Our immune system is our body's barrier against all things that can make us feel unwell, weak, or just not in the mood for the rest of the day. Without it, our body would become a host to invaders, and we wouldn't know about it until it's too late. More so now that this year hasn't exactly been panning out the way a lot of people thought it would.
Because of what's been going on this year, everyone knows that strong immunity is key. They know what to eat, how much they should exercise, and how many hours of sleep they need. So, we're not here to talk about what everyone already knows. Instead, we're going to keep it light and add 8 facts about our immune system.
1. There are people who don't have an immune system
Though rare (as in 1 in every 100,000 births rare), some people are born into this world without the ability to fight even the weakest of immune complications. This condition is referred to as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), or "bubble boy disease." Science has since solved this through bone marrow transplants and gene therapy.
2. Humans have been learning about immunity for at least two thousand years
We collectively have a poor understanding of just how complex or smart our ancestors were, and this is evidenced by how as early as 430 BC, there were people in Greece who realized people who survived smallpox didn't get them again despite being in close proximity to those with the said disease. So, they then asked the survivors to be the ones to tend those who were suffering from it.
3. Feeling unwell can sometimes mean your immune system is working
Nobody likes to wake up with a clogged nose, a headache, and a sore throat, but it could mean that your immune system is currently trying to fight an immune complication.
The fact that you feel down and not in the mood to get up from bed means your immune system is working, and the best way to help them is by taking a break from work or whatever it is that would demand a lot of physical energy.
4. Having poor sleep can really weaken your immunity
Sleep is the only time when the body is allowed to 100% focus on the restoration, repair, and recovery of organs, tissues, and cells. So, having bad sleeping habits or just poor sleeping hours overall can severely impair your body's maintenance period.
Imagine taking your car to the mechanic, and they say it will take 8 hours to fix it, but you walk in just after 6 hours and drive it out. The next time it breaks, it will require more repairs, but you come to get it earlier than planned and drive away. Rinse and repeat, until ultimately, your car becomes irreparable without heavy equipment or investments. This is exactly what's happening to your immune system when you are sleep deprived daily.
5. Your gut health determines how strong your immune system is
Our gut is the last thing you'll think about when you hear the words "immunity" or "immune system," but it's actually the contrary. Our gut is home to more than ⅔ of our body's source of immunity, and it's all thanks to gut bacteria.
Our gut bacteria essentially helps the body learn how to fight immune complications as well as serves as a steady supply of nutrients and other compounds.
6. Vitamin D is necessary for your immune system to fight off invaders
Yes, we are talking about the same Vitamin D the body produces when exposed to sunlight. As it turns out, our T-cells (one of the body's strongest disease fighters) require a good amount of Vitamin D to mobilize. If your immune system needs help from T-cells and you don't have enough Vitamin D, the body will have a problem activating them.
7. White blood cells are actually just 1% of your entire cell population
Our immune system, the body's only line of defense against disease, works hard every day to make sure we're either always feeling good or be back on our feet as soon as possible when we feel under the weather. You'd assume that our white blood cells (our soldier cells), dominate the cell count in our blood, right?
Actually, no. In fact, our blood is only made up of 1% white blood cells. It may not seem much, but it's actually better this way because too much white blood cell presence can mean you have a condition where the body is overproducing white blood cells - and too much of anything is bad.
8. Your appendix can actually help your immunity
The appendix gets a lot of flak for being "useless" and actually dangerous, but this organ could help keep our gut healthy.
Remember when we said the gut is the key to a strong immune system? Our appendix acts as an emergency source of "good bacteria" should an immune challenge eliminate the "good bacteria" present in our gut. When the body needs it, the appendix (specifically what's inside it) can lead to a speedy gut recovery.
We hope you learned something new about immune health today.
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