Be then is immunity?
Until recently, advances in modern medicine did not give cause for excitement. Antibiotics, vaccines, vaccinations – it seemed that all infections were under human control. But the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that infectious diseases have not ceased to be a threat. Interest in immunity has recently increased so much that the main goal of all mankind has become to find an answer to the question: “How to strengthen immunity? How to protect yourself from infection?
The past era of in which immunology started was in 1786. It was then that the village doctor Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids who had had vaccinia virus were not susceptible to the variola virus, which was deadly at the time. Jenner found a relationship: women have formed a defense that protects them from contracting a more serious disease.
Over the next centuries, science has stepped forward in the study of our immune system. Immunity is the defense system of our body against something alien, dangerous to us. The defense reaction begins from the moment the enemy “agent” is recognized, then it is removed and the negative traces of this infection in the body are eliminated.
In the structure of immunity, 2 types can be distinguished: congenital and acquired. The innate immunity works immediately. His soldiers: phagocytes, interferons, inflammatory mediators. As soon as the enemy is seen, it is destroyed. Acquired immunity is more complex. When an enemy is detected, the body forms an immune response, creates specialized cells against this infectious agent, and only then eliminates it. This type of immunity allows you to remember the infection and react much faster the next time. Thus, in the memory of the acquired immunity there is a whole list of our “enemies”. Moreover, this list is individual for each person.
Special organs are responsible for the production of cells participating in the body’s defense. These are the thymus gland (or thymus) and bone marrow. Maturation and selection of cells takes place in them. And the launch of these processes is helped by the lymph nodes located in the area of large joints (shoulder, elbow, knee, hip) and in the neck. They, connected by lymphatic vessels, serve as filters for antigens, delaying them and activating protective reactions.
Also, immunity depends on the intestinal microflora. It is believed that 70% of the immune system is located there. The task of this area is to recognize dangerous particles entering through the oral cavity and neutralize them, and let the less dangerous particles pass further, so that the body reacts to them and develops protective cells.
Thus, immunity is a collection of all organs and cells in the body that recognize and destroy foreign substances. Represented by completely different cells and organs, the immune system acts as a single defense mechanism, constantly strengthening and improving under the influence of external factors.
Why are we still sick? If the immune system is constantly on guard, why do certain bacteria or viruses cause disease in us?
Because we live surrounded by microbes and it is impossible to completely isolate ourselves from them. But this is not necessary! After all, there are not only “bad” bacteria, but also “good” bacteria. And in small quantities, they are like a free vaccine – they only increase our defenses. Therefore, sterilizing everything around and constantly drinking antibiotics is completely unnecessary and even harmful. In order to prevent infection, it is enough to maintain your immune system and wash your hands thoroughly. We cannot influence the actions of infected people, but we can adjust our lifestyle and increase our level of protection.
Now, when most countries talk about the introduction of quarantine, when we are forced to stay at home, we need to think about preventive measures and maintaining health. Against the background of isolation, the usual regime is disrupted, the sleep schedule is knocked down, physical activity is practically zero, and bad habits in the diet, on the contrary, take up. A lot of sweets, alcohol, excess food – all this in the long term negatively affects the immune system and the state of the body as a whole.
Signs of reduced immunity? Sometimes the immune system becomes inhibited. He does not begin to distinguish infections in the body so well, does not react so sharply to them – a disease arises.
And sometimes, on the contrary – it is too active – it begins to attack not only foreign enemy cells, but also harmless cells of the native organism. In such cases, they talk about autoimmune processes, these include: gluten intolerance, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis. Let us examine in more detail the first situation, when the body’s defenses are reduced. What should you pay attention to? 1) Frequent respiratory viral diseases and bacterial infections; 2) Lung lesions against the background of respiratory diseases with a protracted and severe course (infection from the upper sections quickly descends into the lower sections of the respiratory system and damages the lung tissue);
3) Frequent pustular inflammation of the skin. The skin is a barrier organ, it resists the penetration of infection inside. But with a decrease in immunity, the infection begins to develop, penetrating from the surface layers of the skin into deeper ones. Frequent boils, inflammation of the eyelids (barley), abscesses – all these are signs of a weakening of the body’s defenses; 4) Fungal lesions of nails, skin, mucous membranes. With the development of fungal diseases, dynamic balance most often occurs. That is, the fungus seeks to penetrate deep into the body, but cannot, and the immune system tries to suppress and reject the infection, but also cannot do this. In this case, the process becomes chronic and can take years;
5) Recurrent diseases of the ENT organs (for example, frequent sore throat or rhinitis) and organs of the genitourinary system (inflammation of the bladder, inflammation of the kidneys); 6) Long-term healing of wound surfaces. With minor injuries, complete wound healing occurs within 14 days. In cases of immunodeficiency, healing is much slower, and the most dangerous thing is that a bacterial infection may occur and purulent complications may develop. With reduced immunity, patients experience weakness, deterioration in mood, drowsiness, chronic fatigue, decreased mobility, and frequent headaches.
There are also factors in which, in most cases, a deficiency of immunity is detected. These include chronic stress, lack of sleep, old age, menopause in women, and even the season. It was revealed that during the cold period the frequency of diseases increases, so it will not be superfluous to maintain the body’s immune forces by external forces.
How to strengthen the immune system?
Strengthening the immune system should be comprehensive. Strengthening measures include: 1) Correction of lifestyle and nutrition; 2) Taking funds to maintain and strengthen immunity. Lifestyle is made up of several factors: physical activity, emotional state, sleep, nutrition and lack of bad habits.
Moderate exercise is important at any age. With their help, we maintain a normal body weight. A normal body weight is the basis of strong immunity. Aerobic exercise – jogging, walking, cycling – reduces the risk of seasonal illness by almost half. There are studies proving the positive effect of exercise on the intestinal microflora. But it is she who is one of the main links in the immune system. After a month of constant physical activity, bacteria accumulate in the intestines, which produce substances that strengthen the immune system. Also, playing sports causes the renewal of immune cells, which have a greater protective activity, in contrast to old cells.
The emotional state directly affects our immune system. With a prolonged predominance of any emotional reaction, the immune system is depleted, weakened. Constant stress, prolonged aggression or anger, depression, and even prolonged social isolation cause exacerbation of chronic diseases and an increased risk of acquiring new diseases. And vice versa – positive emotions and hobbies (meditation, handicrafts, watching funny and kind films) allow the body to quickly cope with infections.
Sleep is an important process during which the information received during the day is processed, cells are renewed and the body’s strength is replenished. With a lack of sleep, the immune system weakens and the rate of response to the causative agent of the disease slows down. Sometimes this slowdown is enough for the development of a complete clinical picture of the disease and the occurrence of complications in the body. The amount of sleep should be at least 7-8 hours. When a person is sick, it is not by chance that he feels increased drowsiness, because this is an excellent way to recuperate.
Nutrition. The most important thing in nutrition is balance. Many people understand the harm of excess nutrition – too much trans fats, fast food, sweet and starchy foods reduce the defenses. But nutritional deficiencies also negatively affect a person. Food is a source of building material for the cells of our body. And the quality of this material depends on us. A balanced diet and adequate water content in the diet are important. Use of Keto receipes is essential or By igniting your inner power.
Alcohol and smoking have a detrimental effect on the functioning of the immune system. Restoring immunity implies a complete or almost complete rejection of these bad habits.
Scientific communities are constantly proving or refuting the activity of certain substances in relation to immunity. To enter the market, a pharmaceutical product undergoes clinical trials, in which it proves its safety and positive effect on the immune system. The group of such active substances belongs to immunostimulants (immunomodulators).
Types of immunostimulants: - Homeopathic remedies; - Natural preparations; - Medicines based on bacteria; - Medicines based on interferon; - Vitamins to protect the immune system (Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin D); - Funds based… Click To Tweet
Treatment with homeopathic medicines is referred to as alternative medicine. The action of such medicines is more complex, gentle, natural, these medicines are usually sold over the counter. It is important to understand that it is not safe to completely abandon traditional therapies in favor of homeopathy. Such funds can only be considered in complex treatment.
Aflubin Natural complex preparation for the prevention and treatment of viral diseases. Contains three active plant components – gentian, aconite and bryony. According to the manufacturer’s research, it has an immunomodulatory effect and is able to reduce inflammatory processes in the body. Also, when taking the drug, antiviral activity is also observed.The drug is available in the form of tablets and drops. For the prevention of acute respiratory viral infections and influenza, adults and children from 12 years old are recommended 1 tablet or 10 drops of the drug 2 times a day for 3 weeks. Children under 12 years old – 1/2 tablets or 5 drops, 2 times a day. Reception must be carried out 30 minutes before meals or 1 hour after it.
According to WHO estimates, about 80% of the world’s population use herbal preparations as a medicine. Many people with mild to moderate illnesses prefer to resort to herbal remedies as a more useful and environmentally friendly way to fight infection. Herbal teas, infusions and decoctions help not only to maintain immunity, but also to restore strength after an illness.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga that contains a huge variety of trace elements. The uniqueness of spirulina is that it contains beta-carotene (Vitamin A) and phycocyanins. Phycocyanin is a powerful natural immunostimulant and antioxidant. It has a positive effect on bone marrow stem cells, cells involved in the destruction of antibodies (macrophages) and the thymus gland, and also reduces the amount of free radicals, which prevents the development of cancer. It has a positive effect on the intestinal microflora, hair and skin condition.
It is recommended to take 2 tablets 3 times a day with meals. The drug is approved for use in children. Since spirulina is a freshwater algae, the iodine content of Spirulina-VEL is low. But people with increased thyroid function should consult their doctor before use.
Echinacea At the moment, there are many studies claiming the high effectiveness of echinacea as an immunostimulant. The active compounds of polysaccharides, essential oils and flavonoids contained in the plant stimulate the production of leukocytes and immunoglobulins, and also accelerate their movement and activity in the focus of infection. Echinacea is available in the form of solutions, tinctures, tablets or capsules. The manufacturer recommends taking capsules 1 per day for 2-3 weeks, since the effect is cumulative.
Echinacea also has contraindications: people with hypersensitivity to the components of the drug, as well as those suffering from autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis) should refrain from taking echinacea and consider other options for maintaining immunity.
A combination of squid nerve tissue extract, nucleic acids and fucoidan from brown seaweed, developed by Far Eastern scientists. Fucoidan blocks the penetration of the virus into the cell, preventing its further reproduction, and peptides from the nervous tissue of Far Eastern squid enhance the absorption of pathogenic microorganisms by the cells of the immune system and increase the amount of antibodies.
Nucleic acids of marine origin activate the mechanism of natural restoration of the immune system and help to increase the body’s resistance.
Recommended course intake of 1 capsule 1 time per day from 18 years old. Since the product is made from marine components, people with thyroid diseases should first consult an endocrinologist. A ekarstva based on bacteria (bacterial lysates).
Bacterial lysates are fragments of bacterial cells that have lost their viability, but still have immune activity. The first such drugs appeared in the 70s of the XX century. Over the years, there have been many convincing studies proving their clinical efficacy. The purpose of such drugs is not only to activate the immune system, to destroy the infection, but also to reduce the severity of the inflammatory response, i.e. reducing the symptoms of colds and alleviating the patient’s condition. In the presence of a focus of chronic infection, therapy with bacterial lysates allows you to completely eliminate this focus.
The inclusion of bacterial immunomodulators in therapy (especially respiratory infections) reduces the need for anti-inflammatory and antibacterial drugs, which has a positive effect on the whole body.
Broncho munal One of the most popular drugs in the group of bacterial lysates. The preparation contains components of 8 bacteria. These are the strains that most commonly cause respiratory tract infections. Once inside the body, the drug acts on the intestinal mucosa, where the cells of the immune response are concentrated. Then these active cells are sent to the tissues of the respiratory tract, where they realize their protective functions. In addition, the drug increases the production of other immune cells (cytokines and interferons), which generally increases the body’s defenses.
The drug can be used in both adults and children from 6 months. It is available in the form of capsules in a dosage of 7 mg (for adults) and 3.5 mg (for children). Contraindication: during pregnancy and lactation. Dosage – 1 capsule per day in the morning, 1 hour before meals. For prophylaxis, the duration of admission is 10 days, then a break of 20 days. During illness, the drug is taken until the symptoms disappear, but at least 10 days.
Ismigen, like all bacterial lysates, activates several links of immunity at once. This is both local and systemic immunity. Activates phagocytosis (i.e. absorption of infectious cells by the body), increases the number of immune cells, increases the concentration of immunoglobulins. As a result of treatment, the duration of the active period of the respiratory infection is shortened, the symptoms of fever and cough are relieved, and the need for antibacterial drugs is reduced. In case of recurrent diseases of the respiratory tract (chronic bronchitis), the drug prevents exacerbation, helping to avoid the manifestation of clinical symptoms of the disease.
The product is produced in the form of tablets, which are placed under the tongue in the morning on an empty stomach, until completely resorbed. 1 tablet a day for 10 days is enough to achieve the effect. It is used both in children from 3 years of age and in adulthood. Contraindication is pregnancy and lactation, as well as individual intolerance to the components of the drug.
Interferons and interferon inducers (i.e. drugs that provoke the production of interferon in the body) can be classified as drugs with a pronounced immunomodulatory effect. Although drugs in this group are more related to antivirals, the interferon molecule is part of the immune system that affects all links of the immune system. Interferon stimulates the bone marrow, activates macrophages and other specific cells of the immune system. Studies show that after the introduction of interferon inducers into the body, a general (nonspecific) defense of the body is formed, which can remain at a high level for weeks, unlike interferon produced in the body (it loses its activity much earlier).
Interferon inducers do not induce antigenic activity (i.e., they do not activate the drug rejection reaction). Even a single administration of such drugs causes long-term production of interferon.
Cycloferon Low molecular weight interferon inducer with high biological activity. The drug is able to maintain and strengthen its own antiviral immunity. Cycloferon has a high safety profile, which allows it to be used in people with chronic diseases.The drug is produced in the form of an ointment, tablets and injections. When taking pills, it is enough to take one once a day, in the morning, 1 hour before meals. Admission to children is allowed from 4 years old. The drug is prescribed according to a special scheme, the reception lasts about 3 weeks. More often, Cycloferon is used in the treatment of acute respiratory viral infections, but in the prevention of its use is permissible, especially when contact with an infected person has been identified.
Amiksin The problem of antiviral drugs is the suppression of the immune system. Amiksin is one of the few drugs in this group, which not only has a destructive effect on a wide range of viruses, but also stimulates the body’s immune defenses. There are a number of studies proving that against the background of prophylactic administration of the drug, the incidence of ARVI has decreased 3.6 times! If the reception was carried out with a therapeutic purpose, then the duration of the disease was less, as well as the frequency of complications against the background of ARVI. The active ingredient of Amiksin is tilorone, which was synthesized in the 70s of the twentieth century. Admission is allowed for children from 7 years old and adults. As a prophylaxis against influenza and ARVI, only 1 tablet is used per week for 6 weeks.
Vitamins to strengthen the immune system.
Trace elements are substances that are contained in the body in small quantities, but are extremely important for the normal functioning of all organs, including the immune system. These include 13 essential vitamins and about 20 minerals. Their lack can lead to various diseases associated with metabolism. The deficiency of vitamins C, A and D is especially negative for the immune system.
Vitamin C is found in almost all fruits and vegetables to a greater or lesser extent. It plays the role of an antioxidant and participates in the production of antibody cells, in the process of reproduction of macrophages, enhances their activity and mobility. Thanks to Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling, high-dose vitamin C has become so popular that it is still the first vitamin recommended for colds. But an excess of a vitamin is just as negative as a lack of it. Therefore, for a positive effect from taking, you should focus on the average daily dose, namely 65-90 mg per day, depending on age.
A trace element that supports vision, growth and development of the body. It stabilizes the immune system, protecting it from infections, as it has a positive effect on the health of the skin, mucous membranes, respiratory system, stomach and intestines. That is, he takes part in building a barrier to infections. It is important to understand that high doses of retinol (vitamin A of animal origin) also have a negative effect if the person using it is addicted to smoking. Therefore, when taking high doses of vitamin A, a doctor’s consultation is necessary.
Vitamin D has long been known to help strengthen bone tissue, but more recently, scientific studies have confirmed the benefits of vitamin D in relation to immunity. Vitamin D is produced in the skin by exposure to sunlight. Our latitudes in the autumn-winter time do not allow us to receive the necessary portion of the sun’s rays. At the moment, some doctors are of the opinion that it is preferable to avoid sun exposure due to harmful ultraviolet radiation, and therefore vitamin D must be taken all year round, simply adjusting the dose for the spring and summer period. Sunlight also speeds up the movement of certain types of immune cells throughout the body, which speeds up the response to the pathogen.
With a high content of vitamin D, it is easier for the body to fight diseases such as multiple sclerosis, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and oncological diseases. It helps maintain the barrier function of our skin, intestines and lungs, and helps suppress excess immune responses in the body, preventing the development of autoimmune diseases.
An overdose of vitamin D is also undesirable. It can lead to a significant increase in blood calcium levels. Therefore, it should be taken after consulting a doctor and not exceeding the doses indicated in the instructions for use. For example, the drug Akvadetrim is recommended up to 2 drops per day for prophylactic purposes. Thymus (thymus)preparations.
The thymus is a small organ in which the cells of the immune system mature. In humans, the thymus develops before puberty, then with age it undergoes a reverse development. In old age, it is barely distinguishable from the surrounding tissues.
Timalin is a highly purified extract from the thymus gland of calves, which helps to restore the immune response, stimulates the production of immune cells, the processes of regeneration and hematopoiesis. This drug is administered intramuscularly as an injection. For prophylactic purposes, it is prescribed for adults at 5-10 mg daily, for children from 6 months 1-5 mg daily for 3-5 days.
The preparation of complex action, therefore, somewhat differs from the above groups. The uniqueness of the drug is in its activity. It is able to fight not only viruses, but also fungal and bacterial diseases. It is suitable for patients with high allergenic sensitivity, since it does not contain plant components and components of bacterial DNA. Polyoxidonium is recommended for active inflammation, to reduce symptoms of intoxication and to prevent ARVI in frequently ill patients. Release form of the drug: lyophilisate, suppositories, tablets. Lyophilisate is used in children from 6 months, suppositories and tablets are approved for use in children from 3 years of age.
The immune system is responsible for all areas of our health, both physical and emotional. In order for our defense to be in constant readiness, it needs help. Immune health is a state of the whole organism, achieved not only by taking medications, but also by lifestyle, and even thinking. It is in our hands to help the immune system today, so that it will protect us tomorrow. Be healthy!