The Immune System: Our Natural Defence

by Deep, Radi, and Mithu on November 11, 2015

in General Health


How many of us are aware of the marvellous and intelligent inner world we carry within our bodies? Outmatching any past or present day government system, this world is efficiently organized to take in and carry nutrition to all of its parts, efficiently dispose of garbage, cooperate with all of its members, and defend itself with brilliant first, second, and third line strategies. It does all this quietly and efficiently, not asking for recognition or applause, only for sensible eating habits, the avoidance of toxins as far as possible, and a healthy and natural lifestyle. Here we will deal with one of its functions: its defence or immune system (IS).

Some of us seem to think of the IS as a particular organ defending the body. But in truth, it is composed of a variety of proteins and specialized cells  “organized” and “educated” to recognize foreign pathogens and overcome them. It involves an amazing collaboration between cells and proteins to do this, and these are dispersed throughout the body in order to rapidly respond to attack.


There are two categories of immune system response: the innate IS and the adaptive IS. The innate IS is what we are born with, and is a system complete in itself, not requiring additional training to respond rapidly to infection. It involves several lines of defence, the first being our skin which is a waterproof barrier, preventing pathogens from entering the body. The nose and the mouth are body cavities lined with mucus membranes which trap bacteria in a sticky mucus. Acidic gastric juice produced in the stomach kills off much of the bacteria in food, while saliva helps to reduce bacteria in the mouth and washes them off your teeth. If pathogens manage to break through this first line of defence, they are met with a second battalion of specialized white blood cells or chemicals released by tissues and cells.

The adaptive IS, or immunity, develops as we grow and involves T cells and B cells that require “educating” so as not to attack our own cells. The advantages of the adaptive IS are its long-term memory and the ability to recognize new germs. Central to both IS systems is the ability to distinguish between invading pathogens and our own cells. The innate system’s rapid response to infection is our first line of defence, and this response alerts and triggers the adaptive system which may take several days to become activated. Both systems are functional at birth, but the adaptive system needs educating and experience, as well as a built-up memory bank that forms throughout life with each exposure to infection. This stored memory enables it to respond to similar infections with a stronger and more rapid response.


Lymphocytes are specialized immune system cells composed of T cells and B cells. Produced from primitive stem cells in the bone marrow, where all cells of the IS originate, they begin their lives and development there. While the B cells continue to develop and mature in the bone marrow, the T cells migrate to the thymus where they are “educated” to become mature T lymphocytes. These cells have the important function of producing antibodies (immunoglobulins or gammaglobulins).

Mature B cells are distributed in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, parts of the intestines, and the blood stream. When foreign bodies are encountered, they respond by turning into plasma cells, with some of them becoming memory cells. The plasma cells produce antibodies which find their way into the tissues, respiratory and intestinal secretions, the blood stream, and even tears. Every foreign antigen has an antibody molecule designed to lock into it. B cells have the ability to produce a very extensive variety of these molecules. The antibodies attach to the “foreigner,” setting off a complex chain of actions that involve other components of the IS to eventually destroy the germ.

There is an extensive variety of T cells in the body that enables them to respond to almost any pathogen. They vary in function, some being “killer” or cytotoxic cells, and others helper and regulatory cells. Killer T cells attack and destroy virus-infected cells. Viruses can only survive and multiply within our cells where they are hidden from the immune system. So the infected cell releases cytokines to alert the body in order to prevent infection of other cells. Killer T cells circulating in the blood stream rush to the site where they kill the infected cell. This process involves the sacrifice of the infected cell and many other cells. During the destruction process, the T cells also instruct the B cells  to manufacture antibodies that can deal with another exposure to the same virus. Memory T cells are also produced for the same purpose.

With bacteria, our skin and internal mucus membranes effectively defend against infection. But if damaged due to injury or disease, bacteria can enter the body. When they do, they get coated with “complement” (we explain what this is later) and antibodies, and the relevant immune cells then engulf and destroy them.


The major organs of defence in the immune system are:

  • Bone marrow, which is the “womb” where all cells of the immune system begin their life and development.
  • Thymus: this organ is located in front of the windpipe or trachea. Immature T cells leave the bone marrow and locate themselves in the thymus where they are educated to become mature T lymphocytes.
  • Tonsils: these are collections of lymphocytes located in the throat.
  • Lymph nodes are collections of B and T lymphocytes throughout the body. These cells get together in lymph nodes to communicate with each other.
  • The liver: this is one of the main bastions of the immune system and is responsible for synthesizing proteins of the “complement” system.  This system is composed of 30 blood proteins functioning in an orderly way to defend against infection. It also contains large numbers of phagocytic cells which ingest bacteria in blood that passes through the liver.
  • The spleen: this order is composed of a collection of T and B lymphocytes and monocytes. It filters the blood and provides a space for organisms and cells of the immune system to interact.
  • Blood: is a circulatory system carrying cells and proteins of the IS to all parts of the body.

We cannot go into more detailed information on the various specialized cells and their functions in the IS. However, the information presented above serves to give an idea of the marvelous strategic cooperation involved in the workings of our immune system. But in our day and age, the unnatural toxins that we imbibe in our food and water, and even the air we breathe, combined with the stress of our lifestyles, puts an enormous stress on the body. Some of the disorders associated with a malfunctioning IS are: HIV/AIDS, lymphoma, myeloma, leukemia, cancer, allergies, and several other serious health conditions.

Apart from a healthy diet, fresh air, exercise, and stress relieving activities, our IS may need supplementary help in order to function well.

Please visit our product page on “Help for the Immune System” to learn about key supplements that can strengthen your immune system.


Dr. Rachel Hoad-Robson. n.d. “The Immune System” (Document ID: 12484 v3). Accessed at: www.patientinfo/health/the-immune-system.

Immune Deficiency Foundation USA. 2013. “The Immune System and Primary Immunodeficiency.”  Extracted from The IDF Patient and Family Handbook for Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (fifth edition). Accessed at:




Chronic Stress Can Kill You!

by Deep, Radi, and MithuNovember 1, 2015 Topical Health Issues

“Stress is not a state of mind…’s measurable and dangerous, and humans can’t seem to find their off switch.” This warning comes from the award-winning neurobiologist, Dr. Robert Sapolsky, in a documentary entitled Stress: Portrait of a Killer. The film was produced by National Geographic and Stanford University (where Dr. Sapolsky is a professor) and […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Hair-Raising Stories: How to avoid Hair Loss and Balding and Regrow Your Hair

by Deep, Radi, and MithuAugust 8, 2015 Natural Beauty and Cosmetics

The structure and color of hair, and the many ways in which it is styled, can define the identities of both individuals and ethnic groups. The traditional long pigtail of the Manchu Chinese, and of the Han Chinese of the Qing Dynasty, and the long hair worn in a topknot under a turban of the […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Liver for Life: How to Protect and Improve Your Liver Health and Function

by Deep, Radi, and MithuJune 12, 2012 General Health

Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver. William James What is the liver? The human liver is a reddish brown organ with four lobes and weights between 1.44–1.66 kg (3.2–3.7 lb). It is both the largest internal organ and the largest gland in the body, resting just below the diaphragm. It is […]

0 comments Read the full article →
Food for Diabetics

Preventing and Treating Diabetes the Holistic Way (Part Two)

by Deep, Radi, and MithuFebruary 13, 2011 General Health

In our previous article on diabetes (part one), we provided our readers with an overview of this dangerous and increasingly common disease, including its main types, risk factors, and symptoms. We also provided some general tips, including the need for exercise, on how to manage diabetes. In this second article (part two) on diabetes, we […]

0 comments Read the full article →
Sea Buckthorn Berries

Sea Buckthorn: The Wonder Berry with Amazing Healing Properties

by Deep, Radi, and MithuOctober 25, 2010 Natural Health Foods

AN INTRODUCTION TO SEA BUCKTHORN: A TRUE SUPER FOOD In recent years, numerous products have appeared in the market clamoring for “super food status.” While some are undoubtedly worthy candidates, it is not always clear to what extent reported claims of their miraculous health benefits are based on rigorous research and scientific validation as opposed […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Diabetes: Its Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Management (Part One)

by Deep, Radi, and MithuOctober 13, 2010 Topical Health Issues

A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON DIABETES: The word “diabetes” has Greek origins as the name for a disease involving the discharge of excessive amounts of urine. Its English derivative was first recorded as “diabete” in a medical text written around 1425. In 1675, the word mellitus from the Latin word for honey was added as a […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Those Wonder Working Enzymes: Healing in Depth

by Deep, Radi, and MithuJune 17, 2010 Natural Health Supplements

Having read about the many health benefits of systemic enzymes, and experienced some of their powerful healing effects first hand, we felt we had to share this information with all our readers. To briefly mention some of our personal experiences with enzymes, Mithu’s painful knee and tender ankle that caused her to hobble rather than […]

1 comment Read the full article →
One World

Reaching Out: Healing for Our Wounded Society

by Deep, Radi, and MithuJune 4, 2010 Topical Health Issues

“Love the world as your own self then you can truly care for all things” Tao Te Ching “…there is but one possible way in which human elements, innumerably diverse by nature, can love one another: it is by knowing themselves all to be centred on a single ‘super-centre’ common to all.” Teilhard de Chardin […]

1 comment Read the full article →

How Do You View Your World? Improve Your Vision Naturally

by Deep, Radi, and MithuMarch 23, 2010 General Health

People see only what they are prepared to see. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) We don’t see things as they are ~ we see things as we are. (Anais Nin) Introduction   This article emphasizes some of the underlying factors that may lead to deteriorating vision and suggests steps that we can take to alleviate or improve […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Aromatic Oils: Nature’s Fragrant Healers

by Deep, Radi, and MithuFebruary 6, 2010 Holistic Therapies

“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous” – Aristotle Essential oils certainly fit the above description as we hope you will agree after reading this article. What is Aromatherapy? Aromatherapy has been described as the science and art of using the scent of flowers, plants, herbs, and spices to revitalize and […]

1 comment Read the full article →