Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Immune Response - A Look at How the Body Naturally Fights the Flu Virus

The immune system is made up of a network of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs that defend the body against invading bacteria and viruses. Through a series of steps, designated as the immune response, the immune system attacks invaders when they enter the body's system.
Leading Line Of Defense Against The Flu Virus
There are three categories of immunity: innate, adaptive, and passive. Innate immunity gives the body general protection from germs that affect other species, such as feline leukemia. Included in the innate or natural immunity community are the body's outer barriers such as skin and saliva. Adaptive or active immunity involves the lymphocyte network and develops throughout the human life. Passive or borrowed immunity is taken from another source and lasts for a short period of time. One example is the breast milk from a mother. It provides a baby with temporary immunity to the diseases a mother has been exposed to.
Adaptive immunity is the category that is developed through the body's white blood cell system. Also known as leukocytes, white blood cells seek out and destroy the harmful invaders that enter the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth. These defenders are produced and stored in many areas of the body including the thymus, spleen, bone marrow, and lymph nodes.
There are two types of white blood cells; phagocytes and lymphocytes. Phagocytes destroy invading organisms. While there are a number of different cells that comprise the phagocytes network, the most common of them is the neutrophil. It primarily fights bacteria while the other phagocytes make sure the body responds appropriately to specific germs. Lymphocytes recognize and remember former intruders and assist the body in destroying them if and when they return. There are two kinds of lymphocytes; B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. Initially they are all created in the bone marrow of our bodies and either stay there, maturing into B cells, or they move to the thymus gland where they mature into T cells. B cells find invading organisms and send out the T cells to destroy them.
How The Immune Response System Works When Fighting Flu
When bacteria and viruses, also known as antigens, are detected in the body, white blood cells work together to recognize and respond to the threat. These other cells prompt the B lymphocytes to produce antibodies, specialized proteins, which lock onto specific foreign agents and identify them for T lymphocytes. Once an antibody is developed, it exists within the body for the rest of an individual's life and provides protection against the specific germ it was created for, should the germ reappear. While antibodies recognize viruses and have the ability to lock onto them, they cannot kill them. That is what T lymphocytes do. Once the T lymphocytes locate the foreign agent, they destroy it. During the process, T lymphocytes also send out messages to other cells, most notably complements, that it is time for them to assist in the destruction of the invading bacteria and viruses as well.
Recognizing how the body's immune response system is effective in fighting flu encourages individuals to take an active role in determining their body's ability to fight flu by including supplemental agents in their daily routine. These supplements have the potential to augment the body's natural ability to provide antibodies, antiviral agents, and antioxidants during flu season. The most prominent of these supplements are vitamins, minerals, and herbs.
Supplements That Assist In Fighting Flu
The most notable supplements from the vitamin, mineral, and herb categories for fighting flu are vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and a strong antiviral agent, zinc, which increases the production of white blood cells, garlic, often used in antibiotics, and another less well-known immune booster, elderberry lozenges. Not only do elderberry lozenges provide immune support, but laboratory tests have also demonstrated that elderberry extract is effective in fighting seasonal influenza and the H1N1 flu virus. The nutrients found in the elderberry fruit work in much the same manner as B lymphocytes. By locking onto specific foreign agents and masking their outer proteins, these nutrients assist in blocking the infection of other cells.
Understanding how the body's immune response system works allows each individual to actively participate in fighting flu. One of the most beneficial actions rests with boosting the immune system. Supplements such as vitamin C, zinc, garlic, and elderberry lozenges assist the body's immune response by augmenting its natural ability to provide antibodies, antiviral agents, and antioxidants during flu season. By incorporating this knowledge into one's flu-fighting strategy, fighting flu will become more effective than ever before.
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Immune Response - A Look at How the Body Naturally Fights the Flu Virus
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