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immune system and immune defense

Immunsystem und Immunabwehr

What is the immune system?

The immune system is the body's own defense system that protects it from pathogens and pollutants. It consists of three independent protection systems that quickly fend off intruders such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, but also pollutants, thus ensuring that bodily functions can run smoothly.


What does immune defense mean?

Immune defense is the defense against invaders such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites or pollutants by the body's immune system.

Immune cells support the immune system
The bronchi and lungs, the skin and especially the digestive tract with its huge intestinal surface are of great importance in the immune system. It is not for nothing that over 70% of the immune cells are located in the intestine. The immune cells include all cells that have specialized in defending against pathogens and pollutants. They are known as thrombocytes, erythrocytes, granulocytes and macrophages, but also lymphocytes and leukocytes, killer cells and white blood cells belong to the immune cells.

However, the immune cells are only part of the defense forces deployed. Our body has a real defense system that protects it. It consists of three independent protection systems:

1. The external defense system
First protective barriers are

  • the skin,
  • the oral flora on teeth, tongue and inner cheeks,
  • mucous membranes in the nose, in the bronchi and in the lungs,
  • the tear fluid and
  • the intestinal mucosa with its intestinal flora.

These protective barriers act like mechanical and chemical bulwarks and ward off a large part of the pathogens.

2. The internal defense system
When pathogens or pollutants penetrate the external protective system, the immune cells attack, especially the white blood cells. Every day the body produces 25 to 100 billion white blood cells. In the event of an infection, when pathogens penetrate and multiply, the number of white blood cells can increase tenfold. An unimaginable metabolic performance of the immune system, whose energy is made available by the mitochondria, the power plants of the cells.

3. Specific defense system
If certain pathogens occur or if substances (antigens) are found in the body that it considers foreign, it fights them with highly specific proteins called immunoglobulins. At the same time, when you first come into contact with pathogens or antigens, your immune system produces specific defense mechanisms that can render these pathogens or substances harmless if they enter your body again.

All vaccinations are based on this defense system. For example, when vaccinated with harmless cowpox, the antigen defense builds up effective defenses against the deadly human pox pathogen. That is why today there are practically no more smallpox diseases.

Efficient immune system protects against diseases
All three defense systems must be effective and in balance so that the immune system does not go haywire and attack the body's own cells. The intestinal flora plays an important role in this.

We need our sophisticated, intact defense system to ward off pathogens in the short term and to maintain orderly bodily functions in the long term. Only with an efficient immune system can we counteract disease attacks and prevent chronic complaints.


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