HOW THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WORKS
For a simplistic explanation, visualize a "Star Wars" scenario. The enemy has launched its attack (the enemy beindg bacteria, virus, poison, and/or other antigens). If the wall of the fortress (the skin) is intact, most invaders are repelled. If there is a cut or burn, then invaders can enter at the damaged site. But most invaders gain entrance through the respiratory tract, the bowel, or the genitourinary tract. The enemy is first met by the first division of troops called the "innate system", which includes the leukocyte army (the white blood cells).
Then the body uses chemical warfare in an attempt to kill the invaders. If an invader breaches the defenses, it is attacked by the second line of defense: the army of phagocytic cells stationed throughout the body. The phagocyte's mission is to engulf and ingest the invaders, somewhat like Pac Man.
The body cells that are fatally wounded are mercifully disposed of by "killer calls" with their chemicals, interferons. This is important mechanism against cancer. The last innate defense system consists of more types of chemical warfare and certain soldier proteins that destroy the invader or assist the phagocytic army to engulf them.
If the invader gets through the lines of the Innate division, then the "Adaptive system" comes into force and produces a specific response to each invader. B lymphocytes produce various antibodies that come to the assistance of the phagocytes. The antibodies release chemicals such as histamine. Histamine dilates the capillaries to bring extra blood and nourishment to aid wounded cells.
When an invader is captured, a chemical flair is sent up to attract more T helper cells, which in turn send out chemical flairs to call into play more antibodies to help kill the invader. When the enemy is killed, another chemical flair is sent out to activate the peace making T Suppressor cells, and the war is over.
"The body does not wage quite the same kind of war against allergens (those harmless substances it mistakes for attackers) Antibodies that attack infection usually latch on to the germs, ultimately destroying them as it does against infection. But allergen-fighting antibodies - called Immunoglobulin E (IGE) - don't go one-on-one with their adversaries. Instead, they bombard them with chemical agents known as mediators, and these mediators interfere with normal bodily functions. ... (and) can cause anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that causes swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or even the entire body. Victims of anaphylaxis become hoarse and have difficulty breathing. Extreme reactions can cause life-threatening shock" (Saltman, p. 178).
The Immune system, if functioning properly, should prevent most illnesses. When we're exposed to disease-causing germs, the immune system produces germ-killing mucus to kill and flush out the germs. Then it creates a fever to burn off any remaining germs and the poisons created by the germs, then it produces sweat to flush these poisons out of the body. Then we become well again. However, we are taught by the medical/pharmaceutical establishment to treat disease by suppressing the immune system. For example, we're told to take decongestants to dry up the germ-killing mucus so the germs stay in the body and continue to do damage. Then we're told to take cough suppressing drugs so the mucus and germs stay in the lungs and do damage there. Then we're told to take aspirin or other NSAIDs to bring the fever down so it can't burn off the germs and their toxins. Then we're told to take antibiotics to kill the germs. Antibiotics do not kill viruses or fungal infections, only bacteria (sometimes). But they do kill the good bacteria that produce vitamins, proteins, and keep fungus under control. This leads to the overgrowth of fungi, and further damages the immune system, causing more infections, allergies, arthritis, cancer, or other immune deficiency diseases.
There are numerous other
things that can cause this well organized immune system to break down:
* Toxic chemicals in
our environment can damage the T suppressor cells that end the war when the
enemy is killed. When these cells fail to make peace our immune army then
attacks our own body's cells, creating autoimmune diseases such as allergies,
lupus, and arthritis.
* Genetically engineered foods and drugs.
* Smoke - "Because wood burning commonly is done in cold, oxygen poor conditions, increased emissions of carbon monoxide and particulate matter can fill the surrounding air. Emissions of toxins such as formaldehyde also expand if a stove is poorly ventilated. Formaldehyde, which is also found in tobacco smoke and furniture, has also been shown to be a respiratory irritant. Tobacco smoke contains poisonous compounds such as formaldehyde, arsenic, DDT, and cyanide, just to name a few of the 4,000 chemicals present when you puff on a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Studies have shown that a cl;ear connectionexists between ETS and asthma in children, as well as magnified asthma symptoms in teanagers. Second hand smoke is also linked to respiratory infections in babies that lead to thousands of hospitalizations each year" (ISL Consulting Co.).
If the immune system is weak it may take a long time to get well, but if we strengthen the immune system with specific foods and herbs, it can prevent or eliminate illnesses within minutes to a few days. To help it function properly, avoid immune-damaging foods such as sugar, processed foods, dairy, sodas, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, chocolate, etc., and avoid immune-damaging chemicals such as antibacterial cleaning agents, mouth washes, pesticides, antibiotics, anesthesia, steroids, immunosuppressive drugs, and vaccines.
Copyright © Laurie Lynch, N.D., 2008-2011