What Is The Function Of The Immune System?

This explains the funtion of the immune system in simple terms.

A fact of life is that at some point we all get sick. Catching a cold is as commonplace as morning coffee. In an effort to stay healthy, people take vitamin C supplements, get good exercise, and even consume herbal concoctions in an effort to keep their "resistance" up. However, do they know what their "resistance" entails? It is true that when your resistance is low, you can become sick. But, what is "resistance" and how does it work?

Your resistance is better known as your immune system. The immune system is your body's defense mechanism against illness. The system enables your body to know the difference between yourself, germs, and the outside world. Your body sees any illness or outside nuisance such as pollen, as a foreign substance. The body does not like foreign substances because they result in illness, pain, and other physically negative phenomena. That is why your body is set up to battle against what it perceives as an invader.

Your immune system is like a community or team. This team is comprised of many different cells that work together to keep you healthy. They all have specialized functions and ways of communicating with each other. The two important tasks of the immune system are to kill and to remember. Killing and remembering involves recognizing foreign invaders. Nature is teeming with invaders ready to infect our bodies. Thus, our immune system is equipped to specifically recognize the differences between different invaders referred to as pathogens. All pathogens release certain chemicals and proteins that our immune defense recognizes. Recognition triggers a kill response. The cells responsible for killing actually eat and digest the pathogen. Eating the pathogen allows some of the killer cells to process the bad guys and package them so that the other members of the immune team and recognize them if the same invaders return.



When an invader returns, the team members responsible for remembering past invasions sense the invader's chemical signals. The signal stimulates them to produce and excrete chemical tags called antibodies. These antibodies stick to the invaders and enable to killer cells to recognize and kill again. Cells whose duty is to patrol and report do another form of recognition. Sometimes invaders succeed in invading and they hide and make their victim cells sick from the inside. When this happens the victim cells ask for help by displaying proteins on their exteriors that are flags for help. The patrolling team recognizes these flags and goes into action. They kill the infected cells and alert the other immune cells that there is an invader in the area. This way, the invaders inside infected cells are killed and the invaders that have not yet had a chance to infect are also killed.

Whenever a person actually catches a cold, it's not because the members of the team forgot the plays. One reason sickness occurs is because the team doesn't always recognize a new invader fast enough to react. A new invader may be able to do enough damage to cause illness, before the immune response is complete. Another scenario is a low numbers of players. The body may be in the process of recovering from fighting a foreign invader. Thus, the body is in the process of gaining new team members and building back up to full strength. This would be a time when resistance is down and there is not enough manpower to handle invaders. Viruses, clandestine foreign invaders, form a special threat to the immune team. They can actually hide dormant inside cells for a long time. Without warning they come out of hiding and begin attacking our bodies. When they are hiding inside our cells, the immune team doesn't see them. So while they are undercover, they multiply and assemble to kill the cells in which they hide. After killing they go out and infect more.

The immune system is very complex and effective. There are many different cells, many different chemicals, and many different ways of chemical communication. What is important to remember is that the immune system is consists of a team that has an intricate teamwork. All the members know the plays and how to execute them. If a person eats well, exercises, and gets good rest, they can keep their immune team at its best. Keeping the system strong results in better health. It's just that simple.

© High Speed Ventures 2011