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Why Is Your Immune System So Important?

Your immune system is central to your health and well-being because it affects every other part of your body. It controls and influences all aspects of your health. The healthier your immune system is, the better your body can cope with the many toxic burdens it may encounter.

What Is The Immune System?

It is your body’s defence force against infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and from the growth of tumour and cancer cells. It is also involved in your body’s response to injury and trauma. Your immune system is made up of tissues, organs and special interdependent cell types.

For instance, Natural Killer cells (or NK cells) are essential in protecting you against daily exposure to viruses and cancer cells that reach your body. A healthy immune system has high NK cell numbers and activity, while chronic illness is associated with low NK cell numbers and activity.

The immune system has the ability to distinguish between your body’s own cells (“self”) and foreign cells (“non-self”). Normally, the body’s immune defences co-exist peacefully with cells that are distinctively “self”. On the other hand, when immune defenders encounter cells or organisms are “foreign,” they quickly launch an attack.

How Does Your Immune System Work to Protect You?

Your immune system seeks out and attacks organisms and substances that invade your body systems and cause disease through a series of steps called the “Immune Response”.

In order to work properly, communication amongst the cells is key. Immune cells communicate by direct physical contact or by releasing chemical messengers.

When “foreign bodies” (or “antigens”) are detected, several types of cells work together to:

  1. Recognise these foreign bodies
  2. Respond by attacking these foreign bodies to protect us
  3. Remember these antigens in case of future “attacks”.

Your immune system stores just a few of each kind of the different cells needed to recognise possible enemies. When an antigen appears, those few matching cells multiply into a full-scale army to attack. After their job is done, they leave guard soldiers behind to watch for future attacks.

If you would like to know more about your immune system we recommend the following link: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/immune-system-overview