In this article you will learn exactly how your body's defense system works, what its tasks are and how you can strengthen it. We will also explain to you what influence the intestine has on our immune system and how this can affect our health. Have fun while reading!
How does the immune system work?
The immune system is like the body's own bodyguard. It protects our body from pollutants, pathogens and pathogenic cell changes. It also includes various organs, cell types and proteins. You realize that the immune system has an all-encompassing influence on all areas of our body. However, this also means that a weakened immune system has negative effects on the entire organism. If the immune system fails because it is weakened or cannot do anything against particularly aggressive pathogens, you become ill. Pathogens that the body has never come into contact with have an easy time of it, because the immune system does not yet have any antibodies ready to defend itself against them!
The tasks of the immune system
The protective shield against the outside world - without the immune system, humans would be defenseless against harmful environmental influences. But dangers do not only come from the outside world to our body. The immune system also protects us from internal changes that are harmful to our health.
Don't worry, we'll now explain the individual tasks of the immune system in more detail. It is responsible for rendering pathogens such as viruses, parasites, fungi or bad bacteria harmless and at the same time transporting them out of the body. It is also there to recognize pollutants from the environment and then neutralize them so that they do not pose a threat to the organism. But that's not all: The immune system has another important task. It is responsible for fighting pathological changes in our body, such as cancer cells. The immune system is the key to our health, so take good care of it!
How is the defense activated?
The immune system is activated by various foreign substances and substances. These are called antigens. This also includes the proteins on the surface of bacteria, fungi and viruses. If receptors dock in the organism, a whole series of cellular processes are started. As a rule, the body stores information when it comes into contact with a pathogen. This is to ensure that if you come into contact with the same pathogen again, you can react more quickly and the body can defend itself more quickly. The body's own cells also have such surface proteins, but the immune system normally does not work against them. When our immune system mistakenly classifies cells of our own body as foreign, we speak of an autoimmune reaction. The immune system attacks the body's own healthy cells.
Congenital and acquired defences
In general, a distinction is made between the innate - non-specific and the acquired - specific immune system. However, both defense systems are closely linked and complement each other perfectly in every reaction to a pathogen or a pollutant.
But you're probably wondering now - why is it called a non-specific immune system. That doesn't sound very competent. But don't worry, the name refers to the fact that this defense system fights off pathogens in general and doesn't specialize in specific substances. It mainly works with immune cells like the phagocytes or "killer cells". Its main task is to combat pollutants and harmful germs that enter the body, for example through the skin or the digestive system.
In contrast, the specific immune system forms so-called antibodies and then uses these specifically against certain pathogens with which the body has had contact in the past. That is why one speaks here of a "learned" or "specific" immune system. The body is a true marvel of nature and the immune system is a particularly exciting part of it. Since the specific defenses are constantly adapting and learning, the body can also fight bacteria or viruses that change over time.
Tips for strengthening the immune system
Especially in cold seasons or in times of waves of illness, it is particularly important to support our body's own bodyguard in its daily fight against pollutants. That's why we've put together 6 simple tips for you on how you can best help your immune system.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants, such as those found in dark chocolate or pecan nuts, neutralize free radicals and ensure a hard-wearing organism. They may even help reduce inflammation. Secondary plant substances, zinc and selenium as well as several vitamins also help.
- Garlic: Garlic, as an ancient remedy, has antibacterial properties with its active component, allicin, which can prevent diseases and infections. Garlic is also said to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. All this supports the immune system to function well!
- Happy gut: Did you know that over 70% of the immune cells in your body are located in your gut? This means that a healthy gut flora is very important for general well-being. Therefore, of course, the following applies - happy gut, happy you!
- Work out: Sport is not murder after all. Because cardio increases the circulation of white blood cells in the blood. The main task of these immune cells is to eliminate possible pathogens, i.e. pathogens. Physical activity also increases hormone production, which in turn can have a positive effect on the immune system.
- Day- night- balance: A balanced day-night rhythm leads to the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (substances produced by the immune system) being stimulated. It also makes the body produce more killer cells. This improves the body's ability to fight off pests!
- Don't drink: Less alcohol is of course more positive for the immune system than too much alcohol consumption - that's logical. Alcohol weakens the immune system by reducing the ability to produce white blood cells.
The link between gut health and the immune system:
When we think of our intestines, most people think of digestion first. That is also true, but our intestines have other qualities. Among other things, it is largely responsible for our immune system. Did you know that 70% of all human immune cells are in the gut? They even make up about 80% of our body's defense reactions. With whole 32 m2 area, the intestine has a very big impact on our health, our well-being and also our immune system. But how does the defense from the gut actually work? Our intestine has three different layers to ward off pathogens and "bad" bacteria of all kinds, and the intestinal barrier can be seen as a complex lock system. You can now find out exactly what that means:
- The intestinal mucosa: The intestinal mucosa is the innermost of four layers of the intestinal wall. It is primarily used for the absorption of food components and water in the body. In addition, the mucus layer offers protection against bacteria, pathogens and parasites. The intestinal mucosa is therefore the first barrier between pests and the organism and thus supports the immune system significantly. The intestinal mucosa acts as a "lock". It ensures that the contents of the intestine cannot "leak" and prevents various substances from getting inside the body uncontrollably. Of course, certain substances must be able to penetrate the organism, so there are "gates" that can open selectively.
- The microbiome - the intestinal flora: If the intestinal flora gets out of balance, this has a strong impact on our health, because pathogens, pollutants and bacteria then have an easy time of it and easily penetrate our organism. That's because the inside of the gut is populated with a lot of "good" bacteria that break down toxins and fight off pathogens. In addition, the bacteria in our intestines are "personal trainers" for our immune system, because they train our defense system every day so that it can better distinguish between harmful and "good" bacteria in the organism. The intestinal flora is a real all-rounder when it comes to supporting the immune system. The bacteria located there also diligently produce short-chain fatty acids, which protect the intestinal wall and thus help to maintain the intestinal barrier. The intestinal flora can be seen as a "lock guard", because it decides which substances are allowed to pass through the lock and thus get into the intestine.
- The gut-associated immune system: The gut-associated lymphoid tissue (gut-associated lymphatic tissue), also known as GALT, is located in the intestinal mucosa and represents the largest accumulation of defense cells in the body. The task of these bacteria is - as the name suggests - to fight unwanted germs and foreign, harmful substances. This happens by stimulating the production of various immune cells. But the task of the GALT is not so easy, because it has to continuously distinguish between killing "bad" bacteria and tolerating "good" bacteria. The GALT is the "intestinal police" and controls all germs and substances that have passed through the lock. If a bad guy has managed to get inside the intestines, the GALT is there to take him out of circulation!
In fact, the large intestine plays an even greater role in the immune system than the small intestine. Because in the large intestine, the intestinal mucous membranes are particularly densely populated with intestinal bacteria that control and support the immune system. In addition, the lymph nodes are located in the mucous membrane of the large intestine. The specialized immune cells of the intestine are stored in the small lymph nodes, also known as Peyer's patches. Lymphocytes have the task of eliminating foreign bodies or pathogens by forming antibodies. In addition, the lymphatic system is the link between the GALT and the rest of the immune system.
The useful bacteria in our intestines have some very important health functions in our body and actively support our immune system. They displace potential pathogens and pests and thus prevent harmful germs from settling on our intestinal wall. In addition, they continuously stimulate and train our immune system day after day. This helps us to distinguish endogenous structures and harmless bacteria from pests and enemies.
Is the intestine damaged by, for example, poor nutrition, antibiotics, allergies weakened by illness, this affects a person's overall well-being. A poorly intact intestinal flora therefore has direct negative effects on the function of the immune system. It is therefore all the more important to keep the body's intestinal flora intact at all times, because it is much more important than previously assumed.
In order to protect the intestinal flora, it can be helpful to take probiotics or to pay more attention to consume probiotic foods. Examples of this are yoghurt, kefir, quark or buttermilk. Our Dailybacs are also a way to clean your intestines or intestines. rebuild, improve or maintain your immune system.