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The immune system – the body's protective shield

Das Immunsystem – das Schutzschild des Körpers

 

The immune system is our body's protective shield, a complex defense system consisting of organs, mucous membranes and cells that defends us against various invaders. Against pests such as viruses and bacteria or pollutants such as chemicals and toxins. The immune system keeps us healthy by fighting infection and disease and maintaining balance in the body. But what exactly is the immune system and how does it work?s?

The immune system consists of innate and acquired immunity. Innate or natural immunity refers to the defense mechanisms we are born with - this system kicks in quickly and immediately when invaders strike. Put simply, it is a defense mechanism on two different levels. Level one or the outer system consists of all outer and inner protective barriers such as our skin or our mucous membranes. Level two or the internal system consists of immune cells and proteins. We end up being exposed to many different attackers every day just waiting to make our bodies their host. Even the smallest injury can facilitate the entry of pathogens. For example, if you cut yourself on the paper ouch! A level one security breach. Immune cells are activated and immediately migrate to the injured tissue and attack pathogens. The immune cells get additional help from nine different proteins or enzymes that perform different tasks, such as marking or destroying bacteria. Overall, the innate immune system reacts very quickly to a threat, but also non-specifically. This means that the innate defense system always reacts in the same way and does not differentiate between pathogens. And if, for example, pathogens now multiply and spread very quickly and are therefore faster than the natural defense system. A security breach on level two, so to speak. Well, in this case the acquired or adaptive defense system switches on. This is our body's third line of defense made up of B and T lymphocytes and antibodies. Adaptive defense identifies pathogens and then creates tailored antibodies. Which in turn means that this system naturally reacts much more slowly than the innate defenses, but an immunological memory is formed in return. So if we're exposed to the same attacker again, the adaptive defenses can respond quickly and effectively, which is what we then call active immunity. An immunity that often lasts for years or even life, which we get, for example, after a childhood illness such as measles or after a vaccination.fung haben.

The white blood cells, or leukocytes, are often referred to as the backbone of our immune system. They are made in the bone marrow, circulate in the blood or lymphatic system, and continuously scan our bodies for invaders. Our body produces up to 100 billion white blood cells a day, which means that a microliter of blood contains between 4500 and 11000 leukocytes. The five different groups of leukocytes perform different tasks:: neutrophils are the first responders they kill and digest bacteria, lymphocytes – produce antibodies, monocytes – destroy bacteria and activate the immune system, eosinophils – scavenger cells, which mainly render parasites harmless and basophilia – Triggers of inflammation and allergic reactions. You can easily remember that with this English mnemonic: never let monkeys eat bananas.
Our gut is another key player in this complex defense system. As we know, the gut is a protective barrier between the outside world and the inside of our body, as well as our body's first line of defense against attackers. It responds to external stimuli, i.e. food or other substances we ingest, and ensures that water and nutrients are absorbed while less favorable substances such as bacteria, viruses and toxins are expelled. Around 70% of the cells in our immune system are located in the gut wall, the gut-associated lymphatic tissue, or GALT for short. Recent studies show that the intestinal flora and our immune system not only communicate with each other, but also support and regulate each other. Which means that big changes in the gut can also overturn the immune system. The good thing is that we can do a lot ourselves to support intestinal health and our immune system. It's in our hands, even a small change in our lifestyle will have a positive effect on our health. Such as getting enough sleep, stress management at work and in the private sphere, and of course a balanced diet.g.

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