We don’t usually think of our Immune System and how it works unless something goes wrong. We get a cold or flu, frequent chest infections or recurrent asthma or maybe something more serious. It’s only then that we feel we may have been doing too much or are ‘run down’ or really start to consider that our Immune system may be depleted.
But how can we have an influence on it?
Our Immune System consists of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. The Bone Marrow and Thymus gland are called primary lymphoid organs because they produce our defence cells, the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. These are produced in the Bone Marrow and mature in the Thymus Gland.
The Thymus gland is the size of an orange in children and decreases in size with age. It was believed to have little use in adults but recent research has shown it can still have a significant function in immunity throughout our lives.
The secondary lymphatic organs are where these lymphocytes do their work. This is in the spleen, tonsils, mucous membranes of the bowel and in lymph nodes. Our lymphatic system transports these protective blood cells and removes old and damaged cells.
The Spleen acts as a filter for blood removing old or damaged red blood cells, stores platelets and white blood cells and also produces white blood cells to fight infection.
So as you can see, our Immune system works in amazing ways.
But what can we do to influence it?
Our brain and our Immune system are in constant communication with each other. If we are feeling stressed on a constant basis, our ‘flight or fight’ mechanisms kick in to help us survive. The endocrine system responds with the release of hormones such as cortisol and this severely depresses the immune system. It decreases inflammation, the production of white blood cells and increases the rate of tissue damage.
So reduction of stress is vital if we are to maintain our long term health.
A Diet high in sugar and processed foods has been shown to hamper the ability of white blood cells to fight infection so a healthy diet with plenty of whole foods, fruit and vegetables will make a huge difference.
Alcohol can affect the functioning of immune cells and increase your susceptibility to disease so look at moderating or reducing your consumption.
A good night’s sleep is vital for the replenishing of all your cells, especially your T-cells or lymphocytes so take measures to improve your sleep.
Other factors that can influence your immunity are exercise (increases circulation of antibodies and white blood cells, avoiding excessive use of antibiotics (weakens your immune system), smoking and obesity (trigger allergies and increase inflammation) and sufficient intake of water (helps remove toxins).
Regular Reflexology can have a profound affect on your Immune System too. It stimulates the functioning of your thymus gland and spleen and balances your whole body. It helps remove toxins via the liver and lymphatic system and powerfully reduces stress so your ability to fight disease is strengthened.
As you can see, there are many ways to boost your overall health and your ability to fight disease.
Can you influence your Immune System? Most definitely!
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References: www.corehealth.chiro.com, www.livescience.com, www.webmd.com, www.psychologytoday.com, www.rediff.com
Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.