All About Your Immune System
What it is, what it does, and why it’s important
What is the immune system?
The immune system is a complex system of organs, tissues, and cells that protects the body from external threats. This collection of cells, proteins, secretions, and chemical mediators works together to protect your body. It includes:
- Physical barriers (skin, mucous, and the cell linings of the digestive tract, veins, and arteries)
- Cells that send immune signals
- Cells that defend the body
Physical barriers keep invaders out, chemical signals attract specific and non-specific attack cells, and memory proteins stand ready to protect against future challenges. The immune system also includes chemicals that promote tissue repair and a return to health. When properly functioning, the immune system is constantly acting to shield your body and protect you when the body is compromised.
Immune System Facts
- Sunlight exposure helps increase vitamin D: a nutrient associated with immune health.
- Managing stress in healthy ways can counteract the negative effects of on-going stress on your immune system.
- Inflammation can be a healthy part of the immune response, as your body “fights” to keep you healthy.
- Healthy sleep habits support a healthy immune response.
- Supporting gut health with a healthy diet, probiotics, and prebiotics – as supplements when appropriate – also plays a role in promoting immune health.
The Immune System’s Function
Your immune system has two types of responses: innate and adaptive. The innate immune system is a non-specific response – your first line of defense. It’s composed of standard white blood cells. But there are some challenges that the innate immune response cannot clear on its own. That’s where the adaptive immune system comes in – a specific response composed of specialized white blood cells, called B cells and T cells, that launch a targeted defense. B cells flag challenges so your innate immune system is activated, while T cells work double-time to eliminate the challenges. Your immune cells do all this work to protect you as a swift and calculated response
Weak vs. Strong Immune System
When the immune system is weak, we are more vulnerable to a variety of symptoms that can keep us from feeling our best. When the immune system is strong, we are more likely to thrive. When a person has a ‘strong’ immune system, they are more likely to have the following qualities. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a person with a weak immune system would be more likely to have qualities seen on the ‘weak’ list.Download Infographic
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How to Strengthen Your Immune System
In every system of the body, cells and tissues need nutrition for energy to support daily activities that keep the body functioning. The immune system is no different. Proper nutrition, specifically including zinc and vitamin D, is a key part of the equation for strengthening your immune system.
Vitamin D is a micronutrient that assists with immune tolerance and inflammation regulation. It supports both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Many people require vitamin D supplementation as sources of this micronutrient include limited whole food options and direct access to sunlight.
Zinc is a trace mineral that is vital in maintaining the integrity of human body’s physical barrier, as well as the innate immune response. Zinc is also involved in the output of T and B cells, and a zinc deficiency would negatively impact the activation of cellular immunity.
Immune System Supplements
No matter the time of year, having a protocol to support your immune system support is always a good idea. Standard Process and MediHerb have several supplements that support immune health,* making immune system support supplements a convenient way to protect yourself.
Immune System Health Pack
Convenient everyday immune system support packs that contain Immuplex®, Cataplex® F, Cataplex® C and Calcium Lactate
Immune System Health Pack – Vegetarian
Convenient, everyday vegetarian immune system support packs that contain Epimune Complex, Cataplex® D, and Echinacea-C™
Helps balance a healthy immune system response function and delivers an excellent source of vitamin C and zinc*
Daily support for healthy immune system response function and provides ingredients with antioxidant activity