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The importance of the immune system
Being able to defend ourselves from attack by pathogens is essential for our well-being. It is, in fact, an indispensable requirement for every human being.
Leading a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet are some good practices to follow if we want to strengthen our immune system, the main ally of our health. At times, however, these practices alone are not enough.
Before delving into how we can boost our immune system, let’s first analyze its function, what stimulates it, and how it can guarantee us protection from external attacks and pathogens.
What is the immune system and what are its functions
The immune system is made up of several integrated components, each with its own specific function:
- Immune cells: they are divided into phagocytes and lymphocytes. Phagocytes are our first line of defense and they are capable of ingesting foreign substances that may cause infection or illness. When foreign substances manage to get past this first line of defense, the lymphocytes intervene. Lymphocytes have the ability to recognize the antigens present on the surface of the pathogens and create and/or modify the antibodies thereby getting rid of the threat.
- Specialized proteins: they play an important role as chemical mediators, able to coordinate and implement immune responses within our body.
- Lymphatic organs: they are divided into primary and secondary organs. The former include the bone marrow and thymus, responsible for the production of B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. The latter include the spleen, ganglia, tonsils, lymph nodes, Peyer’s plaques and follicles.
By working together, these elements are able to identify and cope with infection. They restore the organism to its optimal state and permanently eliminate the threat.
The immune system performs three main functions:
- Protects our body from harmful external pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites;
- Removes damaged and/or dead cells;
- Recognizes and eliminates potentially harmful cells, such as cancer cells.
To carry out this protective action, our immune system must be able to distinguish between the elements that belong to it (endogenous) and those that are “foreign” (exogenous).
In this context, antigens take on a great importance. The immune system identifies an antigen as harmful which as a result stimulates an immune response. The ways in which we come into contact with these pathogens are varied: the air we inhale, the foods and drinks we ingest, wounds, and sexual intercourse.
The immune response
When our defense system of our organism intervenes quickly and stops the invader before it manages to spread, we do not feel any physical changes. However, when the attack is particularly intense and our body is unable to immediately recognize the pathogen, a series of events and symptoms are triggered that help us fight off infection.
In both cases, when a pathogen manages to overcome the first defensive barriers, the so-called internal immune response is activated. This immune response can be classified into three types:
- Nonspecific or innate immune response: general defense mechanism, present from birth, which acts rapidly on the external agent.
- Specific or acquired immune response: (also referred to as adaptive immunity) when the immune system is exposed to a certain pathogen and retains memory of the encounter in order to react quicker to future exposures.
- Mechanical or chemical immune response: it is activated directly by our body thanks to barriers such as the skin, sweat, epithelial membranes of the respiratory, reproductive and urinary tracts.
How can we strengthen the immune system?
We need to actively strengthen our immune system when our health is weakened, making us more susceptible to infections and other issues (such as in immunocompromised individuals).
The main elements that negatively affect immune function: stress, common colds, antibiotics, low temperatures, sedentary lifestyle, seasonal changes, unhealthy diet and aging.
The first piece of advice is always to follow a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and adequate daily rest, both in terms of quantity and quality.
Engaging in daily physical activity, when possible in the sun to stimulate the production of vitamin D, keeps our metabolism active and strengthens the effectiveness of the immune response.
Some other highly recommended practices to maintain a healthy immune system ready to act when needed: do not smoke, avoid excessive use of alcohol, and limit stressful situations for the body and mind.
To these practices we can also add another little “secret”: the use of dietary supplements formulated to support our immune defenses even during periods of increased risk or weakness.
Supplements for the immune system
PromoPharma® has developed Aminovita Plus® Difese Immunitarie, a dietary supplement made with amino acids and carefully selected raw materials of natural origin that can help strengthen and support the immune system.
Aminovita Plus® Immune Defense contains 3 types of amino acids – Glutamine, Cystine, Theanine – and is enriched with Vitamin C and Zinc. These 5 elements work together to support the immune system when the body comes into contact with a high number of pathogens and/or when the system is weakened by one or more of the aforementioned factors.
Let’s analyze the function of these 5 components in detail:
- Glutamine is an amino acid that performs multiple important functions. It’s an energy source for the cells that make up the immune system; it helps with the elimination of toxins from our body; it supports muscle development by counteracting its catabolization; it preserves and improves gut health by strengthening the intestinal lining.
- Cystine participates in the formation of Glutathione, an antioxidant capable of eliminating free radicals generated by metabolism and facilitating liver purification.
- Theanine stimulates the immune system, protects nerve cells against damage, and promotes relaxation.
- Vitamin C is a fundamental nutrient for our body. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, it helps to absorb iron, produces collagen, supports numerous cellular functions, and acts as a “barrier” for pathogens.
- Zinc, like Cystine, helps reduce oxidative stress by eliminating free radicals and slows down the aging process of cells. It also has important properties for wound healing.
Aminovita Plus® Difese Immunitarie is recommended for all those who want to support and strengthen their immune health. It is recommend particularly during cold seasons or in periods in which the immune defenses are weakened due to stress and/or poor nutrition.