Immunity is a hot topic these days!
We all know that we have immune systems and are familiar with the concept of immunity – especially given recent events. But understanding more about the immune system can help you to take charge of your wellbeing and protect your health!
Here are the basics.
The human immune system is a complex network of tissue and cells found all throughout the body, from lymph nodes to the bloodstream to the digestive tract to the bone marrow. These components work together to orchestrate immune responses.
An immune response occurs when the body encounters a foreign substance (an antigen). An antigen can come from a wound, an insect bite, a bacterial infection, or a virus. When antigens enter the body through the skin, digestive system, or respiratory tract, the immune system is signalled to launch a defense by releasing specific fighting cells that work to disarm the antigen and prevent damage.
The way the immune system responds depends on the antigen and whether the body has encountered it in the past. Immune responses can be divided into two categories: innate and adaptive.
Innate or “non-specific” Immunity is our body’s first line of immune defense, the one that we are born with. It performs an immediate general response to perceived threats and defends the body in most cases.
- This immune reaction is fast, responding immediately to foreign substances.
- Known as general or “non-specific” immune response, as the response does not adapt to individual invaders.
Adaptive or “specific” Immunity is developed through life. It involves specialized immune cells and antibodies created through previous exposures that react specifically to invaders.
- This more complex response creates antibodies that are reactive to specific invaders.
- It can be a secondary reaction (to innate immunity) and involves specialized immune cells (B and T cells).
- This immune response forms “memories” from previous exposures to substances (acquired immunity) – so future reactions are more efficient.
Supporting Immune Health
Now, more than ever, we’re looking to build and maintain strong immune responses – to help prevent and limit infection!
The good news is that there are ways you can help fortify the body’s immune system for optimal responses that can reduce the likelihood and impact of illness.
A balanced immune system is your strongest immune system. If an immune response isn’t strong enough to adequately respond to threats i.e., because of an under-active system, it can result in (frequent) infections such as colds and flu. When the immune system is over-reactive and responds when there isn’t an actual threat (or stays activated once the threat has passed), different issues arise, like allergies and autoimmune disease.
Achieving balanced immunity means supporting whole body health, to ensure all systems are working optimally. This includes healthy lifestyle habits and the use of plant medicines specifically formulated to support immune health with strong, balanced responses.
Kicking the reactive immune system into action can make a significant difference in shortening the duration and severity of an illness! When infection strikes, taking the right plant medicines at the first symptoms can boost immunity PLUS fight infections at the source.
You can learn everything you need to know about proactive and reactive support for a strong immune system that shields you from illness and helps to fight back against infection in our blog: “Help Prevent and Minimize Impact of Common Viruses with the S.E.E.D. Approach”