Coronaviruses-2019 has rapidly spread to so many countries around the world since the first outbreak in Wuhan, China in December, 2019. People are scared, panic and don’t have much knowledge about this powerful disease; don’t know what to do to live our daily life in a world with Coronavirus threat. There is no vaccine, no specific medicine available to treat or to prevent the COVID-19. What can we do?
In western countries, people are not encouraged to wear masks unless you have some symptoms. The recommended protection approaches are:
- wash hands often and wash hands for 20-30 seconds;
- covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue;
- avoiding touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
- avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe to clean and disinfecting surfaces that you frequently touch;
- keep social distance; or work at home if have some symptoms……
But all of these are not enough! The Coronavirus is everywhere! We don’t know where they are, don’t know when the virus will pass by you or come to you. There are so many uncertainties about the powerful virus! What else we can do to live our daily lives with the threat of the Coronavirus?
Based on some clinic studies, COVID-19 may be transmitted from person to person, person to community community to community through respiratory droplets when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes, you breathe it in. It might be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes.
COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath. In rare cases, COVID-19 can lead to severe respiratory problems (pneumonia), kidney failure or death.
There is a test for COVID-19. But there is no specific medicine and vaccine to prevent or treatment COVID-19.
The Alternative and the Best Prevention Is to Improve Your Immune System! Coronavirus will not disappear over night. We will live with it for a long period of time. So build a defense system! Build a castle with many strong warriors who can fight for you and fight for you for a long period of time! Your Defense System Is Your Immune System!
In this blog, we are going to learn the following topics:
- What Is Immune System
- The Warriors or Team Players in the Immune System
- How Immune System Works
- How to Improve Immune System with FX Nutrition Intervention
Stay with me and let’s find out
What Is Immune System
Immune system is a host defense system that comprises many biological structures and processes within an organism that protect against diseases and viruses.
The immune system has three primary jobs:
- identify a foreign invader
- communicate among the network of cells, tissues and organs to determine the appropriate defense mechanism for fighting against foreign invaders
- launch an attack on foreign invaders.
The immune system doesn’t live in one particular place. The immune system is systematically throughout the entire body.
The Immune System Has Three Layers:
The Skin – The Physical Barriors
Your skin (inside and outside includes the epithelium in the digestive system, respiratory system and urogenital tract as well as the skin on your arm and foot and so forth)
The Innate Immune System
The Adaptive Immune System
The immune system is not one organ or a system of organs, but instead, an army of cells. The army of cells in the immune system patrol every part of the body, defending against cellular damage, and communicate important information, not just amongst themselves, but also to other systems like the nervous and endocrine systems to maintain homeostasis, and get ready to attack the invaders.
That army of cells is always looking for a cell that is misbehaving, the misbehaving cell might be:
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and organs that contain lymph through which lymph drains from tissues into blood.
The lymphatic system is like your body’s passive drainage system. At the lymphatic system, the immune cells are born, hang out, or transported for development.
The blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to the cells, the lymph removes the waste, debris, and disease components such as viruses and bacteria and toxic matter.
The immune system includes primary lymphoid organs, secondary lymphatic tissues and various cells in the innate and adaptive immune systems.
The immune organs play a primary role in the immune system. They are many members in the the house.
Bone marrow is the flexible tissue found in the interior of bones. It’s the primary place for the production of our blood cells, originating from stem cells.
Bone marrow produces approximately 500 billion blood cells per day. The immune system is largely comprised of the white blood cells made in the bone marrow and then sent out to the bloodstream.
The thymus gland is located just behind the breast bone. The white blood cells known as the T lymphocytes or your Th1 cells go to the thymus to mature once they’ve grown to a certain stage in the bone marrow. B-lymphocytes go out to the blood and lymph nodes. The B cells are your Th2 cells.
The tonsils are a pair of soft tissue masses located at the rear of the throat. They are a part of the lymphatic system which helps to fight infections.
The spleen is a filter. It filters organisms out of the blood in the immune system, located under the ribcage on the left,
Peyer’s patches are small masses of lymphatic tissue found throughout the ileum region of the small intestine. They are known as aggregated lymphoid nodules. They play an important role in the immune system by monitoring intestinal bacteria populations and preventing the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the intestines.
The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) is also called mucosa-associated lymphatic tissue. It is a diffuse system of small concentrations of lymphoid tissue found in various sub-mucosal membrane sites of the body, such as the gastrointestinal tract, nasopharynx, thyroid, breast, lung, salivary glands, eye, and skin.
The BALT is bronchial associated lymphoid tissue
NALT is nasal associated lymphoid tissue, located in upper respiratory regions
The appendix is a small, pouch-like sac of tissue that is located in the first part of the colon (cecum) in the lower- right abdomen. Lymphatic tissue in the appendix aids in immune function.
Lymphatic vessels or lymph vessels are thin tubes that carry lymph lymphatic fluid and white blood cells through the lymphatic system.
Lymph nodes are a small bean-shaped structure that are part of the body’s immune system. Lymph nodes filter substances that travel through the lymphatic fluid, and they contain lymphocytes (the white blood cells) that help the body fight infection and disease. There are hundreds of lymph nodes in the body. They are connected to one another by lymph vessels.
Lymphocytes (White Blood Cells)
The immune system is a complex network of cells known as immune cells that include inside lymphocytes. These cells work together to defend the body against foreign substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells that can threaten its functioning.
Lymphocytes are white blood cells that are one of the body’s main types of immune cells. They are made in the bone marrow and found in the blood and lymph tissue. Lymphocytes identify foreign invaders (bacteria or viruses) in the body and produce antibodies and cells that specifically target them. It takes from several days to weeks for lymphocytes to recognize and attack a new foreign substance.
Lymphocytes are made in lymphoid tissue in the spleen, lymph nodes and thymus gland. Lymphocytes start out in the bone marrow and either stay there and mature into B cells, or go to the thymus gland to mature into T cells.
Types of Lymphocytes
B lymphocytes is also known as B Cells. B cell is a type of white blood cell of the lymphocyte subtype. They function in the humoral immunity component of the adaptive immune system by secreting antibodies. Additionally, B cells present antigens, they are also classified as professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and secrete cytokines.
Make antibodies, which are proteins produced by the immune system to fight foreign substances known as antigens. Each B cell is set to make one specific antibody. Each antibody matches an antigen in the same way that a key matches a lock, and when this happens, the antigen is marked for destruction.
T cell is a type of lymphocyte, which develops in the thymus gland and plays a central role in the immune response.
The job of T cells is to help the body kill cancer cells and control the immune response to foreign substances. They do this by destroying cells in the body that have been taken over by viruses or become cancerous.
T cells derived from bone marrow, and develop into several distinct types of T cells once they have migrated to the thymus gland. T cell differentiation continues even after they have left the thymus.
Phagocytes are cells that protect the body by ingesting harmful foreign particles, bacteria, and dead or dying cells. Phagocytes are essential for fighting infections and are highly developed within vertebrates.
Types of Phagocytes
Microphage plays a big role in innate immune system. Macro means large, and Phage comes from the Greek word meaning “to eat.”
Microphage is a type of white blood cell that surrounds and kills micro organisms, remove dead cells and stimulates the action of other immune system cells.
Neutrophils are also major players in the body’s defense against bacterial infections. It is the most proliferative type of white blood cell in your CBC at about 40-60% of the total WBC.
Neutrophils are made in the bone marrow and circulate in the bloodstream. Neutrophils move out of the blood vessels into the infected tissue to attack the bacteria. Normally a serious bacterial infection causes the body to produce an increased number of neutrophils, resulting in a higher than normal white blood cell count (WBC).
Natural Killer Cells
Natural killer cells are known as NK cells. They are differentiated and matured in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, and thymus. NK cells provide rapid responses to virus-infected cells, they are large granular and cytotoxic lymphocytes and critical to the innate immune system. They are specialized in killing cancer cells and virus-infected cells.
Basophils are small cells that send sound alarm when infectious agents invade the blood. They secrete chemicals such as histamine, a marker of allergic disease, that help control the body’s immune response.
Eosinophils are the small cells that attack and kill parasites and cancer cells, and help with allergic responses.
Cytokines are chemical compounds of proteins, peptides, and glycoproteins. They are a class of signaling molecules for the cellular communication and regulate the immune system. They exist in both the innate and adaptive immune system. Cytokines are inflammatory mediators (either pro or anti-inflammatory) that are released from the cytoplasm of the white blood cells. They are the chemical messengers that call cells into action.
When inflammation occurs, those phagocytic cells (macrophage, neutrophils and natural killer cells) engulf and destroy bacteria and virus and release special proteins called cytokines to finish the job. And cytokines activate an immune response to infection and inflammation.
When the inflammation comes into severe stage, the Cytokines Storm happens. The Cytokines Storm like fireworks! The chemicals are releasing from the cells, initiating a series of communications, but also causing a lot of ruckus.
Think about the Coronavirus 2019 for a minute:
Before the Coronavirus enters the body
There is a The incubation period is 1 to 14 days or 28 days, mostly 3 to 7 days with an average of 6.4 days.
Main symptoms are fever, fatigue, and dry cough. May be accompanied by runny nose, sore throat, chest tightness, vomiting and diarrhea. Some patients have mild symptoms, and a few patients have no symptoms or pneumonia.
The elderly and those suffering from basic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary atherosclerotic heart disease, and extreme obesity tend to develop severe illness after infection.
After the Coronavirus enter the body
Some patients develop symptoms such as dyspnea within 1 week after the onset of the disease. In severe cases, they can progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiple organ dysfunction. The time to progression to severe illness was approximately 8.5 days.
In the early stage of the disease
- the total number of white blood cells in the peripheral blood was normal or decreased
- the lymphocyte count was reduced.
- some patients may have abnormal liver function
- the levels of lactate dehydrogenase, muscle enzyme, and myoglobin may increase;
- troponin levels may be increased
- Most patients had elevated CRP and ESR levels and normal procalcitonin levels
In severe stage of the disease
- D-dimer levels are elevated
- other coagulation indicators are abnormal
- lactic acid levels are elevated
- peripheral blood lymphocytes and CD4 + T lymphocytes are progressively reduced
- electrolyte disorders
- acid-base imbalances are caused by metabolic alkalosis
- Elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-6, IL-8, etc.) may occur during the disease progression stage
Coronavirus is quietly or rapidly destroying our cells, tissues and organs by attacking our immune system, the only defense system that can protect and fight for us! We definitely need to do something to protect our immune system!
Learn how to boost Immune System in my next blog:
“How To Boost Immune Stysem with Functional Nutrition Part I”