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How Does The Immune System Work?

by Tatiana Alcazar

October 28, 2019

A human body attacking by the virus and bacteria, this shows how our immune system fights against diseases.
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The immune system is the human body’s defense mechanism against all the infectious micro-organisms and pathogens. 

It is made up of special cells and organs that work together for defending the human body from contracting diseases. 

The leukocytes are the special cells, and the primary defense organs are so-called lymphoid organs. 

Meanwhile, the leukocytes circulate the human body through blood vessels. It's also the body that protects us against foreign substances and infectious diseases. 

So, the immune system is therefore responsible for keeping us healthy.

How The Immune System Works?

Since the immune system works by starting a series of steps known as immune responses to attack all substances that attack the body. Basically, when foreign substances enter the body, it detects them. 

The various types of leukocytes present in the body coordinate recognize and respond to the bacteria and viruses (Durani, 2019).

What makes the immune system weak?

The immune system works to protect human beings from contacting diseases; however, when it fails to do its job, illnesses and infections are the final result. 

Although, some things make the human system weak, including stress, lack of exercise, extreme hygiene habits, poor nutrition, dehydration, and drug consumption, most of these factors are external and can be managed to prevent the immune system from weakening.

Stress is an emotional factor that most people underplay. In fact, when you experience stress, your body responds by releasing cortisol from the adrenal glands, to manage the stress. 

Hence, an increase in the level of cortisol in the body causes a decrease in the production of prostaglandins, which helps in supporting the immune system.

In addition, this leads to the suppression of immune functions and the inflammation of several body organs. (Holtorf Medical Group, 2018).

Ways to Boost Your Immune System

There are multiple strategies you can follow to strengthen your immune system once you realize your body’s defense system is weak, 

The first approach lies in adopting a healthy lifestyle. Likewise, cutting down on the consumption of harmful drugs and exercising will go a long way into improving your body’s immunity as well.

Moreover, eating a balanced diet is also a must if you are serious about getting your health back in order.

However, if you realize that after all changes in your lifestyle you are still sickly, look for other ways to boost your immune system.

There are several proven ways in which you can boost your body’s immunity, as listed below:

  • Consume a lot of vegetables, fruits, and seeds.  These foods will provide your body with very special nutrients that will boost your immune system. 
  • Natural herbs and supplements; some herbs are scientifically proven to boost the immune system drastically. In fact, some of these herbs work effectively and are worth considering as a first resort.  Some of the best herbs in the market include olive leaf extract, Echinacea, Berberine, and Elderberry.

Olive Leaf Extract

Consuming olive leaf extract is,  in fact, one of the healthy ways to boost your immunity. 

Actually, they have used olive leaves for hundreds of years to help the immune system fight colds and other viral infections.

The most important component in olive leaf extract is oleuropein. this constituent, along with hydroxytyrosol and other compounds, actually work together to fight colds causing viruses and to stop respiratory infections. 

Also, these compounds work by stimulating the body’s immune response system and by preventing the replication of harmful bacteria and viruses (Comvita, 2016).

Echinacea

This is also another herb that has gained popularity for its ability to fight colds and other infections. It contains a mixture of active compounds that are perceived to be anti-microbial. 

Furthermore, all species of Echinacea have phenols that are very effective antioxidants. ​

All species of Echinacea except Echinacea pallida contain alkamides which also have a positive effect on the immune system.

So, consuming the extracts of this herb can help fighting colds and boosting your immunity (Nordqvist, 2017).

Berberine

Berberine is a constituent of different plants such as Chinese goldthread, Goldenseal, Oregon Grape, and Barbery. 

It has been used for more than 3000 years in Indian and Chinese medicine because of its many health benefits.

For instance, it helps in fighting diabetes; It also improves cholesterol levels, helps with weight loss, reduces inflammation, and it is an anticancer agent (Cohen, 2016).

Elderberry

Lastly, Elderberrys.  These are the fruits picked from the Sambucus tree. 

They have been used throughout history by Native Americans and Europeans to deal with a range of health problems, such as fighting off colds. 

They are also an excellent immunity booster.  In fact, a study conducted in 2010 suggested that elderberries contains chemical substances that have an antiviral effect. Therefore, these chemical components help attack cold and flu viruses.

Elderberries have, also, antioxidant constituents which are useful in reducing acne outbreaks (Barrell, 2018).

For more information and tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle, Check out our blog.

Sources:

  1. Barrell, Amanda. "Health benefits of elderberry" , MedicalNewsToday, 9 Oct. 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323288.php
  2. Cohen, Joe. "5 Potential Health Benefits of Berberine", SELFHACKED, 21 Oct. 2019, www.selfhacked.com/blog/berberine-19-health-benefits-of-berberine-with-references/
  3. " The Benefits Of Olive Leaf Extract-Immune Support", COMVITA, 03 March 2016, www.comvita.com.au/blog-article/the-benefits-of-olive-leaf-extract-immune-support/2600147
  4. Hirsch, Larissa MD. "Immune System", KidsHealth, Oct. 2019, www.kidshealth.org/en/parents/immune.html
  5. Group, HM. "Eight Ways To Weaken The Immune System", Holtorf, 2019, www.holtorfmed.com/eight-ways-weaken-immune-system/
  6. Brazier, Yvette. "Benefits, uses, and side effects of echinacea", MedicalNewsToday, 19 Dec.2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252684.php
  7. White, Linda B. MD. "10 Simple Ways To Boost Your Immune System" EVERYDAYHEALTH, 19 Aug. 2016, www.everydayhealth.com/columns/white-seeber-grogan-the-remedy-chicks/ten-simple-natural-ways-to-boost-immune-system/

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About the author 

Tatiana Alcazar  -  A software engineer, former IBMer, co-founder of Naravis Corporation and a mom, with a passion for finding the solution and root cause to everything that comes across, including health. It has been a long journey since founding Naravis and trying to find solutions to my leaky gut syndrome and pursue natural health. Throughout this journey I have learned an enormous amount of information (acquired knowledge) and I feel it's my duty to share my knowledge and my experience with you.

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