Must Know: Your Immune System
There is lots of buzz about your immune system. From articles about boosting your immune system to eating for immune system strength to how to keep your immune system healthy – there is so much information that it can be overwhelming.
As you can guess, here at AHCC Research, we are very interested in the immune system. Everything we do centers around how we can support, strengthen, and enhance your immune system. You could say we are experts on the immune system!
In this article, we’re going to dig into the key information you need to know about your immune system. Learn how it works and how you can support it with natural supplements. We will discuss immune system disorders and inform you on how to strengthen your immune system with good healthy everyday habits.
Immune system health is important for everyone. Regardless of age, gender, activity level, or overall health – the immune system must be healthy and strong. We urge you to share this blog post with your social network, friends, and family. Help everyone benefit from this knowledge, and live a better and healthier life.
What is the Immune System?
Your immune system is complicated. It’s made up of a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that fit together like a complicated puzzle to support your health and protect your from germs, bacteria, and viruses.
Your immune system has essentially one job – to protect your body from invaders that can make you ill. To do this, your immune system is always scanning your body to determine if bacteria, viruses, toxins, parasites, and other pathogens have entered your system or if any of your cells have mutated or become abnormal.
You have two basic types of immunity: innate and adaptive. Your innate immunity launches an immediate, non-specific attack against a threat. Your adaptive immunity takes longer to kick in, but produces a specific response to a particular microbe.
Your innate immunity is your first line of defense and made up of the following:
- Cytokines. These are chemical messengers that help your immune cells communicate and coordinate an immune response.
- Natural killer (NK) cells. These are the white blood cells (WBC) that recognize and destroy infected or abnormal cells by injecting granules into them, causing them to explode. Your WBC count is key in understanding your overall health – an elevated WBC count can indicate an illness and a low WBC count can put you at risk for illness.
- Macrophages. These are special WBC that engulf and ingest bacteria and cellular debris.
- Dendritic cells. These are the WBC that present foreign substances to B and T cells, initiating an adaptive response.
Your adaptive immunity is your second line of defense:
- B and T cells. Both B cells (which mature in bone marrow) and T cells (which mature in the thymus) are lymphocytes – WBC cells that are able to recognize previous invaders and destroy them with a specific response.
You want your innate and adaptive immune systems to be as strong and alert as possible. Most of us get ill due to compromised immunity, and it’s important that you do all you can to prevent this from occurring. To learn more about your immune system and how AHCC has been used to treat a range of health conditions, from minor ailments such as colds and flu, to serious diseases such as cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – read How does AHCC work?
What Are Immune System Disorders?
Unfortunately, your immune system is susceptible to disorders and disease. Just like any other organ or system in your body – illness and disease can happen. While we don’t want to worry you about immune system disorders, it is important to understand how your immune system can be compromised.
Immune system disorders include:
- Allergies and asthma. This is an immune system response to substances that are typically not harmful. For example, a peanut allergy or an anaphylaxis response to a bee sting.
- Immune deficiency disease. Some people suffer from immune system disorders in which their immune system is missing key parts. This makes it hard for these people to fight off disease and bacteria. You can be born with an immunodeficiency disorder (congenital) or develop the disorder later in life (acquired). Acquired disorders are more common than congenital disorders.
- Autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease causes your own immune system to attack your own cells and tissues. This happens by mistake and is attributed to having an over-active immune system. Common autoimmune diseases include ulcerative colitis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.
Generally, immune system disorders are treated with a combination of medications and treatments aimed at preventing infection, boosting the immune system, and in the case of autoimmune disease, suppressing over-active cells or agents.
How to Strengthen Your Immune System
Because your immune system is a complex network of interconnected cells, tissues, and organs – your lifestyle habits most definitely can impact how well your immune system functions. We do know that it takes a combination of healthy habits to give your immune system the support and edge it needs to protect you from disease and illness.
- Natural supplement. Take AHCC. Research proves that AHCC can modify both the innate and adaptive immune response. We know that AHCC can increase the production of cytokines, increases the activity of NK cells by 300 – 800%, increases the population of macrophages, increases the number of dendritic cells, and increases the number of T cells by as much as 200%.
- Sleep and rest are critical. There is a good reason why doctors and other healthcare professionals advocate for rest and recovery. You need to give your body time to heal. Studies show that immune system strength and sleep are closely linked – the better your sleep, the better you immune system strength. This is one of the reasons why when you are sick, you feel more tired and want to sleep. This is your body telling you to slow down and take the time to heal.
- Exercise for health. A healthy body is one that is strong, limber, and fit. This takes some work on your part. Integrating a daily walk, yoga practice, swim workout, or weight workout, for example, is just the stimulus your immune system needs. An added benefit to this exercise is that it can help you destress and sleep better.
- Control your stress levels. Yes, we know this is easier-said-than-done, but too much negative stress does have a detrimental impact on your immune system. Take steps to limit your negative stress. For example, devote time in your day that is just for you (take a walk at lunch free from your cell phone and coworkers), join a club or take up a hobby that lets you relax (pottery or watercolor painting can free your mind), surround yourself with positive people, or enjoy a regular movie night (choose a funny movie that is guaranteed to get you laughing).
- Wash your hands. Numerous studies have shown that clean hands and frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. Be aware of how often you touch your face or mouth. Always wash your hands after visiting the restroom. Try to sneeze into a tissue or into your arm. Cover your mouth when you cough. Clean any cuts, scrapes, or wounds – keeping them covered and protected from germs.
It’s important to remember that when you protect your immune system, you’re also protecting the immune system of your friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else you come in contact with.