What are the myths about the immune system can seriously harm your health

The edition of ‘Lifehacker‘ told me about existing misconceptions about the protective system of our body can seriously harm your health.

Какие мифы об иммунитете могут всерьез навредить здоровью

Photo: Depositphotos

Myth # 1. Vaccination will not help

The introduction of vaccines in the human body conducted in order to ensure its protection from dangerous pathogens. Do vaccinated healthy person to pre-arm the body’s means of fighting infection.

Once in the body gets the components of the vaccine triggered the same mechanism which operates in the event of infection. Immune cells — B-lymphocytes — triggers the production of antibodies, molecules of immune system, which serve as markers of alien and help to rid the body of pathogens.

After inoculation and the synthesis of the necessary antibodies, the body is “winning time”: it B-lymphocytes “remember” which antibodies you need to make when meeting with a particular pathogen. These antibodies will successfully allow components of the immune system detect the threat and remove it from the body before they develop disease.

Licensed vaccines are thoroughly tested, and after the market becomes a permanent facility re-inspections and reviews.

According to the who (world health organization), every year, immunization prevents two to three million deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and measles, a dangerous virus of smallpox and even managed to win with the help of vaccinations.

Myth # 2. Children need to be kept sterile, because they have no immunity

In fact, in newborns the immune system is, but it develops gradually over several years according to the genetic program in the DNA. It is implemented as the child gets older.

While the fetus is in the womb, it protects the maternal immune system. Gradually formed lymphoid organs: bone marrow, thymus, accumulation of diffuse lymphoid tissue, lymph nodes, spleen. In addition, in the liver, spleen and bone marrow of the fetus are formed by immune cells — lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils.

In the first three months after the baby is born solely to protect maternal antibodies. The transfer of antibodies of the lgG type occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy. Maternal antibodies decay over time, and by 3-6 months, many of them cease to function.

The baby’s skin is sensitive even to minor damage, covered with the original grease vernix caseosa. It is a waxy compound secreted by the sebaceous glands. It contains antibacterial substances — lysozyme, defensins, psoriasin, antimicrobial fatty acids. They are anti-microbial shield that protects baby from a large variety of pathogens.

In addition, in the intestine of the newborn at birth are already present Peyer’s patches — clusters of T – and B-lymphocytes in the mucosa. In contact with germs, they provoke an immune response and further help to adequately respond to the alien in the digestive tract.

Of course, while the immune system has not matured fully, children are stronger than adults who are at risk of Contracting a particular infection. However, the desire to create a “sterile environment” for the child threatens the development of hypersensitivity reactions — allergies and autoimmune diseases.

There is a hypothesis about hygiene which suggests that the development of such States is triggered by lack of contact with infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms — representatives of normal microflora and parasites in early childhood. The lack of such contacts leads to a violation of the establishment of immune tolerance immunity to its own cells and molecules.

Evolutionary man always received a certain level of load on the immune system in the form of a number of pathogens. If the number of surrounding antigens decreases, the body begins to attack harmless particles and compounds. For example, pollen or food components can cause the development of an immune response.

It is believed that the immune system Matures to 12 to 14 years, when in a young body begins to produce the same antibodies as in the adult organism.

Myth # 3. Strengthen immunity yogurt and multivitamin supplements

There are many recommendations in advertising and the media, which convince to buy yoghurt with bacteria, multivitamins, miracle adjuvants and more. Unfortunately, perfect and simple recipe for the prevention of infectious diseases no.

Let’s start with the yogurt. In commercials we are told that the immune system depends on intestinal flora, and yogurt with beneficial bacteria improves the microflora, and the immune system.

Today, we know that in the human intestines are inhabited by thousands of species of bacteria that play a critical role in the normal functioning of the body. The long coevolution of bacteria and the human organism has led to the emergence of complex mechanisms of interaction of components of the immune system with representatives of the microbiome.

The gut flora not only AIDS digestion and produces vital B vitamins and vitamin K, which is not able to synthesize our body, but also prevent the penetration of pathogenic microbes by maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa and physically preventing them from attaching to the cells of the intestine.

This was confirmed by an American researcher Sherwood Gorbach, who studied strains of bacteria for more than 20 years — he has failed to find lingering in the gut bacteria in any of the milk cultures of America, Europe and Asia. If some of the strains survived at hydrochloric acid of the stomach, it still disappear after 1-2 days.

Although today, some probiotics have shown in experiments with promising results, but until scientists have enough convincing scientific data about their use.

In the US, the FDA food and drug administration has not approved any probiotic for the prevention or treatment of any disease, including those associated with the immune system.

Then come and help multivitamin supplements? Vitamins help the implementation of all important enzymatic reactions in the body. All the human body needs 13 vitamins for normal functioning: vitamin A, B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), vitamins C, D, E and K.

Vitamins a, C, D, E, and B6 were marked as the most important participants of the processes related to the immune system. When there is a lack disturbed activation of T and B lymphocytes, and to a greater extent produced proinflammatory signal molecules, which in some cases may complicate the pathological processes.

Some components of the additives, e.g., calcium and iron can’t be absorbed together. In particular, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are often issued in the form of tablets that contain no lipids are necessary for absorption.

Doctors, nutritionists, scientists and experts from authoritative organizations such as who and FDA (Food and Drug Administration), it is recommended to fully eat and get vitamins from food. In case of lack of vitamins, you need to consult with your physician and to revise the diet and the composition of the products.

According to dozens of scientific studies, daily excessive consumption of vitamins can lead to increased risk of developing various diseases.

Myth # 4. The brain is not immune

Какие мифы об иммунитете могут всерьез навредить здоровью

Photo: Depositphotos

The brain, as well as some other tissues and organs — cornea of the eye, the testes, the thyroid gland is called immunoprivileged body due to the fact that the main components of the immune system it is detached through the blood-brain barrier. This barrier including protects the tissue from contact with the blood, which contains cells and molecules of the immune system.

For example, in the brain have their own immune cells microglia is isolated macrophages of the brain, which protect the tissues of the body from infectious agents. During phagocytosis (“eating”) of pathogens, microglia generates signals that cause inflammation in certain parts of the brain.

Previously it was thought that the presence of the immune system in the brain is restricted to microglial cells. But in 2017, Dr. Daniel Reyh spent with my research group, a series of experiments using magnetic resonance imaging and has revealed lymphatic vessels in the meninges of monkeys and humans.

In addition to immune cells and lymphatic vessels, an important role in the normal functioning of the brain play and molecules of the immune system. Thus, the cytokine IFN-γ — signaling molecule that protects against viruses involved in the regulation of social behavior.

Scientists from Virginia and Massachusetts Universities have identified the relationship of cytokine with social deficit disorders and disruption of neuronal connections, which were also observed in animals with immunodeficiency. It was possible to eliminate with the introduction of interferon in the cerebrospinal fluid.

Myth # 5. If the immune system is very active, it is always a good thing

The immune system has the ability to destroy foreign objects, including infectious diseases, and to rid them from the body. But sometimes the immune system can take is harmless to the body’s cells for the potential pathogen. As a result of uncontrolled immune response can occur allergic reactions or hypersensitivity reactions.

According to the classification proposed by British immunologists Philip David and Robin Coombs in 1963, there are four types of such reactions. The first three types of hypersensitivity reactions is reactions of immediate type, since the immune response develops a few minutes after contact with the allergen. The fourth type of reactions is characterized by a longer development period — from several hours to several days.