Covid 19 is still raging more than ever with 700,000 cases worldwide as at time of writing. The single most important way to fight this scourge is to build up your immune system. We will explore how the virus attacks cells immune system that produce antibodies. We will discover the ways a virus attacks the cells blinding the immunity system. Discovery on how to strengthen and boost your system will also be explored.
What are the immune responses to viruses
Via cytotoxic cells
When a virus infects it typically invades the cells of its host (person) to replicate and survive. Once inside the cells within the immune system are blind to the virus and are oblivious that the host cell is infected. For this situation to be rectified cells employ a system that pemits them to show other cells what is in them. The molecules they use called class I major histocompatibility complex protiens (MHC class I) which show protein pieces from within the cell on the cell surface. The cell is infected by a virus these pieces (peptides) include tiny fragments of proteins produced by that virus.
The immune system deploys a special cell called a T cell to hunt for infections. A special one of these cytotoxic T cells is so called as it kills cells laden with viruses with toxic mediators. Specialised protiens on the surface of cytotoxic T cells help in recognizing virally infected cells. These are known as T cell receptors (TCR’s). Each cytotoxic T cell has a TCR that recognizes and targets a specific antigenic peptide attached to an MHC molecule. If a T cell receptor hunts down a peptide from a virus it alerts its T cell of an infedtion. The T cell releases cytotoxic factors killing the infected cell and stops dead the survival of the invading virus.
Viruses are not only virulently adaptable but have developed ways not to be detected by T cells. Some may stop MHC molecules to reaching the cell surface to show viral peptides. When this happens the T cell is unaware that a virus resides inside an infected cell.
For this there is another immune cell which specialises in killing cells that have fewer numbers of MHC class I molecules. This is a natural killer or NK cell. When it finds these MHC molecules it too like cytotoxix cells releases toxic substances that kill a virally infected cell.
Armed with mediators for effectiveness cytotoxic cells store factors inside compartments called granules in both NK and cytotoxic cells which are released when the come into contact with an infected cell. One of these mediators is called perforin, a protein capable of making holes in cell membranes allowing other factors in to kill a target cell.Granzymes which are enzymes are also stored and released from the granules and enter through the holes made by perforin.
A process known as programmed cell death or apoptosis is initiated once they are inside the targeted cell to kill it. Granulysin another cytotoxin factor which is also released and attacks the outer membrane of a viral cell killing it by lysis (rupturing a cell membrane wall). Cytotoxix cells are also capable of newly synthesising and releasing other proteins known as cytokines when in contact with infected cells. Cytokines are capable of tranferring a signal as they include interferon-g and tumour necrosis factor-a from the T cell to infected and neighbbouring cells enhancing the killing mechanisims.
Antibodies can also remove viruses before they even have the chance to infect a cell. They are protiens that are specific in identifying viruses and other pathogens then bind (adhere) to them which serves in the killing of the virus.
- By neautralising the virus making it incapable of infecting the host cell.
- Many antibodies work together herding the virus particles together known as agglutination. This process makes it easier to target for immune cells to work on than individual virus particles.
- Antibodies also use the activation of phagocytes as another mechanism in eradicating virus cells. The antibodies bind to receptors known as Fc receptors on the surface of phagocytic cells triggering what is known as phagocytosis by which cells engulf and eradicate the virus.
- Activating the complement system by antibodies which makes foreign cells more suceptible to phagocytosis.
Complement is aloso able to damage the phpspholipib bilayer (envelope) that may be present on some types of virus.
When cells are infected virally the produce and release small proteins known as interferons. Interferons stop replication of virus cells by interferring with their ability to replicate and multiply within an infected cell. They also act as signaling molecules allowing infected cells to warn neighbouring cells of the presance of viral cells. This signal triggers nearby cells to increase numbers of MHC class I molecules on their surfaces to enable T cells on scouting missions to identify and exterminate the virally infected cells.
How can you improve your immune system
Overall your immine system does a stellar job in the defense of guarding you against disease microorganisms. It is also true that sometimes it does not and germs invade making you very ill. Which begs the question is it possible to intervene by strengthening your immune system? Make lifestyle changes to vastly improve and strengthen your immune system? Possibly improve your diet? Take specific vitamins or other herbal preperations?
Is there a way to increase your immunity in a healthy way
There are as many claims to boost or support the immune system as there are books and products on store shelves advocating them. The concept of boosting immunity is tenuuous because it is arguable that it makes much sense scientifically. I has been proven as fact that boosting the number of cells both immune or others is not necessarily a good thing to do. An example is ‘blood doping’ which is when athletes pump blood into their systems increasing blood cell numbers to enhance performance only run the risk of strokes.
There are so many differing cells in the immune system that respond in so many different ways to different microorganisims. It is therefore especially difficult to know which require boosting. So far scientists have no answer. What is known is there is a continuous generating of immune cells in the body. There is an overproduction of lympphocytes certainly more than the body needs. Some extra cells remove themselves through the process of apoptosis, some before they contribute or see any action in the fight against microbes and others after they have fought the battle to win. No one yet knows what the best combination of cells are to function at optimum capacity or levels.
Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many differing kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in so many ways. Which cells should you boost, and to what number? So far, scientists do not know the answer. What is known is that the body is continually generating immune cells. Certainly it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use. The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death called apoptosis — some before they see any action, some after the battle is won. No one knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level.
Healthy ways to strengthen your immune system wisely
Choose to live a healthy lifestyle as that includes general health guidelines that is the wisest decision you can make. This naturally keeps your immune system healthy and strong keeping you and your body fortiified against environmental threats. Thses are the healty living strategies you can adopt.
- (a) Eat a diet with a higher number of items in fruit and vegetables.
- (b) Exercise regularly daily preferably.
- (c) Mantain a healthy weight
- (d) Do Not Smoke.
- (e) If you do drink alcohol do so in moderation.
- (f) Try and avoid infection by cooking meats thoughroughly and washing your hands frequently.
- (g) Get sufficient sleep.
- (h) Keep rehydrated drink plenty of water.
- (i) Try mental exercises to reduce stress
When does it become essential to maintain immune systems better
As life expectancy has increased and recently has inexplicably started to fall the incidence of age related conditions are more prominant as demographics a more aged society. Our immune capabalities are reduced too when we age resulting in more cancer and infections.
The conclusions of many studies show that although some people age healthily the elderely are more prone to get infectuous diseases. These studies also unfortunately show that not only do the elderly catch more diseeases in comparison with younger people but also more likely to die from them. For people over the age of 65 influenza, respritory infections particularly pneumonia are the prominent cause of death.
Although no one really knows why this happens sceienists assert that it correlates with reducing T cells possibly from an atrophying thymus which makes it harder to fight off infections. Whether bthis reduction in thymus function is attributable to the lesser numbers produced of T cells or it is other changes that play the major role in this interplay is yet to be fully understood. Others are also concentrating on the role bone marroe plays as it becomes less efficient in the production of stem cells that are required by the immune system to produce its differing cells.
Older people have a reduced immine response to infections as they demonstrate in their response to vccines. Studies show that influenza vaccines in older people 65+ years are significantly less in efficacy than they are with healthy children of 2+ years. Despite the outcomes, vaccinations for S. pneumoniae and influenza are also signigicantly reduced in rates of sickness and deaths in older people compared with no vaccination.
Apparently there is a connection between immunity in the elderly and nutrition. A form of malnutrition which is found also in the most affluent countries is known as ‘micronutrient malnutrition’. This is a deficency linked to not sufficient essential vitamins and trace elements dependent and found in diets. This may be as a result of older people eating less or are not having the right variety in their diets. Which brings us to the role of supplements in older people maintaing a healthier immune system. It is wise to seek advice from doctors specialising in geriatric diets as even minute changes can have grave repurcussions within this age demographic.
How do we supplement our diet to improve our immune sytems
Scientists have always recognised that people who are malnorished through poverty are more prone to infectous diseases. The immune system which is a fighting force marches on its stomach. Immune system warriors require a regular healthey diet of nourishment to keep strong. There are doubts whether malnuitrition effects are the cause of increased rates of disease.which is not certain. Relatively there are few studies regarding the effects of nutrition on human immune systems. Withy even fewer studies tying in the effects of nutrition to the direct development in comparison to the treatment of immune system diseases.
There exists some evidence that micronutrient defeciencies of selenium, zinc, iron, copper,Vitamins B6, A & C, Folic acid as examples change immune system responses as tested and measured in the lab on animals. The impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals remains less clear. The effects of these deficencies are yet to be assesed in the human immune response
Therefore what steps do you need to take if you suspect your diet is not providing your full micronutrient need? Perhaps you may not like vegetables supplementing daily with mutivitamen and mineral supplement may bring other health benefits that surpass any beneficial effects to your immune system. More does not mean beytter and taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not address the range required to have a beneficial effect.
Knowledge through being better informed is crucial in the world we live in. A pandemic that is raging across teh world and infecting it’s inhabitants is a scourge that requires fortified immune systems as you have been comprehensively offered above. From what and immune system comprises,and how it deals with an invading disease when a virus attacks cells immune system that produce antibodies. How we require to keep our immune systems strong through lefestyle and diets while recognising it is essential for the elder generation to do so. The need know how to supplement their diets and naintain immune systems are optimised to the best of their capabilities.is critical. Thank you for reading this article and as always you can make contact through gthe details above. Also you may wish to leave a comment in the comments box below it will be much appreciated. Keep safe, take care and all the very best to you all until thje next time.