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What immunity myths can seriously harm health

Edition 'Life hacker'said what existing misconceptions about the protective system of our body can seriously harm our health.

Myth number 1. Vaccinations will not help

Vaccination of the human body is carried out in order to provide it with protection against dangerous pathogens. The vaccine is given to a healthy person in order to “arm” the body with the means of combating infection in advance.

After the components of the vaccines enter the body, the same mechanism starts that works when an infection occurs. Immune cells (B-lymphocytes) trigger the production of antibodies, immunity molecules, which serve as foreign labels and help quickly rid the body of pathogens.

When vaccination does not start active actions to destroy the pathogen, since vaccines can not cause disease. This is a kind of “rehearsal” of the actions of the immune system in response to the ingestion of a dangerous infectious agent.

After vaccination and synthesis of the necessary antibodies, the body is already gaining time: its B-lymphocytes remember which antibodies to produce when meeting a particular pathogen. These antibodies will successfully allow the components of the immune system to detect the threat and remove it from the body before the disease develops.

Licensed vaccines are carefully scrutinized, and once they enter the market, they become the subject of repeated reviews and reviews.

Vaccination does not give a 100% guarantee that the vaccinated person will not get sick, but this procedure significantly reduces the likelihood of being infected with a dangerous pathogen.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), every year immunization can prevent from two to three million deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and measles, and the dangerous variola virus was completely defeated by vaccination.

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Myth number 2. Children should be kept sterile because they do not have immunity.

In fact, newborns have immunity, but it develops gradually over several years according to the genetic program laid down in DNA. It is realized as the child grows older.

While the fetus is in the womb, maternal immunity protects it. Lymphoid organs are gradually formed: bone marrow, thymus, clusters of diffuse lymphoid tissue, lymph nodes, spleen. In addition, in the liver, spleen and bone marrow of the fetus, immune cells are formed - lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils.

In the first three months after the birth of the baby, exclusively maternal antibodies. The transfer of antibodies of type lgG 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, sensitive even to minor injuries, is coated with the original vernix caseosa lubricant. This wax-like mixture is secreted by the sebaceous glands. It contains antimicrobial substances - lysozymes, defensins, psoriasins, antimicrobial fatty acids. All of them make up an antimicrobial shield, which protects the baby from a large number of various pathogens. microbes.

In addition, in the intestines of the newborn at the time of birth, Peyer's plaques are already present - accumulations of T and B lymphocytes in the mucosa. When microbes enter, they provoke an immune response and further help to adequately respond to foreign in the digestive tract.

From birth, the child has a program for the development of the immune system. To realize its maturation, contact with various antigens and time are necessary.

Of course, until immunity is fully strengthened, children are more likely than adults to be at risk of contracting an infection. However, the desire to create the so-called sterile conditions for the child threatens the development of hypersensitivity reactions - allergies and autoimmune diseases.

There is a hypothesis about hygiene, according to which the development of such conditions is provoked by insufficient 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 their own cells and molecules.

The immunity of children who live in conditions close to sterile may in the future be undeveloped.

Evolutionarily, a person always received a certain level of load on the immune system in the form of a certain number of pathogens. If the number of surrounding antigens drops, then the body begins to attack harmless particles and compounds. For example, flower pollen or food components can cause the development of immune answer.

It is believed that the immune system matures by the age of 12-14, when the same amount of antibodies begins to be produced in a young body as in an adult.

Myth No. 3. Immunity is strengthened by yoghurts and multivitamin supplements.

There are many recommendations in advertising and the media that convince you to buy yoghurts with bacteria, as well as multivitamin complexes, miracle immunostimulants and much more. Unfortunately, there is no ideal and simple recipe for the prevention of infectious diseases.

Let's start with yogurt. In commercials, we are told that immunity depends on the intestinal microflora, and yogurts with beneficial bacteria improve the microflora - and, therefore, the body's immunity.

Today we know that about a thousand species of bacteria live in the human intestines, which play a crucial role in the normal functioning of the body. Long-term co-evolution of bacteria and the human body led to the emergence of complex mechanisms of interaction of the components of immunity with representatives microbiome.

The intestinal microflora not only helps digestion and produces vital B vitamins and vitamin K, which our body cannot synthesize, but also inhibit the penetration of pathogenic microbes, maintaining the integrity of the intestinal mucosa and physically inhibiting their attachment to intestinal cells.

But the fact is that bacteria from the outside, in particular healthy yogurt, are not able to stay in the intestines for a long time.

This was confirmed by the American researcher Sherwood Gorbakh, who studied bacterial strains for more than 20 years - he was not able to find bacteria lingering in the intestines in any of the dairy cultures of America, Europe and Asia. If some strains survived after hydrochloric acid of the stomach, they still disappeared after 1-2 of the day.

Although today some probiotics have shown promising results in experiments, so far scientists have insufficiently convincing scientific data on their benefit.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved a single probiotic for the prevention or treatment of any disease, including those related to immune the system.

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Then maybe multivitamin supplements will help? Vitamins help the implementation of all the most important enzymatic reactions that occur in the body. In total, the human body needs 13 vitamins for normal life: vitamin A, vitamins of group B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), vitamins C, D, E and K.

Vitamins A, C, D, E and B6 were noted as the most important participants in the processes associated with immunity. If they are deficient, the activation of T- and B-lymphocytes is disrupted, and anti-inflammatory signaling molecules are produced to a greater extent, which in some cases can complicate pathological processes.

Unfortunately, multivitamin complexes often turn out to be useless, because synthetic vitamins in tablets are absorbed worse or not at all absorbed by our body.

Some additive components, such as calcium and iron, cannot be absorbed together. In particular, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are often available in tablet form that do not contain any lipids necessary for absorption.

Doctors, nutritionists, scientists and experts from reputable organizations, such as the WHO and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), recommend eating well and getting vitamins with food. In case of a lack of vitamins, you need to consult a doctor and review the diet and composition of the products.

Attempts to replenish the supply of vitamins on their own, without the advice of doctors, can be quite dangerous.

According to dozens of scientific studies, daily excessive consumption of vitamins can increase the risk of various diseases.

Myth number 4. The brain has no immunity

The brain, like some other tissues and organs (cornea of ​​the eye, testicles, thyroid gland), is called an immune privileged organ due to the fact that it is separated from the main components of the immune system by the blood-brain barrier. This barrier also protects organ tissues from contact with blood, which contains cells and immunity molecules.

Immune reactions in the brain occur somewhat differently than in the rest of the body. Since the brain is very sensitive to various injuries, its immune response is weakened, but this does not mean that it is not at all.

For example, the brain has “its” immune cells - microglia. These are isolated macrophages of the brain that protect organ tissues from infectious agents. When phagocytosis ("eating") of pathogens of microglia produces signals that cause inflammation in certain parts of the head brain.

It was previously thought that the presence of the immune system in the brain was limited to microglia cells. But in 2017, Dr. Daniel Reich, together with his scientific group, conducted a series of experiments using magnetic resonance imaging and revealed lymphatic vessels in the brain membranes of monkeys and people.

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

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Scientists from the University of Virginia and Massachusetts Universities have identified a relationship between cytokine deficiency with social disorders and disturbance of neuronal connections, which were also observed in animals with immunodeficiency. This could be eliminated with the introduction of interferon into the spinal cord. liquid.

Myth number 5. If immunity works very actively, then it is always good.

Excessive immunity activity can be dangerous to the body.

The immune system has the ability to destroy foreign objects, including infectious ones, and rid the body of them. But sometimes immunity can take harmless body cells for a potential pathogen. An uncontrolled immune response may result in allergic or hypersensitivity reactions.

According to the classification proposed by British immunologists Philip Jell and Robin Coombs back in 1963, four types of such reactions. The first three types of hypersensitivity reactions are immediate reactions, since the immune response develops several minutes after exposure to an allergen. The fourth type of reaction is characterized by a longer development period - from several hours to several days.

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