15 May 5 Neat Facts You Didn’t Know about the Immune System
Although your immune system is constantly working, it’s one of the most overlooked and underrated systems of the body. When you get sick, you easily blame it for it’s failures, but when you feel great, you don’t always think about what it is doing every day to keep you healthy. From the time you’re conceived to the present moment, your immune system has never stopped working to protect you. You need regular immune support in order to function at optimal levels. Protecting your body is a full-time job for your immune system, so get to know your immune system a little bit better with these interesting facts.
Your immune system is a bit like artificial intelligence.
We often think of our immune systems as reactionary, but the immune system is designed to be preventative as well. Throughout your entire life, your body is exposed to a wide array of germs and bacteria. Each time your body is exposed to a new pathogen, it makes a record of the encounter. This memory of sorts allows your body to learn and adjust based on the new information it is provided about possible dangers. Most artificial intelligence systems learn in a similar manner: they’re exposed to a situation, given prompts on what to do, and then can address a similar situation in the future.
Your spleen is part of your immune system, and so is your gut.
Have you ever found yourself asking, “What is the purpose of my spleen?” The spleen is an internal abdominal organ that functions as part of the immune system. The spleen filters blood and removes red blood cells that are past their prime and not doing their job properly. In addition, your spleen may swell when you get an infection, even to the point of rupturing. When this happens, the spleen has to be removed, and your body can function fine without it. However, it’s thought that your immune system never functions quite as well without the spleen as it does with it.
In addition to your spleen being an important component of your immune system, your gut also has an important role in protecting your body. Your gut is one of the gatekeepers to your body and also a regulator of the immune system. Optimal gut health can help improve your immune system.
Even natural steroids can weaken your immunity.
When you get sick, your doctor may prescribe steroids. They can help to reduce inflammation and help the body heal. This may sound counterintuitive, because steroids are also known to weaken the immune system, especially with prolonged use. The same can be said about the steroids your body makes naturally. Cortisol is a natural hormone in the body that is produced when an individual is under stress. Cortisol, like pharmaceutical steroids, can weaken the immune system and reduce your ability to fight infection. You can extend this idea and correlate stress with a reduced immune system as well.
Symptoms can actually be caused by your immune system.
When you feel bad, it’s easy to assume that the fever or stuffy nose is caused by whatever bug you picked up, but that may not be the case. In fact, your body may be causing your symptoms in order to rid itself of the infection. The immune system can’t simply walk up to an infection, pick it up, and eject it from the body. It has to use other means to kill of the infection and remove it. These means are the common symptoms you often experience.
The immune system evolved over 500 million years ago.
While we may assume that our immune system is unique to mammals, the basis of it is actually millions of years old. There are two parts to an immune system: the adaptive system and the innate system. Vertebrates, such as humans, have both components. Invertebrates were thought to not have an immune system until the late 1800s. A scientist was studying starfish and discovered they have an innate immune system that helps to protect them and probably goes back as far as the species’ existence.
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