What is the immune system?
The immune system protects the body against infection and disease. The immune system consists of various organs, tissues, and cells located throughout the body. White blood cells are important cells of the immune system and there are several different types.
A healthy immune system must be able to recognize foreign invaders and abnormal cells such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, cancer cells, etc and distinguish them from the body’s healthy cells.
The immune system provides three levels of defence against disease-causing organisms.
3 levels of immune defence
Barriers – Our body has several barriers that prevent entry of invasive organisms. The skin and mucous membranes, stomach and digestive enzymes, as well as the beneficial bacteria that live in the colon, all help to prevent harmful organisms from entering the body.
Innate immunity – Innate immunity is the body’s general defence system and provides the first line of defence against foreign invaders. White blood cells called neutrophils and macrophages engulf and destroy foreign invaders and damaged cells.
Acquired immunity – Acquired immunity is the body’s specific defence system. It involves a complex, targeted response to a specific pathogen.
Does nutrition play an important role in immunity?
A person’s nutritional status can impact the immune system. Malnutrition is the most common cause of immunodeficiency in the world. Most undernourished people are in the developing world, but undernutrition also occurs in industrialised nations, particularly in hospitalised patients and the elderly.
Poor overall nutrition can lead to inadequate intake of energy, proteins and lipids, as well as deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals that are required for proper immune function. Impaired immune responses caused by malnutrition can increase a person’s susceptibility to infection and illness.
What nutrients will assist in supporting and maintaining a healthy, strong immune system?
Taheebo is a tree that grows widely throughout tropical South America. The active ingredients (e.g. lapachol) are found in the inner bark of this plant. Taheebo has demonstrated antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal activity as well as antitumour activity. It also has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Wormwood herb is the common name for the leaves or leafy flowering tops of the plant Artemisia absinthium L. It is used for temporary loss of appetite, mild heartburn and stomach/gut disorders.
Grapeseed extract has antioxidant benefits. It may reduce swelling, promote wound healing and reduce inflammation.
Certain immune cells produce a concentrated burst of reactive oxygen species which are damaging substances that help kill invading organisms. Prolonged and continuous exposure to these substances can be damaging to tissues and contribute to chronic disease. Vitamin C, E, iron, zinc, copper and selenium protect immune cells and keep the oxidative burst in check. The immune system is constantly producing new cells. When it encounters a foreign invader, it responds by speeding up production of the new cells. Vitamin A, D, B12, B6, folate, iron and zinc all play an essential role in the production and development of immune cells. Zinc, selenium and copper help to support a healthy immune system and a deficiency can result in severe immune dysfunction.
Your natural immune support
- Supply of important nutrients that play an essential role in the production and development of immune cells.
- Antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal activity.
- Pain relieving, wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Antioxidant properties.
- Protection of immune cells and support of a healthy immune system.