Boosting Immune System Health – What Research Is Telling Us

2012-01-27 | |
Last updated: 2013-09-30

Every day of our lives, our immune system is involved in countless small skirmishes with foreign invaders that seek to use our bodies for their own benefit. Generally, the many different cells of our immune system work quite well together to fend of the viruses, fungus and bacteria that would try to take over. However, the various colds, flues, and other infections that we do end up getting point to the fact that the immune system does not always catch these attackers early before they can do damage.

The good news is that medical science is making gains in boosting our immune systems to aid in fighting infection.

How Do Our Bodies Manage Infections?

In most cases, our immune systems will eventually detect any unwanted visitors and rid our bodies of them. At the same time, the immune system will learn to recognize the trespassers so they can be identified and stopped earlier the next time they drop in. These steps take place normally when the immune system is healthy and when the invaders are not able to hide or disable the immune system but the process can also fail under a number of circumstances.

In situations where the immune system is unsuccessful in identifying and fending off an attack on its own, modern medicine turns to a variety of different medications that have been created over the years. These include antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral treatments, collectively called antimicrobials. Each of these medications works to destroy or interfere with the ability of the attackers to invade and multiply; effectively doing the work that the immune system failed to perform.

What these medications all have in common is that they do not make use of the immune system, even though the immune system is generally very effective in eliminating infection. Until recently, the only significant way that medicine sought to work with and improve the immune system was by using vaccines. These vaccines are made either with significantly weakened versions of the bacteria and viruses or simply pieces of these microbes and their introduction into the body is an attempt to train the immune system to recognize the invaders in the future.

In many cases this approach works, but for a number of types of infection, such vaccines can prove only partially effective and only offer immunity for a short time.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Medical Research

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