'Immune system' can seem like a bit of an abstract concept, right? Where is it? What does it look like? How does it work? How can I help my immune system help me?
This blog will answer all your burning questions and equip you with all the facts to unleash at your next dinner party.
Where Is The Immune System?
The short answer is that it's kind of, well, everywhere in our body! But here's the longer answer:
Initially, immune molecules are made in our bone marrow. From there, they go to ‘boot camp’ and get ‘trained’ in the thymus gland —located behind your sternum, between your lungs.
Once they’re schooled up on their immune responsibilities, the immune molecules move out into our entire body—into our tissue, lymphatic system, our skin; and large concentration of these immune molecules are located in and around in the gut.
How Does The Immune System Work?
The job of the immune system is essentially to destroy antigens, and molecules that have been tagged by the body as an invader.
Immune molecules can attach themselves to invaders and 'disarm' them, then destroy them. Phagocytosis is the name of the process when immune molecules will engulf the entire pathogen.
Our immune system has two branches:
The Innate Immune System
This system looks after internal immune processes like breaking down old, damaged cells.
The Adaptive Immune System
This system is more associated with addressing molecules from the outside world. It 'adapts' to pathogens we've been exposed to that our body has deemed an invader.
What Nutrients Support the Immune System?
For healthy baseline immune function, we need to have broad spectrum essential nutrients in adequate levels. To name just a handful:
All the nutrients you need to for a strong foundation of immunity can be found in BePure One—the multivitamin design by Clinical Nutritionist, Ben Warren to meet the daily nutritional demands of New Zealanders for optimal health.
With over 50 high-quality, high-strength, highly bioavailable ingredients it supports not only strong immunity, but also mental clarity, energy levels, hair, skin, nails and well… everything!
Once you have your strong foundation set, and in times of heightened need—during winter, or when you're feeling under the weather—you want to go harder and heavier, inviting in the superheroes of immunity, which are vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin C.
Vitamin D is largely responsible for controlling our immune response. Deficiency of this crucial nutrient is associated with increased autoimmunity, and increased risk of infection.
As an active form, vitamin D3 is the most bioavailable option. Inactive forms (of any nutrients) require the use of other nutrients to convert them into active forms.
Zinc is involved in regulating both our innate and adaptive immune system. Deficiency in zinc is associated with impaired function of innate immune cells.
The most bioavailable form of zinc is zinc picolinate. In many processes related to our immune system, zinc works in a complementary manner with vitamin C.
Our ability to build immune cells is vitamin c dependent—so safe to say that vitamin C is a very important part of the strong immunity equation! Vitamin C has a short half-life, meaning it doesn't stay in our body very long. Topping up our stores on the daily is incredibly supportive for our immune cells.
What Should I Eat To Support My Immune System?
The food we eat can either support or inhibit our immune function. Nutrient-dense whole foods are the best foods we can be eating to protect ourselves from nasty invaders.
To help you and your family stay well this winter, we have put together 8 of our favourite whole food, immune-supporting recipes. Click to download this nourishing FREE resource.