How to strengthen a weakened immune system ?
Our body is equipped with a defense shield from foreign agents called the immune system , it is a complex apparatus consisting of different types of cells and molecules that continuously circulate throughout the body by selecting and counteracting viral agents, bacteria and other elements that they can be harmful to health.
There are mainly two types of activities related to the immune system, we talk about the non-specific innate function and the adaptive specific function.
In the first case it is a series of pre-existing “structures” that immediately come into action in response to the presence of foreign bodies to the normal functioning of the body, among these we include the skin, mucous membranes, mouth, nose, ears and different types of secretions such as saliva and sweat.
Once the possible foreign body has to overcome these first innate and natural barriers, then a second immune response takes place, sized according to the specific type of viral, infectious or other type of aggression.
In this second case, our body adapts to the new situation by producing specific compounds that should be able to destroy everything that is considered foreign to the organism.
Immune system: characteristics of adaptive function
The specific response mechanism is activated by the body when there are foreign bodies that have overcome the first immune barriers , this mechanism is mediated by two types of cells, T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes, let’s see them:
- the former circulate in the blood to search for foreign bodies and selectively avoid the cells of the organimus, recognizing them as their own;
- the latter, on the other hand, are synthesized by the bone marrow and accumulate in the lymph nodes, recognize the antigen (i.e. the foreign body) and begin to clone to eradicate the problem, it must be said that part of these clone cells do not attack the pathogen but have a memory function useful for any future attacks of the same bacterium or virus.
What symptoms tell us that we are immune depressed
Usually in a healthy person the immune system is able to eradicate all infections and bacteria that can attack the body.
However, the situation is quite different when there is a condition called immune depression , that is, a reduced ability of the body to protect itself from more or less harmful foreign bodies.
To understand and evaluate your situation, we can refer to a series of characteristic symptoms that can indicate that we are “affected” by this problem.
Without going into an objective examination, anamnesis or even serological tests to evaluate the levels of T and B lymphocytes , all of which are due to the intervention of the doctor, we can certainly say that the symptoms of immunosuppression are characteristic of infections. , viral, bacterial or even fungal.
So probably, if you have a compromised immune system, you will often have symptoms similar to those of the classic cold, flu or even pneumonia , certainly depending on the severity of the immunodepression.
What are the determining causes of a weakened immune system
We must distinguish two types of immune depression , the first is that of those who inherit immunodeficiency conditions, while the second is determined by several other conditions, let’s see them:
- acquired immune deficiency syndrome better known as AIDS, these subjects can run into serious health problems also caused by a mild infection, their immune system is so defeated and ineffective;
- removal of the spleen , a fundamental organ for the endogenous synthesis of white blood cells which in turn produce specific antibodies;
- low protein diet , proteins are essential to make the immune system strong, in fact at night our body breaks them down and then transforms them back into the compounds that are necessary to fight foreign bodies;
- insufficient night sleep , just at night our metabolism re-processes the proteins which, as mentioned above, are fundamental for the immune response, so if we don’t sleep enough the immune system suffers, in the long run, even severely;
- subjects undergoing chemotherapy or heavy administration of antibiotic therapies , such as cancer patients or people who have undergone major surgery;
- old age , unfortunately the organs responsible for producing those killer cells that kill infections become less efficient over the years and therefore the level of effectiveness of the immune system is reduced;
- conditions of high psychophysical stress in the social sphere that can also be caused by problems of everyday life and worries, according to what was reported by a recent study that highlighted a correlation between stress and intestinal microflora.
How to cure immunosuppression naturally
To know which therapy is best for the specific case, it is essential to understand what are the reasons for the decreased immune system.
Once this data is understood, it will be possible to move in a specific way, eliminating the cause where possible or treating the consequences that are produced.
Unfortunately, in some cases it is not possible to do anything and therefore in the long run there will be a very severe course up to death from infection, regardless of the type of pathogen.
On the other hand, the situation in which there is a treatable immunosuppression is different, and here various aspects come into play including, very important, nutrition and also the possible use of specific supplements to increase the immune defenses .
Let’s start with the diet by saying that, of course, a balanced and well-sized diet based on all types of macro and micronutrients will be well received by the immune system.
Certainly, foods rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for the proper functioning of our immune system will be preferred, see for example ascorbic acid or calciferol contained above all in fruit, the first, and in fish, the second.
Food supplements for the weakened immune system
As for the nutrients that can also be taken with supplements, here is a rather exhaustive list of those that are best suited to determine an immunostimulating effect, and therefore:
- Vitamin C , a water-soluble micronutrient that our body does not self produce and cannot keep, is known as an aid to prevent colds and seasonal ailments;
- Vitamin D , present above all in foods of animal origin, is connected with the power of T lymphocytes that come into play in the case of very dangerous infections;
- glutamine and arginine , two amino acids that are also used, parental, in the clinical setting in post-operative states, so powerful are they in helping the immune system;
- zinc, selenium and tocopherols , again essential mineral and vitamin micronutrients that act in the primary and also specific immune response, in particular selenium supports the presence of selenoproteins which are fundamental for the function of leukocytes;
- probiotics and prebiotics , these are live lactic ferments and nutrients for the healthy intestinal flora, therefore directly connected with the level of intestinal immunity, a very important factor for the body;
- plant extract of echinacea , increases the activity of polymorphonuclear granulocytes and phagocytes.
Finally, we cannot forget the connection between the immune system and lipid molecules , in particular of fatty acids including those of the omega family.
The relationship that exists between these fats and the immune response is very complex, so we will try to examine it in broad terms at least to understand the basics.
Mainly the help of fatty acids towards the immune system takes place in three ways, we are talking about energy and functionality support due to the fact that some fatty acids are precursors of the phospholipids that make up cell membranes.
In addition, fatty acids of some types help the endogenous release of pro-inflammatory molecules such as leukotrienes, thromboxanes and prostaglandins, compounds that activate inflammatory states also on the “directive” of the immune system in order to make the body understand that there is a problem, regardless of the type of cause, whether viral or bacterial or other, that induced it.
When to take an immunosuppression supplement
There are three factors that lead us to take an immunoprotective supplement to help the weakened immune system, so let’s talk about:
- a wrong diet poor in all those nutrients mentioned above, think of those who feed mainly on fast food;
- a specific condition under which the doctor will prescribe the supplement;
- in the event that the body cannot or cannot self synthesize certain compounds.
In the latter case we must give examples to better understand what it is, take for example vitamin D3 and echinacea.
In the first case we are dealing with the biologically active form of vitamin D, a compound that our body produces only in response to direct exposure to the sun’s rays. Unfortunately, today we spend most of our time indoors under artificial lights and therefore a deficiency of this important vitamin is very common.
For echinacea the speech is even simpler, it is in fact a compound that is not present in our common diet, that is , it is not found in food but can only be absorbed by the specific plant extract.
Finally, let’s not forget to also mention those vitamins that are photo and heat sensitive and that dramatically reduce their bioavailability when subjected to light and heat, see ascorbic acid and B vitamins.
Warnings for immunosuppression
If you suspect you are “affected” by this condition, do not take any dietary or supplementary initiatives without listening to your doctor’s advice , especially if you also have other specific conditions or are taking medications.
If, on the other hand, you are healthy but want to try to prevent any problems of this type, follow the instructions above both relating to normal nutrition and the use of food supplements for the weakened immune system.