The immune system is actually a network of body systems that work in coordination to protect us from both foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, that can cause infection, illness or disease, as well as keeping our body’s resident bacteria in balance (too much ‘good’ bacteria can also cause problems).
The immune system is a multifaceted mechanism comprised of two systems. This first is our innate immune system and is often described as our first line of defense. The innate immune system is comprised of our skin & nails, mucus membranes, stomach acid and other secretions; the digestive & lymphatic systems, our spleen, tonsils, adenoids, bone marrow and white blood cells. This system deals with offenders as minor as dust in our home environment (increasing tears in our eyes or through sneezing or coughing), to more harmful things such as dangerous microbes we may have ingested along with our food (thank you stomach acid!), or those that could gain entry to our body through broken skin (and also thank you to our white blood cells).
The second, more complex, part of the immune system is the adaptive immune system. This system has an “immunological memory”, and is therefore able to adapt and respond to pathogens by creating immune cells that can combat toxins with an enhanced response with future encounters.
While this all sounds very complicated, there are many simple things we can do to support our immune system. This month I’ll be discussing a few of them in more detail! Stay tuned!