Prevention: How to Boost Our Immune System

Another area of dramatic contrast between natural medicine and orthodox practices is in the prevention of disease or simply reacting to it. Many conventional medical practitioners do little to educate their patients on prevention. It's simply not a priority in their medical school training. Jack Stobo, a senior physician at Johns Hopkins, has said: The way we educate physicians is out of sync with the problems they have to face when they go into practice. . . . [Of the] number of the problems that end up in the hospital . . . somewhere around half are preventable. Contrastingly, natural medicine has always stressed the prevention of disease through diets rich in whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables and by using supplements for heightened health. Meditation and stress management are also thrown in the mix as integral factors in determining our total well being. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to enhance our immunity. In order to do so, we need a basic understanding of how our immune system works to defend us against invading microorganisms and carcinogens.
A Brief Overview of Immune FunctionThe immune system consists of various body organs and processes: the main ones are the thymus gland, spleen, tonsils, adenoids and lymph nodes, and a variety of white blood cells designed to protect the body. The thymus gland is an intregal part of our immune defenses. It produces T-lymphocytes, which are a special kind of white blood cell that plays a profound role in creating cell-based immunity. Immunity on a cellular level is what protects us against fungi, viruses, bacteria, and yeast infections. Today, more and more evidence suggests that all basic immune functions also play a vital role in protecting us from allergies and malignancies. All of us have tumor cells which our immune systems recognize and destroy. When a person does develop cancer, this immune function has failed to provide the body with protection. For some reason, it does not recognize malignant cells, and they are allowed to reproduce.
The agranulocytes include monocytes and large and small lymphocytes. Monocytes are able to ingest large particles such as foreign proteins and peptides, while lymphocytes produce antibodies and are important to cellular immunity. Interferon is a protein formed when cells are exposed to viruses. Noninfected cells will become immune to the virus when exposed to interferon. Interferon inhibits with the virus's ability to reproduce. If the body's ability to properly produce interferon or leukocytes is impaired, the health of the body may be successfully challenged by invading disease-producing microorganisms. It is therefore, easy to understand why maintaining a healthy immune system is so critical.

Information provided is intended to provide an electronic reference library about nutrition and health. The views expressed in this or other sections of this site, have not been independently researched or confirmed.
Updated on : 2/19/2012 6:18:52 PM
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