Your Immune System
The immune system is the guardian of the body. It is our defense system, protecting us from foreign invaders by using a highly complex and efficient defense system with many different pieces. All these pieces work synergistically to protect the body from illness.
The lymphatic system, although separate, is closely related and shares several organs and functions with the immune system.
The immune and lymphatic systems distribute fluids and nutrients throughout the body and drain excess fluids and proteins so that the tissues do not swell. They also destroy any cells that are worn out or damaged.
How the Immune System Works
The immune system is in a constant state of readiness to remove any foreign material from our bodies. It filters out toxins (also called "antigens") which includes anything ranging from a foreign chemical in food we have swallowed, and water we have drank, to a virus, bacteria, parasite, or fungus. These antigens enter the body and create what is called an "immune response." This is when two types of white blood cells (leucocytes and lymphocytes) are released into circulation to remove the invader from the body.
Leucocytes are made within the bone marrow, and migrate to every tissue in the body in large numbers. They identify and eliminate toxins and are made up of phagocytes (macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells), mast cells, eosinophils, basophils, and natural killer cells.
Lymphocytes are processed during childhood in the thymus gland and other areas of the body. These small, white blood cells play a large role in defending the body against disease. The two types of lymphocytes are:
- B-cells, which make antibodies that attack bacteria and toxins
- T-cells, which help destroy infected or cancerous cells
Killer T-cells are a sub-group of T-cells that kill any cells that are infected with viruses and other pathogens, or which are in some way damaged. Helper T-cells help determine which immune response the body needs to make.
What Are Antigens & Antibodies
Antigens are protein molecules. The proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, for example, are all antigens. Each protein is unique and is determined by the amino acid sequence that makes up its protein structure. The immune system sees these antigens and destroys them. It does this by creating a mirror-image protein "mold" for each invader that then fits perfectly onto the invader and destroys it. This special mold is called an antibody. The next time the same antigen tries to invade the body, the immune system "remembers" and the custom-made antibody mold captures and destroys it.
Antigen enters the body Immune response Antibody created Antigen destroyed
Sometimes, a foreign invader is very aggressive and creates a large response from the immune system. This response can cause significant pain and inflammation during the healing process.
When we receive a vaccination against a disease (also known as an immunization, or inoculation), a tiny amount of the antigen is usually injected into our body. It is so tiny that it does not make us sick, but it does stimulate the body to produce antibodies that will protect us from any future attack by the germ. Common vaccinations include chicken pox, measles, and tuberculosis.
- Learn about vaccinations The pros vs. cons
- Current 2014 vaccine schedule View the CDC recommendations
- Need guidance? Make an educated decision on vaccinations
- The controversial flu vaccine Natural supplements are more effective
- Pet vaccinations What they need & how to prevent over-vaccination
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and lymph nodes that act as the sewage system of the body. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to:
- Transport a clear, colorless fluid around the body called "lymph," which contains white blood cells that helps rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials.
- Produce immune cells such as lymphocytes and monocytes.
The word "lymphatic" comes from the Latin word lymphaticus, meaning "connected to water." Lymph itself is a clear fluid. The lymphatic system acts as a main highway, transporting white blood cells to and from a series of lymph nodes that are located in different areas of the body. As the lymphatic fluid moves throughout the body, it collects waste products and toxins and disposes of them through the bladder, bowel, lungs, and skin.
The lymphatic system is vital for both detoxification and the immune system. If it is not working properly, then a wide range of illnesses can develop.
The organs of the immune system are called "lymphoid organs." They are positioned throughout the body, and include the bone marrow, thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes.
The lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped nodes that contain specialized white blood cells called lymphocytes. These cells trap and destroy harmful organisms and drain fluids from tissues. Lymph nodes also contain lymph, which carries these white blood cells to different parts of the body.
Lymph nodes are a bit like the spleen, but whereas the spleen filters blood, lymph nodes filter lymph.
When the body is fighting infection and producing antibodies to fend off foreign invaders, lymph nodes can become enlarged and feel sore.
The spleen is the largest lymphatic organ in the body. It contains many specialized white blood cells that fight infection and disease. It performs several functions, including filtering the blood, and disposing of old or damaged blood cells.
While bone marrow is not considered an organ, it is vital to the immune system. Bone marrow is a yellow tissue that lies in the center of the bones and is produced by white blood cells in a process called hematopoiesis. Some cells of the immune system mature in the bone marrow, and some travel to other areas of the body to complete their maturation.
The bone marrow is responsible for the production of important immune system cells like B-cells, granulocytes, natural killer cells, and immature thymocytes. It also produces red blood cells and platelets.
The thymus is a small, butterfly-shaped organ that is located in the upper chest area above the heart. It is fully developed at birth and grows until puberty, after which it becomes fatty and shrinks to about 15% of its maximum size.
The thymus is most active during our childhood. Its main function is to produce lymphocytes called mature T-cells. These T-cells instruct other cells on how to react to foreign invaders. As they mature in the thymus, T-cells learn to tell the difference between "self" (the body's own cells) and "none-self" (foreign organisms or diseased cells).
The Immune System At Work
Although we are unaware of it, our immune system is working 24/7 to protect us. Sometimes, we do see it in action:
- When a bug such as a mosquito bites us, our immune system causes inflammation in the form of a red, itchy bump.
- When we get a cut, our immune system responds and eliminates any invaders while the skin heals itself and seals the puncture.
- When we experience food poisoning, our immune system triggers a bout of diarrhea or vomiting to vigorously expel the foreign substance.
- When we come down with the cold, flu, illness, or infection, our recovery shows us that our immune system responded by healing us.
How Our Immune System Becomes Compromised
Why is it that germs and viruses can appear to have no impact on one person, and yet wreak havoc in the body of another? It comes down to the health and integrity of the immune system, which is dependent on our overall state of health. For disease to take hold of the body, the immune system has in some way become compromised or overwhelmed.
At the most basic level, our immune system becomes compromised when the vibrational state of our body is lowered for an extended period of time. A healthy body resonates at a frequency of 62-78 Mhz. When the frequency drops below this range, we open the door to illnesses that resonate at lower frequencies (cancer, for example, emits a frequency of 42 Mhz). To learn more about how the vibrational state of our body determines whether we are healthy or get sick, check out the Body Healer protocol.
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The most common things that lower our vibrational state include:
- Stress. One of the most serious contributors to chronic disease and the weakening our immune system is stress. Learn more about how stress affects your health and what you can do to reduce and eliminate stress from your life.
The highly chemicalized and processed westernized food chain that is the standard American diet is low in nutrient-rich foods that the immune system needs to be healthy. Learn more about The Dirty Dozen and why your health depends on eliminating them from your life.
- Recent illness
The immune system is still playing catch-up and rebuilding itself, which makes it more vulnerable to illness.
- Lack of rest and sleep
During sleep, we give our systems a chance to rebuild and clean house. Lack of sleep can reduce our production of white blood cells needed to fight disease. People who sleep less than 7 hours each day are more likely to get sick when exposed to germs and viruses than those who sleep 8 hours or more.
- Lack of exercise
Exercise improves blood circulation and the circulation of antibodies. It also stimulates the lymph to remove waste from the body. Gentle rebounding on a mini trampoline is a fantastic way to increase the flow of lymph.
Especially immune-suppressant drugs that damage the immune system, and antibiotics that wipe out the important intestinal flora in our gut. Excessive use of antibiotics weakens the immune system and increases the likelihood of bacteria that is resistant to the effects of the immune system.
Typical on the standard American diet devoid of high-water content foods such as fruits and vegetables. Hydration is key to the efficient transportation of nutrients to our cells and removal of toxic waste from our cells and out of the body.
- Smoking, drugs, & excessive alcohol
Smoking, and the 4,000+ chemicals cigarettes contain, all serve to weaken the immune system of both the smoker, and those in the room who breathe in the second hand smoke. Drugs and excessive alcohol also impede the functioning of immune cells and their ability to fight disease. Learn more about stimulants & addictions and how to quit your addiction today!
- Environmental & industrial chemicals
Exposure to industrial and environmental chemicals can cause serious harm to the body, and result in chronic conditions such as cancer and autoimmune disorders. This includes the chemicals in commonly used household cleaners that are highly toxic to the human body. Create your own natural cleaning cabinet with non-toxic products that are just as effective.
How We Strengthen & Rebuild Our Immunity
There are many things in our lives that reduce our immunity; from the foods we eat, to the stress we put ourselves under, the highly chemicalized products we put on our body (from cosmetics and lotions, to soaps and hair products), and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.
How do we build and strengthen our immunity? To understand how we can restore ourselves to a state of health and vitality, we must first understand how we get sick. Sign up for the Body Healer protocol and discover how to free yourself from disease for good.
- Learn about your immune system & how it works
- Understanding autoimmunity
- Inflammation: What it is & what causes it
- Anti-inflammatory & immune suppressing drugs
- Autoimmune conditions