How to Improve Your Immune Function So It Can Fight Its BEST!
The recent virus event(s) has made everyone start thinking about their immune system. Some are getting a vaccine to try to increase immunity to the virus. Others are trying to use vitamins and minerals to improve their immune function so they don’t get sick. It is a good idea for us to review the immune system to get a good idea of how to improve it.
Life is messy. Our existence creates waste. No matter where you go, there is a need to clean up. I clean my house. I mop the floor. I get out all the spider webs, and bugs. I clean the toilet and scrub the shower. The kitchen must be cleaned a lot. People make waste like urine and feces, but there is also a lot of microscopic waste like skin cells that are left all over. They say 25% of house dust is skin cells… yuck!
The inside of the body is just as messy and must be cleaned continuously. Many different cells and organs do the cleaning. The liver cleans up the toxic chemicals. The spleen cleans the particulate matter out of the blood. Our immune cells do most of this! These cells are amazing!
Types of Immune Cell Functions
Macrophages – clean up dead or infected cells and debris. They are not specific, they just look for junk, but must be activated by T-cells or neutrophils. Macrophages eat up, digest tired old cells, and spit out the amino acids and fats so they can be recycled. When antibodies bind to proteins that are not needed macrophages then eat them and recycle the amino acids.
T-cells – bind to infected cells and kill them by punching holes in them. Each T-cell is specific to a single virus or invader.
B-cells – make antibodies to bind to invaders outside of cells; they are also specific to that infection.
Antibodies – are proteins that bind to specific viruses or waste floating freely to mark it for clean-up by the macrophages.
NK cells – Natural killer cells do not need to recognize a specific invader. They will kill everything that is not healthy. Healthy cells have proteins on the outside that tell the NK cell not to kill it. When a cell becomes senescent, cancerous or infected with a virus, it stops making those proteins, so the NK cells take it out, and leave the carcass for macrophages to clean up.
Neutrophils – These are the white blood cells that make pus. They can be either specific to a certain pathogen, or non-specific by just knowing that it is “not one of us.” They also make a lot of signals to T-cells, B-cells, and macrophages to “come and help!”
Beyond these, there are other types of cells, for example, some that cause allergies.
Our cellular immunity (T-cells, neutrophils, and macrophages) can take out the infected cells before they become virus factories. Vaccine immunity only gives antibodies. This is why natural infection is so much better than vaccine immunity. Those with natural infections have lifetime immunity whereas vaccines that only produce antibodies may only last a few months.
Autoimmune diseases – We think of these soldiers of ours turning against their own people. Autoimmune disease is “friendly fire.” We are fighting against ourselves. Actually, there is a natural response to the clean-up processes that suppress inflammation, but chronic stress and deficiencies can allow inflammation. Moreover, we have excess of some proteins being made that must be cleaned up by the immune system, causing us to make more antibodies against ourselves. It’s simply a cleaning process.
Stress – Short-term stress activates the immune function of all cells allowing healing and repair. However long-term stress causes more suppression of immune response. Stress has the most far-reaching effect on immune function. Stress suppresses the cellular immunity and increases antibodies, allowing autoimmune disease. What’s more, it decreases NK cell function, allowing cancer to grow because there is more suppression of T-cells.
There are simple ways to manage stress. For example, controlled breathing helps induce the relaxation response, which improves immune function. Meditation also has a greater effect than diet.