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The Immune System: How does it work? Where is it? What can we do to make it BETTER?


Our immune system is an incredibly complex set of cells that interact to keep you healthy every single day. Our immune system is literally everywhere. It is your skin, lymph system, thymus, spleen, bone marrow and white blood cells. In reality, we know very little about this intricate system but we do know some and we are here today to break it down for you.  It is important to know how the immune system works, where it is located and what we can do to “boost” it. Instead of reviewing the “normal” things you think about when referring to the immune system, we will review what you don’t hear about. The two most common unknowns about your immune system are:  Most of the immune system is in your gut and regular chiropractic adjustments improve the function of your immune system.

Chiropractic adjustments, can they really help my immune system function better?  Absolutely!  Often time, when your spine is compressed, it puts pressure on the nerve ending that are supposed to be sending signals to the rest of your body. It cannot properly function with this pressure. Getting regular adjustments relieves that pressure; in addition each adjustments gives the immune system a little boost. Some studies have found increases in white blood cell count up to 2 hours after an adjustment! How’s that for a boost?

While there are many factors that we cannot control, taking care of ourselves is far from one of them. Taking the time to properly nurture yourself is pertinent to remaining healthy inside and out. Through proper nutrition, sleep and stress management you can help keep your gut in check which in turn keeps your immune system functioning smoothly. And every so often, get yourself an adjustment!

A quick overview: the skin is the largest organ and the first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. Your eyes (tears), nose (mucus), and mouth (saliva) are all traps for any incoming bacteria you encounter throughout the day. The lymph system, commonly known as being in your neck (doctors always feel for swollen lymph nodes in the neck). There are lymph nodes in many other places of your body and they all play key roles in filtering tissue and infected cells. When they swell it is with bad bacteria and good cells fighting the infection.  Things we don’t see as easily is the thymus, located between the breast bone and the heart. It produces t-cells and activated b-cells to produce antibodies. The spleen filters blood looking for foreign cells and replaces old red cells with new ones. Our body’s bone marrow is used to produce red and white blood cells from stem cells, although they can be precursors to many different types of cells.  And finally, though very complicated, are the white blood cells. Each responds to a specific type of antigen and binds to it in order to disable it. If the antigen is too large for the white blood cells to conquer, they signal the complement system. (see references for more information)

While in its early stages of development, research much of your immune system is located in your gut. There is more than 60% of the located within the gut! Over the past few years, scientists have discovered the body is an ecosystem made of more than 100 trillion microbes that need to be properly balanced. All of these viruses, bacteria and fungi supply us with important vitamins, help fight dangerous pathogens, keep the immune system in check and modulate weight and metabolism by keeping energy in check. That is A LOT of work. So what can you do to keep it balanced?  Keep reading!

In order to keep your system balanced, it’s important to give attention to what you eat, your sleep, stress and relationships, all of which contribute to your overall wellbeing. Food is a huge factor in how well your body regulates all those other things, as it can affect your mood. Aim to eat mostly whole foods, some protein, lots of veggies and some whole grains. (Don’t forget to splurge every now and again!) Sleep, sleep and sleep! And then sleep some more (http://experiencelife.com/article/sleep-deficit-the-hidden-debt-thats-hurting-us-all/ ). Getting your diet and sleep in check will surly make you less stressed, since you’ll be well fed and rested.


Sources:
http://www.familychiropracticofheathrow.com/chiropractic/19696-boost-your-immune-system-with-chiropractic
http://experiencelife.com/article/your-microbiome-the-ecosystem-inside/
http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/immune/immune-system.htm

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