By Jessica Valencia
Your Immune System is made up of a complex network of lymphatic organs, cells, and biochemistry. Our immune response to the daily onslaught of pathogens and foreign particles that challenge our bodies relies on a two part response that includes a PRIMARY defence system and a SECONDARY defence system.
The Primary immune response is made up of skin and the mucus membrane (the ‘skin’ on our insides that lines the sinus cavity, lungs, the oesophagus, stomach and all the way through to the bowel). We produce a number of fluids including phlegm and mucus to trap and remove offenders!
The Secondary immune response relies on antimicrobial proteins, natural killer cells, phagocytes and inflammatory chemistry action.
In this image a Natural Killer Cell reaches out and attaches to a pathogen and gives it ‘the kiss of death’ as it releases chemicals that can destroy it.
Other cells such as phagocytes will engulf the remnants and discard the left overs. Our body then eliminates waste via the lymphatic system and elimination pathways.
5 Things You can do to Help your Immune System stay Healthy and Ready for any Immune Challenges that come Your way!
- Probiotics provide the beneficial microorganisms that help the lymphatic network surrounding the bowel by reducing the chances for opportunistic bacteria to colonise the bowel.
- Vitamin C supports phagocytes and enhances the ability of natural killer cells to perform when taken in high therapeutic doses. It modulates your immune response and decreases histamine as a natural anti-histamine.
- Zinc is involved in many aspects of immune function. It is needed for normal development of white blood cells that make up the team of cells for cell response. A deficiency in zinc can reduce the army of cells by 80%!
- Echinacea has been clinically trialled for its medicinal action. The root of the plant contains constituents that have an important biochemical action on our bodies. It has been shown to help improve the activity of phagocytes the cells that help natural killer cells. It is an immune modulating herb that makes us better at fighting off bacteria and viruses.
- Hydration is important for all body processes and we need fluid to flush out cell waste and allow our cells to do their job well. When we are well hydrated we give ourselves a better chance to fight off colds and flu. Warm water, rehydrating fluids and even clear chicken soup can help your cells and immune system.
Your Naturopath can recommend the most appropriate dose of nutrients for you based on an assessment of your Immune Status and health history. Taking nutrients in the correct dose will provide the most benefit to ensure you are prepared for the cold and flu season.
Braun L, Cohen M. 2007 Herbs&Natural Supplements. An Evidence-Based Guide. 2nd edition. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. Sydney
Hechtman L. 2011 Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Elsevier Sydney