Has anyone else noticed that this year’s cold and flu season is lasting FOREVER!? People have been constantly sick, doing all that they can to feel better only to get sick again. With germs on the loose and superbugs on the rise, it is becoming increasingly important to build a strong immune system.
What IS my immune system?
Simply put, your immune system is a group of organs, tissues, and cells in your body that are constantly working to fight off disease. It starts off very BIG – your skin is a part of your immune system, as it serves as an outer layer. Things like your skin, mucous membranes, and your nose hairs form a protective barrier on the outside, preventing unwanted cells from entering your body. But, luckily, your skin isn’t your only line of defence. In case foreign invaders manage to break in, you have white blood cells that are ready to hunt and destroy unwanted organisms.
There are different ways to categorize white blood cells, depending on whether you’re looking at their structure, their cell division lineage, or their function. Regardless of how you name or categorize them, every type of white blood cell has a different specialty. Some of my favourites include phagocytes, whose job is to eat foreign particles (think PAC-MAN!), and natural killer cells, who keep cancerous cells at bay. Then there are T cells, part of your cell-mediated immunity, and B cells, the major component of your humoral immunity. Once your B cells or T cells are activated, they store a memory of each specific pathogen they encounter. This memory lasts a lifetime, and aids in a more efficient immune response should they ever encounter it again.
It takes nerve to fight infection!
Now that you know what your immune system IS, let’s talk about how we can amp it up! You have nerve fibres innervating every organ in your body, including those involved in your immune system. Additionally, according to Hosoi et al, “SEVERAL observations suggest interactions between the immune and nervous systems”. Your nervous system helps to regulate your immune system. Chiropractic adjustments work to take stress off of your spine and nervous system. Studies demonstrate that chiropractic adjustments can aid in the action of your immune system.
Brennan et al found a significant increase in polymorphonuclear neutrophils in blood collected 15 minutes after a mid spine adjustment compared to15 minutes before. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils are those PAC-MAN cells we talked about earlier, meaning that adjusting the mid spine helped spike activity of immune system cells.
A study completed by Selano et al to see how upper cervical chiropractic adjustments affect CD4 cell counts in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) had promising results. HIV infects CD4 cells (which are a kind of T cells), and ultimately kills off a person’s cell-mediated immune system. The study found that those who were getting adjusted over a six month period had an increase in CD4 cells by 48%! During the same six months, those in the control group experienced a 7.96% decrease in CD4 cells.
Maintaining a healthy immune system DEPENDS UPON maintaining a healthy nervous system. Are you ready to accept the challenge and the opportunity?
When you take the stress off of your spine and nervous system, your body can function at an optimal level. This means increasing immune system function, too!
My NEXT BLOG is going to be all about OTHER WAYS you can increase your immune system function! Don’t miss it!
Did you learn anything today? Let me know in the comments below!
Cheers to health!