The main purpose of the immune system is to protect your body from bacteria and viruses, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. If you’re healthy, you probably don’t realize how important it is. However, when you fall ill and there’s something wrong with your immune system, you’ll notice it. Think of it as your body’s personal defense mechanism. It protects your body from potential illness and infection. Without a healthy immune system, you could end up in the hospital.
There are several ways to keep your immune system healthy during cold and flu seasons. Reduce your alcohol intake and exercise regularly. Try to reduce stress in your life. If you’re busy all the time, taking the time to slow down and giving yourself breaks can greatly improve your health.
Not only should you give your immune system a boost, but you should also give your endocannabinoid system a boost. When these two systems work well together, your body will maintain proper homeostasis. Researchers are still trying to find ways that people can have a healthy ECS system. Living a healthy lifestyle and taking phytocannabinoids are just two of the ways you can do so.
Overview of the Immune System
The way that the immune system works is that it recognizes the difference between alien cells and your body’s cells. It destroys anything that could harm you. The immune system works well in healthy individuals but can fail if it doesn’t recognize one of your naturals cells.
The immune system is comprised of four major components. The first is your skin since it prevents bacteria and germs from entering your immune system. For example, your saliva and tears protect you from outside elements.
Mucus is found in your nasal passages and lungs. It prevents germs from entering your bloodstream. According to a study published in the Journal of Translational Immunology, you should listen to your gut since it makes up 80% of your immune system cells. Most of the bacteria and viruses occur in the gut, so it’s important to keep yours in optimal condition by feeding it friendly bacteria.
And lastly, the lymph system is made up of bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus. It feeds food, oxygen, and water to your cells and is responsible for removing waste.
The lymph system also has different roles. Your bone marrow fights white blood cells and makes anti-bodies that combat bacteria and viruses. According to the University of Wisconsin, the three common types of white blood cells (leukocytes) are:
- Lymphocytes (B-cells and T-cells)
Your spleen removes damaged cells and determines how much blood is present in your body. The thymus gland is located behind the breastbone and in the front of your chest where its T-cells fight bacteria. It’s the most important part of a child’s immune system. The lymph nodes notice if there’s any bacteria or infection present in the body and flushes it out. This can lead to infection and swelling if left undetected.
The Endocannabinoid System and Immune Health
If you haven’t heard of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) before that’s because most people haven’t. According to Thorne Magazine, it wasn’t until the 90’s when researchers worked on animal models discovered a receptor for ECS compounds that exists in the brain. Keep in mind that the ECS is not an isolated system like the cardiovascular system or the nervous system.
The ECS is a group of receptors that are called endocannabinoids, according to PubMed. The two major receptors are commonly referred to as CB1 and CB2, although there have been others that have been discovered. The ECS is known as the adaptogenic system or homeostatic regulatory system, which is responsible for a wide variety of functions in equilibrium. The endocannabinoids work together on many of the challenges that we face on a daily basis.
The cannabinoid receptors can be found in the bone marrow, spleen, thymus gland, and tonsils. It’s also contained in the B- and T-lymphocytes, macrophages, mast cells, natural killer cells, and neutrophils. The endocannabinoid system works hard to keep your immune system in optimal condition. It maintains a healthy and balanced inflammatory response throughout the entire body.
While the role that the ECS plays on the immune system is still unknown, the ECS regulates cytokine production and prevents overactivity in the immune system. Inflammation is a natural part of the immune system’s response to illness, and it has an important role in how the body protects itself during infection. By keeping both your ECS and immune system healthy, you can maintain that naturally balanced inflammatory response throughout your body.