- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Boosting The Immune System
The young and the old, tend to have weaker immune systems....
What is the immune system?....
Our immune system is what keeps us healthy, having a strong immune system means that our bodies have a strong defence against diseases, bacteria and germs. Having a a strong immune system can mean the difference of life and death in some cases. Young children and babies tend to have weaker immune systems because their bodies have not had the time to produce enough antibodies to protect them. The elderly also tend to have weaker immune systems too, as their bodies age and weaken, so too do their immune systems.
What are antibodies?....
Antibodies are proteins that patrol our blood stream on the look out for invading bacteria and viruses. There are many different types of antibodies and each antibody is designed to recognise a different bacteria or virus. When an antibody recognises an 'invader' it sets about destroying it, which can prevent us from getting ill or if we do get ill it will be milder than it would have been if we didn't antibodies.
How are antibodies produced in our blood stream?...
Babies are born with a very low amount of antibodies in their blood stream, the few they do have they have gained from their Mother whilst still in the womb, which is why they have weak immune systems. If a baby is breast fed then it will gain antibodies from it's Mothers milk, which is one of many good reasons for breast feeding. A baby, fed formula milk will not gain any antibodies from the formula milk.
When we get ill our body will produce antibodies to fight the infection, once our body has produced an antibody to fight a certain bacteria or virus, the antibody will then recognise that bacteria or virus whenever it tries to invade our body and will set about destroying it, so that we don't get ill. This is the reason that we only get the flu once a year, every year the flu virus mutates, so our bodies don't have the right antibodies to fight it.
Childhood illnesses are a once in a lifetime thing too because once our bodies have the right antibodies, the antibodies will protect us from getting the disease again. We will never get the exact same illness twice!! We may think that we keep catching the same common cold, time and time again, but in fact we don't, it is always a variation of the common cold.
For the first few years of his life, my son seemed to be constantly ill. The Doctor reassured me that he wouldn't be constantly ill for ever and that it was better for him to be ill as a young child as his body was building antibodies for when he was older. Now he is in his teens he doesn't get ill very often. The Doctor was right.
How vaccinations help our immune systems........
Through scientific research many deadly diseases have been almost eradicated through vaccination programmes. We are lucky in first world countries that our children are vaccinated against diseases that at one time were life threatening.
Every year millions of people get vaccinated against the flu virus, potentially saving lives.
Vaccinations work by injecting inactive viruses and bacteria into our blood stream and tricking our bodies into producing antibodies against certain diseases, so when we do come into contact with the bacteria or virus that we have been vaccinated against, we already have the antibodies to protect us.
Antioxidants are also an important part of a healthy immune system....
Do you do your best at keeping your immune system healthy?
Are there other ways to boost our immune systems?....
Yes, there are other ways of helping to keep our immune systems strong and healthy.
- Antioxidants are also a type of defence that our body has to help fight off disease. When we drink alcohol, sun bathe, smoke, if we are under stress or over exercise, our bodies produce something called free radicals. Free radicals actually cause harm to our bodies by weakening our immune systems and in the long term have been proven to cause disease. Antioxidants basically mop up the free radicals helping to protect our immune systems. Some foods and drinks like really dark chocolate (75% cocoa plus), red wine, coffee and tea are all really high in antioxidants. That doesn't mean that we should over do it with these foods and drinks!!
- Vitamin C and E are excellent forms of antioxidants and are easily obtainable from eating a healthy balanced diet full of fruit, vegetables and nuts..
- Too much sugar and junk foods put our immune systems under a great deal of stress, so the approach to these types of foods is definitely less is best!!
- Getting enough sleep keeps our immune systems strong. Whilst we are sleeping our bodies are healing and repairing, if we are not getting enough sleep then our bodies struggle to stay fit and healthy.
- Using too many antibacterial products and being too obsessed with germs is not good for our immune systems. If our bodies do not come into contact with germs then they cannot create the necessary antibodies to fight those germs. I'm not saying don't be clean, I'm just saying don't be clinical. Children must be exposed to germs so that their bodies can create strong immune systems.
- Moderate exercise boosts our immune systems too.
Yes, we can boost our immune systems with antibodies, eating foods rich with antioxidants and a healthy lifestyle.
I hope that this hub answers the question 'Is there any way that we can promote the growth of antibodies in our blood to boost the immune system?' set by RealHouseWife.
Copyright © 2012 Debbie Roberts