Volume 8 Issue 4

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Page 32 | Abby's Magazine | By Vibrant Health Did you ever wonder why some people never get sick while others get sick o en? If so, you're not alone. Consider that the average North American adult is stricken with 2 to 4 colds and children contract an average of 6 to 8 bouts of illness during cold and flu season. If you're sick this o en or more, it's a good sign that your immune system's germ-figh ng powers are low. However, it's not your fault—well, mostly. A 2017 study from King's College London reveals that genes influence nearly three-quarters of immune traits. The study published on January 5, 2017, in Nature Communica ons, adds to a growing body of evidence that the gene c influence on our immune system is significantly higher than previously thought. Before we get into the Kings College study, it's essen al to dis nguish between two mechanisms that govern your immune system, immunological response and parts of the immune system. The immune system is typically divided into two categories—innate and adap ve— although these dis nc ons are not mutually exclusive. INNATE IMMUNITY Innate immunity refers to nonspecific defense mechanisms that come into play immediately or within hours of an an gen's appearance in the body. These mechanisms include physical barriers such as skin, chemicals in the blood, and immune system cells that a ack foreign cells in the body. The chemical proper es of the an gen ac vate the innate immune response. ADAPTIVE IMMUNITY Adap ve immunity refers to an gen-specific immune response. The adap ve immune response is more complicated than innate. The an gen first must be processed and recognized. Once an an gen is iden fied, the adap ve immune system creates an army of immune cells specifically designed to a ack that an gen. Adap ve immunity also includes a "memory" that makes future responses against a specific an gen more efficient. Immunological response: a bodily defense reaction that recognizes an invading substance (an antigen such as a virus, fungus, specific bacteria or transplanted organ) and produces antibodies against that antigen. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: Parts of the immune system Skin and mucous membranes: are the body's first line of defense against infec on and disease. The skin prevents most germs from ge ng into the body. But a cut or burn on the skin can allow germs to get in. Germs can also get into the body through any opening in the body, such as the mouth, nose, throat, anus or vagina. Mucous membranes that line many parts of these openings help to protect the body. Cells of the mucous membrane also make fluids and substances that help destroy germs. And in some areas of the body, mucous membranes are acidic, which also helps prevent infec on from bacteria and other microorganisms. Bone marrow: (part of your lymphatic system) is the soft, spongy area inside of most bones, where blood cells are born. Many of the blood cells in the bone marrow are not fully developed (are immature) and are called stem cells. Stem cells change and grow into different types of cells, including blood cells. Most blood cells grow and mature in the bone marrow. Most blood cells leave the bone marrow and move into the circulating blood and other areas of the body, like the lymph nodes and tonsils, once they are mature. Lymphocytes or NK cells: are white blood cells found in the blood and lymphatic system. They attack viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. There are different types of white blood cells, but lymphocytes have the most important role in the immune response. Lymphocytes are also called immune cells or NK Cells. The lymphatic system includes the tonsils, spleen, thymus, lymph nodes, lymph vessels and bone marrow. T cells: (also called T lymphocytes) destroy damaged and infected cells in the body and tell B cells to make antibodies. IMMUNITY It's Time to Rethink

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