Immune System 101

The immune system is the human body’s first line of defense that protects against viruses, bacteria, foreign invaders and organisms.

When a person’s immune system is strong and healthy, it regulates normal growth and development and protects the person against infections and disease.

When the immune system is weakened or suppressed, then it does not protect well and can develop life-threatening diseases, disorders and conditions.

The Modern World

Today’s modern lifestyle and modern world has negatively impacted the developing human immune system to the point that not only our environment but also our children are seriously being affected.

Our microbial environment is full of pathogenic microbes such as bacteria, viruses and microorganisms that are constantly bombarding the human immune system.

The increase of microbes and pathogens are causing the many inflammatory or allergic conditions.

The composition of the microbial human gut flora, known as the microbiome, is negatively affected by the modern lifestyle that is destroying the beneficial bacteria paramount in maintaining human health.

A healthy microbiome aids in proper digestion, modulates the immune system and protects against diseases, disorders and infectious conditions.

What’s Affecting Our Children’s Immune System Today?

The modern lifestyle contributes to:

  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Emotional anxiety
  • Electromagnetic smog
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor hydration
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Unhealthy gut microflora
  • Food sensitivities and intolerances
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Allergies
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Viruses and bacteria
  • Excessive medications
  • Poor diet
  • High usage of antibiotics
  • Genetically modified foods
  • Fast foods
  • Chemical preservatives and dyes

The assaults on a child’s immune system from environmental toxicity and the modern day lifestyle choices have contributed to the increase in chronic immune-related conditions in children that has reached epidemic proportions.

There are record-breaking numbers of autism spectrum disorders, asthma, obesity, childhood diabetes, Bipolar, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders, allergies, eczema, ADHD, and learning disabilities just to name a few.

What’s going on with our children’s immune system?

Cell-Mediated Immunity and Humoral Immunity

The immune system has two types of immune responses: cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity.

Cell-mediated immunity does not involve antibodies but instead responds to an attack on the immune system by creating T-lymphocytes (white blood cells) that defend the body against pathogens by releasing cytokines.

Cytokines are messenger proteins that act as chemical messengers that work together to regulate immune response by defending against pathogens.

Humoral immunity — antibody-mediated immunity — responds to an attack on the immune system by producing B-cells (lynphocytes) that identify foreign matter and pathogens which are located in the blood or lymph fluid and produce antibodies that defend the body against viruses and bacteria.

T- Helper Cells

Another vital part to the immune system is T-helper cells that work within the immune system.

They are white blood cells (lymphocytes) that can recognize pathogens and foreign matter.

There are two groups of T-helper cells:

  • Th1cells are involved with the cell-mediated immunity which does not involve antibodies and usually deals with infections, viruses and certain bacteria.People with Th1 dominance tend to be pro-inflammatory so they have a delayed type hypersensitivity, brain fog and fatigue which are caused by the overstimulation of immune cells (lymphocytes, natural killer cells and T-cells) that result in chronic inflammation.It’s a combination of genetics, environmental and increased infections which cause elevated Th1 inflammation.
  • Th 2 cells are involved with humoral antibody-mediated immune response which deals with bacteria, toxins and allergens.They produce antibodies in the blood and have lower levels of systemic inflammation but people with dominant Th 2 cells tend to have an abundance of food allergies.

A strong healthy immune system works together with both Th1 and Th2 to keep the immune system balanced and modulated.

If either the Th1 cells or the Th2 cells become overactive, they can suppress the activity of the other which then creates a dominant condition and imbalance instead of a balanced relationship.

What happens in autoimmune diseases where the body attacks its own cells is that the immune system shows a dominance of either Th1 or Th2, which can increase the attack on healthy tissue and cause more damaging symptoms.

The following conditions are the result of either a dominant Th1 or a dominant Th 2:

Th1 Dominant Conditions:

  • Type I diabetes
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Low T3 syndrome
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD)
  • Grave’s disease
  • Rosacea
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Psoriasis
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Sjoren’s syndrome
  • Lyme infection
  • Celiac disease
  • Guilliane-Barre’ syndrome
  • Lichen planus
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Strep
  • Mono
  • HPV
  • Herpes
  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic viral infections

TH2 Dominant Conditions:

  • Lupus
  • IgE related allergies
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Nasal drip
  • Scleroderma
  • Airway constriction
  • Atopic eczema
  • Mucous
  • Sinusitis
  • Hay fever
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Increased stomach acid (GERD)
  • Asthma
  • Excess histamine
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Hives
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity
  • Graves disease

There are inflammatory diseases and disorders that are neither Th 1 nor Th 2:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • IBS
  • Heart disease
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy

Sources & References