lot about immune system and the importance to maintain a strong immune system in order to keep healthy. However there is not much definition about what are the components of the immune system and how does it actually work. I did some research to understand it a bit more and therefore also understand why does the immune system fail sometimes and we get sick.
Definition is, the immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, known as pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue. There are different ways and reasons for getting sick such as:
Mechanical damage – If you break a bone or tear a ligament you will be “sick” (your body will not be able to perform at its full potential).
Vitamin or mineral deficiency – there are number of diseases you can get if you don’t have enough of the right vitamins and minerals.
Organ degradation – In some cases an organ is damaged or weakened (eg. heart disease or liver damage)
Genetic disease – A genetic disease is caused by a coding error in the DNA. The coding error causes too much or too little of certain proteins to be made, and that causes problems at the cellular level.
Cancer – Occasionally a cell will change in a way that causes it to reproduce uncontrollably.
Viral or Bacterial Infection – When a virus or bacteria (also known generically as a germ) invades your body and reproduces, it normally causes problems. Generally the germ’s presence produces some side effect that makes you sick. This is the most common reason for people to get sick, eg. cold, flu, malaria, AIDS, measles, chicken pox, etc.
The job of your immune system is to protect your body from these infections. The immune system protects you in three different ways:
- It creates a barrier that prevents bacteria and viruses from entering your body.
- If a bacteria or virus does get into the body, the immune system tries to detect and eliminate it before it can make itself at home and reproduce.
- If the virus or bacteria is able to reproduce and start causing problems, your immune system is in charge of eliminating it.
The major components of the immune system are:
White blood cells
Each of these have a specific function in our body to keep the intruders from entering our body and maintain a good overall health. I never realized all these were part of the immune system, we don’t really put much thought into many of these, but they are all vital for reducing our chances of getting different diseases. I will not go into details on each of these components, however I think it is interesting to find out what is their function.
It is responsible for producing T-cells (see the next section), and is especially important in newborn babies – without a thymus a baby’s immune system collapses and the baby will die.
The spleen filters the blood looking for foreign cells (the spleen is also looking for old red blood cells in need of replacement). A person missing their spleen gets sick much more often than someone with a spleen.
Lymph nodes are one part of a system that extends throughout your body in much the same way your blood vessels do. Lymph is a clearish liquid that bathes the cells with water and nutrients. Lymph is blood plasma — the liquid that makes up blood minus the red and white cells.
Bone marrow produces new blood cells, both red and white.
White Blood Cells
The white blood cells are probably the most important part of your immune system. And it turns out that “white blood cells” are actually a whole collection of different cells that work together to destroy bacteria and viruses.
Antibodies (also referred to as immunoglobulins and gammaglobulins) are produced by white blood cells. They are Y-shaped proteins that each respond to a specific antigen (bacteria, virus or toxin).
The complement proteins are activated by and work with (complement) the antibodies, hence the name. They cause lysing (bursting) of cells and signal to phagocytes that a cell needs to be removed.
There are several hormones generated by components of the immune system. These hormones are known generally as lymphokines.
As white blood cells are one of the most important part of the immune system, we have to make sure they are at the optimal cellular growth and revitalized. The definition of a good immunity; one does not fall sick easily, and in the event of an illness recovery is very fast. Therefore the immune line of defense has to be in tip-top condition.
Yung Kien Lingzhi has been regarded as the top- grade crude drug for its attributes in preventing the onset of diseases, which means that it is capable of elevating the functions of the 1st line immune cells (phagocytes). Apart from exhibiting the ability to gulp down bacteria and viruses, phagocytes are also a form of antigen presenting cells (APCs). When the phagocytes in our body become defective, we become extremely vulnerable to severe and recurrent bacterial and viral infections, leading to the formation of organic abscesses, enlarged lymph glands, and tumour-like masses called granulomas.
As a feature of its immuno-modulation function, YK Lingzhi is capable of encouraging the production of antibodies, which bind and clot the germs, thus minimizing the harm done by the germs to our body. Another function of YK Lingzhi is promoting the production of immune cells. Individuals with weaker bodily resistance normally have a lower count of immune cells. YK Lingzhi is rich in macromolecular polysaccharides, which are capable of promoting the formation of Th1, thereby increasing the immune functions.
In order to seal the final victory in an immuno warfare, the immune system must possess 4 prerequisites: extermination of the enemies (by phagocytes and natural killer cells) at the first instance, replenishment of enough immune cells (T- & B-cells) in a short time, production of weaponry (promoting the proliferation of antibodies) in a short time, and avoidance of ‘friendly’ attacks on innocent (normal) cells (regulating the T-cell functions). In this respect, YK Lingzhi is the only health food that promotes the 5 functions of innate response and adaptive response at the same time.
Begin to arm yourself with a strong defense system because once you do get some serious disease it is not easy to reverse the damage done to the organs.