Stressor Spotlight – Immune System
The immune system is incredibly dynamic, constantly protecting us from harmful influences in the environment in a number of ways. But the immune system doesn’t stop with protection, as it also fights illnesses to restore the body to a balanced state. Looking at the various parts of the immune system and how they communicate and coordinate, it’s easy to see why this is the most complex system in the human body.
Immune system structure
Structures that participate in the immune response are found throughout the body, from the head down to the lymphatic vessels in the groin area. Key organs and structures in this system include:
- Lymph nodes
- Lymphatic vessels
- Bone marrow
Additionally, while often dismissed as a useless organ, recent research has shown that the appendix also participates in the immune response, mainly serving a similar function as Peyer’s patches.1
Immune system function
The immune system has two main parts that carry out different functions. The innate, or non-specific, immune system works to fend off viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens before they cause illness. The other part, the adaptive, or specific, immune system, targets “very specific pathogens that the body has already had contact with.”2
The innate immune system consists of physical barriers, chemical barriers, and cellular defenses. The skin and mucous membranes are physical barriers that make up the first line of defense against pathogens. Chemical defenses consist mainly of proteins that inhibit the growth of invading bacteria and help eradicate invading microorganisms, as well as interferons, which prevent many viruses from replicating in the body. Cellular defenses include many different types of white blood cells, which originate in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus gland. Together, these cells work to attack and destroy infectious agents as well as the body’s own cells that have been infected.3
The adaptive immune system, on the other hand, consists of specific antigens built to mount a more strategic immune response. Because it takes time for this system to “learn” about a threat and respond accordingly, it is slower to respond to environmental threats than the innate immune system. And while the innate immune system relies on several types of white blood cells, the adaptive system employs only B and T cells, which come from specific types of stem cells in the bone marrow. Unlike the cells in the innate immune system, these specialized cells have the ability to identify specific pathogens.4
Lifestyle and your immune system
Whether you are fighting off a sickness or want to decrease your chances of getting sick in the first place, there are a number of ways to give your immune system a boost. First and foremost, lifestyle is a key factor. The following lifestyle practices can help you maintain a healthy immune system and reduce your recovery time when you get sick.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
- Drink plenty of pure water
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed/refined foods and sugar
- Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages
- Manage stress
- Be optimistic5
Along with these practices, getting enough exercise is also important for maintaining your immunity. However, you should avoid strenuous exercise when you are sick.
Supplements for immunity
Along with living a healthy lifestyle, supplements and essential oils can help keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Supplements commonly used to give the immune system a boost include ginger, elderberry, and echinacea. And although known for helping with other issues such as digestion, probiotics are also good for your immune system because they “help you digest nutrients that boost detoxification of your colon.”6
Furthermore, certain vitamins can also be used to effectively support the immune system. Registered dietician Julia Zumpano recommends consuming vitamins C, B6, and E on a daily basis, whether from food sources or from supplements.7
Essential oils for immunity
A number of different essential oils can be effective in supporting the immune system as well, including:
Because of its ability to reduce stress while stimulating the immune system, aromatherapy can be another effective way to assist your immune system. Combining essential oils with lymphatic massage, aromatherapy helps the body detox more efficiently.8
The immune system stressor Virtual Item
The immune system category is available to scan in the ZYTO Balance, Select, and Elite software. This category includes a number of stressor Virtual Items, including the key organs and structures mentioned previously in the immune system structure section.
In the Balance and Lifestyle biosurveys, the immune system is scanned as a category, and the individual items within that category are also scanned. In these biosurveys, the immune system is scanned along with the detoxification, gastrointestinal, and hormonal/endocrine systems. These systems make up the 4 core systems that are critical to maintaining overall health.9
Key emotions related to immune system include grief, guilt, anger, and shame. Virtual Items representing these stressors are also found in the immune system category.
Immune system balancer Virtual Items
There are a number of supplements and other nutritional products made specifically for the immune system that are available in the ZYTO software. The Select and Elite software can be particularly helpful because you can scan for immune system products across multiple product lines and also add general balancers. These and other balancer Virtual Items (including wellness services such as aromatherapy) can be scanned for to determine which ones will bring the out-of-range stressors back into range, whether they are immune system-related items or other items that you scanned for.
Additionally, the EVOX can help you work through emotions related to your immune system that may be a factor. By reframing your perceptions about grief, guilt, anger, and shame, you can obtain a healthier outlook on life, which can assist you in your overall wellness.
1. Martin, Loren G. “What is the function of the human appendix? Did it once have a purpose that has since been lost?” Scientific American. Scientificamerican.com.
2. “How does the immune system work?” PubMed Health. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
3. Humphrey, John H. and Samuel Scott Perdue. “Immune System.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Brittanica.com.
4. “Adaptive Immunity.” Khan Academy. Khanacademy.org.
5. Hearn, Nancy. “8 Ways to Boost Immunity. Drinking Enough Water Is Critical.” Water Benefits Health. Waterbenefitshealth.com.
6. “How to Boost Your Immune System – Top 10 Boosters.” Dr. Axe. Draxe.com.
7. “3 Vitamins That Are Best for Boosting Your Immunity.” Cleveland Clinic. Health.clevelandclinic.org.
8. “How to Treat a Weak Immune System with Aromatherapy.” howstuffworks. Health.howstuffworks.com.
9. “Core System of Function.” CoreOne. Coreonehealth.com.