IMMUNE SYSTEM :- The body has the ability to fight against infection %. due to our normal immune system. It works normally in most of us. However, when it fails, we tend to get an infection. We shall find out if we can boost our immune system and prevent illness.
How does our immune system work?
Our immune system is a network of important cells, tissues, proteins and organs that work together to protect the body from potentially damaging bac. teria, viruses and parasites. Our immune system can be innate and adaptive. We are born with an innate immune system that protects us from viral and other infections. The response is usually in terms of fever. Adaptive immunity is protection that we gain throughout our life as we are exposed to diseases or protected against them by vaccinations. The adaptive immune response basically is an antibody response against the invading microorganisms. The adaptive system can be between 5 and 10 days to identify the antibodies that are needed and produce them in adequate numbers to attack the invading viruses or bacteria. In that time, the innate system prevents the invading virus or bacteria from multiplying exponentially.
Can the immune system be boosted?
The innate immune response cannot be boost-ed. The efficiency of adaptive response can be boosted by vaccination. The adaptive immune response remembers the previous virus or bacteria and the next time it quickly launches an attack on the microorganisms.
What can you do to boost your immune system?
The ability to boost the immune system has remained elusive for many decades. There are many intriguing factors involved. There are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune response. Researchers are still trying to see the effects of exercises, stress, diet and other factors on the immune system. However, general health living strategies can help to have a better immune response.
What are the general ways to boost immunity?
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly and keep a healthy weight. Obesity can lead to decreased immune response and the death rates due to viral pneumonia including coronavirus is higher in obese individuals. Avoid
alcohol. If you drink regularly to decrease the quantity. Get adequate sleep. Take steps to avoid infections by washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and use a sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Try to reduce stress levels by having a positive attitude laced with optimism. Yoga can also help.
How to boost immunity by the scientific way?
There are many Allopathic, Ayurvedic or Homeopathic medications available to boost immunity. None of them has been proved scientifically to boost immunity and prevent illness.
What about the immune system and your age?
As we age our immune system gets weaken This leads to more serious infections and cancer. Covid-19, influenzas and pneumonia are the leading cause of deaths in people above 60 years in most countries. Scientists do not have a clear explanation. However, as we get old the ‘I’ lymphocytes in our blood are reduced in number. These cells play an important role in our immune system. Despite a reduced immune response for vaccination in elders as compared to younger adults, vaccination against influenza and Streptococcus pneumonia has reduced the incidence of this pneumonia in the aged. Older people suf• far from micronutrient malnutrition. Whether dietary supplements including multivitamins and minerals help to boost immunity in the elderly is still debatable.
Can herbs and supplements improve the immune system?
If you go to any store you will always find many immune booster products. These products may influence some part of our immune response. However, whether this can lead to overall improvement. ment in health to ward off infections or cancers has not been scientifically validated.
Why do all individuals respond to infections in different ways?
This is perhaps due to different responses of the person’s immune system. This can be influenced by underlying disorders like diabetes, obesity, liver, kidney functions and alcohol and tobacco consumption. Many a time your genetic profile can decide about your immune response. There are no definitive scientifically proved methods to improve your immunity to ward off infections and cancers except for vaccination. The whole population on this planet is waiting for an effective vaccine against coronavirus. Changing lifestyle and making it more stress-free, regular exercises, a balanced diet with more emphasis on fruits and vegetables and quitting smoking and excess alcohol intake can help to have a good immune response. Unfortunately, no drugs or tonics except vaccinations can boost your immunity effectively.
Author: Dr Jay Deshmukh
Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.