How the Immune System Identifies and Destroys Threats
The immune system is one of the most important systems of the body. The word immune comes from the Latin word “immunis,” meaning “free” and “exempt.”
How the immune system works is to keep the body free and exempt of foreign invaders is very interesting. Keep reading to find out more about your immune system and some of the ways that you can lend it a helping hand.
Basics of the Immune System
The immune system is given three main tasks to complete each day. If it accomplishes them successfully, you can consider yourself lucky. Your doctor may even describe you as “normal,” medically speaking. Here are the immune system’s three main tasks:
- Neutralize bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi that have entered the body.
- Recognize harmful substances found in the environment, and neutralize them if possible.
- Fight cells in the body that have changed due to illness, such as cancerous cells.
The immune system operates mostly without your knowledge, but there are times where you will notice its effects. An allergic reaction is one way. Another is an auto-immune disorder, which is where the body misidentifies healthy cells in your body as an enemy and attacks them.
Correctly identifying “bad” cells is important, but the immune system can get it wrong. When it goes right, the immune system will target the bad stuff through the innate and adaptive immune system.
You are born with your innate immune system. Through eons of human evolution, this system has, in a sense, filled a library with knowledge about what should not enter the human body. When something does get in, the innate immune system responds and attacks, engulfing the invader with specialized cells that destroy and prevent its spread.
The adaptive immune system is more complex. When the body encounters an unknown invader, like a mutated cold or flu virus, the immune system must “learn” the organism, then develop antibodies that specifically kill that particular virus, fungus, or whatever else can cause harm to the body. Immunization is a way of introducing certain inactive pathogens into the body, which the body can then learn and be ready to respond more quickly in the future, like the flu, measles, HPV, and others.
People with allergies are an example of when this system breaks down. Why some people’s bodies overreact to peanuts or pollen (non-harmful substances) isn’t entirely clear. It may be possible to receive medication that reduces or prevents a negative reaction, but there is currently no cure.
How to Support the Immune System
Besides managing stress, getting enough sleep, eating right, and washing your hands, you can use supplements that work in harmony with the immune system to keep you feeling at your best.
Plant Therapy has a few essential oil blends that may be worth your consideration. Tea Tree Essential Oil is an aromatic plant oil product that may support a healthy immune system when you inhale, or your can apply to your skin to fend of microbes. Immune Boom KidSafe Essential Oil Roll-On is a formula for kids that may support the immune system by applying the product to the nest, chest, or feet.
Immune Support from Dr. Mercola is an herbal complex with vitamin C, D3, and oregano oil that seeks to support the body’s immunity against environmental challenges, as well as support for a healthy stress response. Or you can try Daily Immune from Pure Encapsulations, which combines citrus bioflavonoids, zinc, vitamin C, and other compounds that are essential for helping the immune system to maintain proper functioning each day.
The immune system is incredibly valuable, and making small investments through healthy habits and supplements may help to keep it working at its best.