Understand the extraordinary power of your immune system!
The more you know about how to heal the body, the better you will be able to make the necessary choices to improve both the quantity and quality of your life!
Hygiene is defined in the dictionary as the science of health and its preservation. But what does that really mean?
Science, says the dictionary, is “the systematic observation of natural phenomena for the purpose of discovering laws that govern those phenomena.” Put more simply, science is the process we use to find out how things work. Health is defined as “a state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being”.
With these definitions in mind, it is easy to see that Hygiene is not a food, therapeutic, religious, or belief system. Hygiene is the science of health. It encompasses a vast body of knowledge about the natural laws that determine health and numerous techniques that allow you to use this information to maximize your health potential.
The optimal state of function that we call health is spontaneously generated by the human organism when it is provided with the requirements of health. Health requirements can be conveniently classified into four general categories:
Diet: Eat a whole food, plant-based diet that meets your individual nutritional needs.
Environment: Get fresh air, clean water, and adequate sunshine, and avoid environmental stressors like air and water pollution, and excess exposure to dust, pollen, chemicals, and noise.
Activity: Practice regular aerobic exercise, rest and sleep adequately.
Psychology: Participate in productive activities and develop the interpersonal social skills necessary for a successful life.
When health requirements are adequately provided, the body’s self-healing mechanisms attempt to restore and optimize health. Your body’s ability to do this is only limited by your inherent constitution (genetics) and the amount of use and abuse that has occurred.
Medical hygienists have always emphasized the concept that health and disease are not antagonistic. Disease processes such as diarrhea, fever, and inflammation are not only natural but necessary attempts by the body to return to optimal health. Attempts to suppress these adaptive and eliminative processes with drugs and other invasive treatments can create problems by interfering with the body’s self-healing mechanisms.
It is important that you know how extraordinarily capable and complex your immune system is.
Your body is constantly exposed to chemicals, toxins, pollutants, and other stressors. Furthermore, simple organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites are capable (under certain circumstances) of invading the human body and using it as a food source. Fortunately, the healthy human body has defenses against invasion by these organisms. These defenses constitute the immune system.
The immune system can be thought of as having two divisions: the general or non-specific immune system and the adaptive or specific immune system.
First, let’s take a look at the non-specific division of the immune system. The largest organ in the human body is not the heart or the liver: it is the skin. The skin and its components form a very important part of the non-specific immune system.
Most potentially pathogenic organisms and agents are prevented from interfering with normal function due to the barrier created by the skin. The openings in the body, such as the mouth and nose, however, are not covered with skin, but with mucous membrane. This membrane can secrete various substances and is usually moist. In these moist secretions are other defense mechanisms, including chemicals like lysozyme and C-reactive protein, that can kill invading bacteria.
The mucus itself can trap invading organisms, and the cilia (tiny hair-like projections in the lungs, bronchial tubes, and throat) can push those invaders out of the body, as long as they’re working properly. It has been shown that in tobacco and marijuana smokers the cilia are paralyzed and destroyed. This is one of the reasons why smokers have a higher incidence of respiratory and other infections.
The acid in the stomach, vagina, and other organs can also act as part of the nonspecific immune system by creating an environment in which potentially invasive organisms cannot survive.
The next components of the non-specific division of the immune system are the phagocytic or “cell-eating” cells. These phagocytes can engulf and destroy most invading organisms. Phagocytes are a type of white blood cell found in the bloodstream, as well as in various organs such as the lungs, liver, and intestinal tract.
People with defective phagocytes are subject to recurrent infections. In rare cases, this malfunction is a genetic defect. Most commonly, it arises from poor health practices that overwhelm the ability of phagocytes to act. Smoking, for example, in addition to paralyzing cilia, can kill macrophages (the phagocytes that live in the lungs).
Another type of white blood cell called the “natural killer” cell can recognize cells that have been invaded by viruses. Killer cells can bind to these infected cells and destroy them. Cells that are infected by viruses help the killer cells by producing chemicals called interferons, which activate the killer cells.
The body is also capable of producing special proteins during infection. These proteins coat invading organisms (especially certain bacteria) and make it easier for phagocytes to destroy them. But this only works if the invading organisms have some general chemical markers that the nonspecific division of the immune system can identify.
Fortunately, the immune system has another division called the adaptive, or specific, division. Unlike the nonspecific division, the specific division of the immune system is capable of producing particles called antibodies.
These tiny antibodies have two ends. One of them is a receptor, which can recognize a specific organism or substance. The other end is a marker that fits into general receptors on phagocytes. When an antibody latches its specific end to an invading organism or foreign substance, it identifies the invader in such a way that phagocytes of the nonspecific division of the immune system can recognize and destroy it.
These antibodies produced by the specific division of the immune system are produced by white blood cells called B lymphocytes. B lymphocytes come in thousands of varieties, each capable of recognizing a specific marker or antigen.
The number of lymphocytes that can recognize any particular marker or antigen is very small. When the correct B cell encounters the invader’s antigen, it binds to it. This stimulates the lymphocyte to rapidly reproduce many B cells of exactly the same type.
With the help of a complicated chemical signaling system, the new B cells are ordered to start shedding antibodies. The antibodies bind to the invaders, and the phagocytes destroy them. Some of the new B cells, instead of producing antibodies, become memory cells. After the invasion resolves, these memory cells linger in the body. If that particular invader were to appear again, the body would be able to quickly destroy it.
We are fortunate in that we possess such a complex and efficient immune system that functions at its highest level when we consciously ensure the requirements of health.
Your health is very valuable. Take the necessary measures to protect and preserve it. Remember, the only you have is yourself.
Hi, my name’s Gina Long. I'm a successful businesswoman and love to stay healthy. I consider health and wealth to be an essential part of my makeup. In this blog, I talk about these things that are essential to me and hopefully my readers.Click to read on