Immune system and defenses: The most important questions at a glance

Immune system and defenses: The most important questions at a glance

Complex and diverse defense system

The defense system of our body consists of very many and different components. In addition to mechanical and chemical defense barriers, especially of the skin and mucous membranes, our immune system provides a complex, fascinating and extremely effective way of protecting our health.

There is no such thing as an immune system, but several, which can be distinguished according to the focus of consideration. For example, in the humoral and the cellular, the innate or acquired or the nonspecific and specific immune system. Among the dissolved (humoral) antibodies include u.a. the antibodies and numerous messengers. The cellular defense part is taken over by the various subgroups of white blood cells (leukocytes). The number and the ratio of the members of this important cell family can be determined by a blood smear with subsequent determination of the so-called differential blood picture. This can make a statement about the state of the immune system and in case of suspicion clarify whether you are currently undergoing an infection.

Not new, but important: Healthy behavior (also) promotes the immune system!

Surprisingly, there are many rules in our regulated society, but no compulsory health education. Otherwise, clearly more people would be aware of the importance of their immune system and how they can promote it, but can also harm them with wrong behavior. First, it is the usual health factors that also do the immune system good: balanced, moderate and vitamin-rich diet, enough exercise, fresh air and sunshine, lots and good sleep, serenity and humor with ample dose of hearty laughter and physical, mental, emotional and social activity and balance. On the other hand, stress, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, coffee, black tea, sugar and its substitutes, industrially processed fats and processed foods are both detrimental and, above all, to be avoided in large quantities. Drink plenty of water (non-carbonated), because it promotes the excretion of toxins and thus a functioning defense system (in addition to some other benefits).

Commercial Immunostimulants: Between Appearance and Being

Incidentally, the gut is now considered our largest immune organ. Accordingly, it should be handled with care. This concerns above all a culinary and otherwise healthy lifestyle (see above) as well as due restraint with antibiotics. If their use is unavoidable, the subsequent intake of probiotics for faster regeneration of disturbed intestinal flora may be useful. Otherwise, it is often difficult to distinguish between advertised and actual effect when using such "life-enhancing" and also from special immunostimulating preparations. This also applies to the hyped intestinal rehabilitation, whose positive effect has not yet been scientifically proven.

Close correlation between the immune system and the psyche

The close, reciprocal relationship between the immune system, nerves and psyche is now known and explored more and more intensively. Increasing attention in health-oriented and medical circles is also the relatively recent concept of "resilience". It refers primarily to the psychological resistance, but can also apply to the entire organism. Therefore, we should not just focus on pathogens that make us ill. But rather on the strengths of our defense (and their conditions), so they do not even allow it.

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