Immunity is a very tricky thing, you can not see with your eyes, you can not touch it with your hands and do not try to "tooth", but any pharmacy or private practitioner will, you, dear readers, actively "tidy up" the drugs to enhance it.
A good medicine for immunity has become a kind of fetish for those who at least somehow care about their own health, well, a good source of income for the farm. corporations. Do we need medicines for our immune system? Let's understand.
The founding father of immunology is rightly considered Louis Pasteur, who first drew attention to the fact that devastating epidemics of plague, smallpox, cholera and other contagious diseases that regularly swept across Europe were bypassed by some people who were caring for the sick or removing corpses from the streets. Pasteur suggested that there is a mechanism in the body that protects a person from infection.
The general theory of immunity was born in a fierce struggle that unfolded between the two "titans" of world science - Paul Erlich and Ilya Mechnikov at the end of the XIX century. Mechnikov discovered phagocytosis and asserted that the protection of the organism from microbes is carried out by special cells - phagocytes, which eat (phagocytose) bacteria. Ehrlich believed that the main mechanism of human protection are special chemicals - antibodies, which are open to them, which block all foreign agents entering the body. And both "titanium" considered their opponent mistaken. History showed that both Mechnikov and Erlich were right, for which they received the Nobel Prize in 1908 in biology, each of them simply discovered one of the mechanisms of the functioning of the immune system.
How it works?
So, immunity is a set of reactions of the interaction of the immune system and biologically active agents (antigens) aimed at maintaining the constancy of the internal environment of the organism (homeostasis).
Antigen, getting into the body, interacts with our immune cells and is defined as "your" or "someone else's". In response to the introduction of foreign antigens, the immune system produces antibodies that destroy antigens. This is called humoral immunity, which was discovered by Ehrlich. Some biological agents (bacteria, cancer cells, etc.) can be directly eliminated. They are eaten by phagocytes. This cellular immunity, discovered Mechnikovym. Both types of immunity are closely related, since phagocytes, after absorbing a bacterium, stimulate the production of antibodies against it.
Congenital and acquired
- Congenital or hereditary. We are born with a certain set of antibodies, inherent in us genetically. For example, American Indians are much less susceptible to syphilis than Europeans.
- Acquired or adaptive. Formed under the influence of the external environment. That is, any infection leads to the development of antibodies in the body, which are immediately involved in the fight when they meet again with this pathogen. Vaccination is a particular case of the work of acquired immunity.
Active and passive
- – продукция антител в результате внешнего воздействия. Active - production of antibodies as a result of external influence. Postinfectious and postvaccinal immunity is always active.
- – введение антител извне. Passive - the introduction of antibodies from the outside. For example, sera containing donor antibodies. The structure of mother's milk includes antibodies that protect the baby, and this is also passive immunity.
Specific and nonspecific
- – комплекс механизмов, направленных на защиту от любого внешнего вторжения. Nonspecific - a set of mechanisms designed to protect against any external invasion. Example: saliva and tears contain antibacterial substances; in the blood there is interferon, which fights against any virus particles that enter the body.
- – антитела против вполне конкретного возбудителя, для гриппа одни, для чумы – другие, для коклюша — третьи и т.д. Specific - antibodies against a specific pathogen, for the flu alone, for the plague - others, for whooping cough - the third, etc.
It is a great misconception that immunity fights only with microorganisms or viruses. It also protects us from cancer cells, which are defined as "strangers" and are eliminated by specific and nonspecific mechanisms. Therefore, one of the theories of the origin of cancer links this disease to a malfunction in the immune system.
Pathology of immunity
An important component of the working capacity of the immune system is the function of "recognition", that is, the need to distinguish "one's own" from "another's". If a failure occurs in the function, then "own" is defined as "strangers" and destroyed. This is an autoimmune disease, when immunity kills certain tissues and cells of the body, taking them for alien.
: некоторые разновидности стрептококка, вызывающего ангину и рожу, содержат антигены, которые по своему строению похожи на антигены почечной или соединительной ткани. Example : some varieties of streptococcus, which causes angina and erysipelas, contain antigens, which in their structure are similar to the antigens of the kidney or connective tissue. Therefore, after angina, a person may experience nephritis or rheumatism.
Also, immunity, like in other systems, may be deficient in functioning - immunodeficiency, which is primary or congenital and secondary or acquired.
Primary immunodeficiencies are the result of genetic anomalies, which lead to inadequate functioning of specific and nonspecific defense mechanisms. Secondary immunodeficiencies occur under the influence of external factors: stress, pregnancy, hunger, viruses (in AIDS), radiation, some drugs, etc. Also, the mechanisms of protection are weakened under tight functioning, so long-term infectious diseases are guaranteed to lead to immunodeficiency.
The problem of the immune response is the cornerstone of such a field of medicine as transplantology. Modern medicine allows you to replace in the human body up to 70% of "spare parts". Surgeons can sew a person almost any new organ, but the immune system always seeks to destroy the transplant, sometimes along with the host.
Signs of weakened immunity in children and adults
The line between the reduced and normal function of immunity is very thin and it is impossible to determine it independently. Therefore, you should consult a doctor immunologist, an allergist who will prescribe an immunological laboratory test to determine the presence of immunodeficiency. Indirect signs of its decline can be:
- frequent catarrhal diseases, viral infections more than 5 times a year (in pre-school children this is the norm, in older children and adults - no, see the difference between influenza and Orvi and how to treat a cold in a child ).
- increased fatigue, general weakness, headaches, blueness under the eyes, pallor of the skin. However, such symptoms can be in case of blood diseases, so at such signs it is necessary to consult a doctor.
- drowsiness, insomnia (see how quickly to fall asleep ).
- enlargement of the spleen, painless enlargement of the cervical and axillary lymph nodes.
- brittle nails, dull hair (see causes of hair loss )
- dryness and peeling of the skin (see treatment of cracks in the hands ).
- Allergy is a sign of a malfunction in immunity (food allergy, sun allergy , cold allergy , allergic cough , allergic rhinitis ).
- dysbacteriosis of the intestine , which may manifest as a decrease in appetite, flatulence , stool disorder, weight loss.
How to increase immunity without drugs immunostimulants?
- Provision of balanced, rational nutrition, the rejection of store semi-finished products, fast food, harmful chemical products. Every day in the diet should be salads, fresh raw vegetables (carrots, beets, cabbage, onions, garlic), fruits, legumes, sea fish, sour-milk products without additives. Breakfast should not consist of sandwiches, best of all - buckwheat porridge, oatmeal, rice, green tea, honey, broth of wild rose.
- Since the connection of immunity with intestinal dysbiosis has been proved, for its treatment and as a prophylaxis it is possible to conduct probiotic courses (see all probiotics, Linex's analogues ) after consulting a doctor. For prevention, it is best not to drink the drug itself, but make yogurt from it, that is, add 1 capsule of the drug or a special yoghurt starter (sold at the pharmacy) to fresh boiled milk (not pasteurized), leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours and daily drink such a homemade sour-milk drink.
- Elimination of possible foci of chronic infection (chronic tonsillitis, carious teeth, chronic sinusitis, etc.)
- Immunity of helminthic invasions is reduced (see the symptoms of human worms ), the diagnosis of which by a single analysis of feces can give false-negative results, so if suspicion should be submitted to an analysis of 3-day.
- Try to remain optimistic, positive attitude to life, avoid stress. To calm the nervous system can be useful - meditation, Yoga, repetition of positive attitudes, affirmations - it works for the improvement of the body.
- Children should be gradually tempered (begin in the summer). Adults are also useful in the summer to walk barefoot on the grass, sea pebbles.
- In winter, you can make such a mixture - lemon, walnuts, raisins in equal proportions, grind in a blender, mix with honey, use 1-2 spoons in the morning and evening.
- Those who suffer from chronic tonsillitis with a simple exercise, you can improve blood circulation in the throat. While brushing your teeth, pull out the tongue and pull it to the chin, hold it for 10 seconds, thus clearing the lacunae of the tonsils.
- The most effective way to improve immunity is physical work in the open air.
Do we need perfect purity?
Let's remember the old anecdote. The first child - everything is erased, ironed, boiled !!! The second child - we erase, sometimes iron, we look that did not eat from a bowl of a cat !!! The third child - if a child ate from a cat's bowl, then this is the cat's problem !!!
Immunity, like any other system, requires training, which in medical language is called antigenic stimulation. The child, being in the womb of the mother, is in sterile conditions. After birth, it is protected by maternal antibodies that have got through the placenta, as well as those obtained with breast milk. At this time, he is in an environment containing millions of bacteria and viruses. The child is protected by maternal immunity in order to gain time and develop his own. In a sterile environment, antigenic stimulation is minimal and children's immunity does not develop. After the baby loses his mother's antibodies, he becomes very vulnerable to infections.
There is one more reason not to make the environment of the baby sterile. Scientists have proved that pathogenic microbes acquire resistance to antiseptic agents much more quickly than useful microbes. Therefore, in a sterile environment, it is much easier to pick up some aggressive and antibiotic-resistant infection.
All this has long been evident for pediatricians in Europe. They refused full sterility in maternity hospitals and pediatric clinics. Remember an anecdote from the beginning of the section, in it a considerable part of worldly wisdom.
Immunity does not happen much?
Finally, we came to the main question - do people need medicines to raise their immunity?
- urban residents living in more sterile conditions than rural people suffer from allergies three times more often;
- residents of developed countries in Europe suffer from autoimmune diseases 3 times more often than in Africa.
The reason is trivial, our immunity is not completely trained, and absolutely physiological stimulation responds inappropriately with a violent reaction. A modern urban resident does not need immunostimulants, and less often use antibacterial soap and less wash the bath or sink with antiseptic.
However, the advertising of farm cartels persistently insists: "Do you feel that you are ill? Your immune system has weakened and you urgently need tablets to boost immunity. " Before I swallow the pills I recommend to think, because our defense systems are almost perfect and they do not need any stimulants, just do not interfere with the body, and EVERYTHING. If you or your child have a runny nose, cough or high fever, it means that his immunity is actively working and fighting the infection and no drugs are needed (immunity) (see antiviral medications with orvi-fuflomycins with side effects ).
By the way, in children under 6 years, 5 colds per year is the norm. Mummies, stop feeding your children with any immunostimulating chemistry. Let your children train their immune system.
I do not presume to say that immunostimulants are not needed at all. In some cases, the body itself is not able to defeat the disease. With H1N1 flu, athletes in the recovery period, after serious surgical interventions, immunostimulants are very useful. However, I strongly warn readers of self-treatment.
Immunity is a multi-component thing and you can influence it in different ways. If you have a bacterial infection, and you start taking stimulants of interferon production (antiviral action), then this will be, at a minimum, a waste of money. And with the flu, taking bacterial derivatives (a stimulant of antibacterial protection) can only do harm. So appoint immunostimulants, as, indeed, other drugs, should only a qualified doctor.
Drugs for enhancing immunity - a brief review
Medicines that have a stimulating effect on immunity can be classified by origin and by mechanism of influence.
It's the name of a whole family from the Astro family. This genus contains 10 species, of which the most popular as a medicinal raw material is Echinacea Purpurea. For medical purposes, all parts of the plant are used: stems, leaves, roots, flower baskets. Echinacea contains a large number of vitamins and essential oils, has a direct antimicrobial and antiviral effect, and also stimulates cellular immunity (increases the number of leukocytes in the blood). The most popular drug containing Echinacea is immunal.
This is a genus of thorny bushes and trees from the Ararliev family, which includes 30 species. Medicinal raw materials are its roots and rhizomes. It is used as an extract. Contains a lot of useful substances with antistress effect. Also contains caffeine, so it gives vivacity and increases efficiency. Was part of the drink called "Baikal", which was otherwise called "Soviet Coca-Cola."
About its useful properties are written whole volumes, so I will not repeat, I will only indicate that the composition of this root is similar to the composition of Eleutherococcus, so almost everything that is written for ginseng is also true for Eleutherococcus. And do not forget about caffeine, which can cause overdose, addiction and can be dangerous for hypertension and heart disease.
- Schizandra Chinese
This is a perennial flowering plant. Fruits are used for food, tea can be made from leaves. Contains a huge amount of vitamin C, and also has a powerful psycho-stimulating effect, increases efficiency and stress resistance, with an overdose causes insomnia. As with ginseng, with caution, you need to take "hypertensive patients" and "cores."
A group of drugs containing components of a bacterial cell. Proteins of bacteria getting into the body cause not a disease, but an immune response to a given microorganism, so when meeting a real microbe, the immune system will already be "armed" with antibodies. The action of drugs from this group is similar to vaccines.
- Ribomunil, imudon, irs-19, lycopide, etc. - contain the components of the bacteria most common in infections of the upper respiratory tract and ENT organs.
- Uro-vax is the lysate of bacteria Escherichia coli, used for chronic infections of the urinary tract caused by this microbe.
Medicines with antiviral activity, divided into two large subgroups.
- Human interferon. In fact, interferons in our body about 20 pieces, divided into 3 subgroups (alpha, beta and gamma). Farm companies can produce them both separately and in the form of mixts: laferon, viferon, welfiron, influferon, etc. Produced from donor blood or through genetic engineering.
- – группа препаратов в борьбе с вирусными инфекциями, особенно гриппом: анаферон, арбидол, амиксин, кагоцел и др. Stimulants for the production of endogenous interferon - a group of drugs in the fight against viral infections, especially the flu: anaferon, arbidol, amixin, kagocel, etc.
Nucleic Acid Preparations
These are stimulators of cellular and, to a lesser extent, humoral immunity, the mechanism of action of which has not been fully studied. They are used mainly for bacterial infections (including tuberculosis), to strengthen the effectiveness of vaccines: sodium nucleate, derinat. Also, these medicines have a pronounced wound-healing effect, which makes them very useful in purulent wounds and extensive burns. Some drugs of this group are used as stimulators of interferon production in viral infections - ridostin.
Preparations of thymus
Or another name is immunoregulatory peptides: thymalin, thymosin, thymactide, thymogen, etc. The oldest group of immunomodulators, known since the 1970s. Являются экстрактами вилочковой железы животных. Стимулируют отдельные звенья иммунитета, однако эффективны только при иммунодефицитных состояниях, вызванных в основном хроническими инфекциями: туберкулез, трофические язвы и пр.
This is a group of immunostimulants, the source for which are animals or plant tissues: an extract of aloe , actovegin , FIBS, humisol, biodoside. The mechanism of action is not fully understood, therefore the medical literature, not engagued by pharma cartels, is full of skepticism about the effectiveness of this group of drugs.
The new preparation Polyoxidonium (1997), which is now actively used, besides immunostimulating, antioxidant, detoxification and membrane-stabilizing action, has the properties of a hepatoprotector (an overview of liver tablets - hepatoprotectors ). To increase its bioavailability, a preparation called longidase (a combination of lidase and polyoxidonium) was created. And again I repeat - any drugs are used only according to the indications and prescription of the doctor.
They normalize metabolic processes in the body, including restoring the efficiency of immunity. But it's best to eat natural foods that contain vitamins - fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, sea fish, etc. In recent years, some research by scientists has shown that the body recognizes what vitamins are coming in - synthetic or natural (see whether to take synthetic vitamins ). Moreover, the terrible results led to the study of physicians at the University of Washington.
For many years they have investigated the evolution of the state of health of 78,000 thousand people 50-76 years old and have come to an amazing conclusion. The increased intake of both vitamins C and E is extremely dangerous, since it leads to a significant increase in the risk of lung cancer. Finnish scientists came to the conclusion that the combination of E and C of the vitamin provokes the emergence of tuberculosis.
You should know that in the Russian market there are many multivitamin complexes, the vitamin E content in which is very high, besides, often vitamin complexes cause allergic reactions. Therefore, their use should be treated with caution, as with any medicine, drink vitamins only by a strict course according to the indications and prescription of the doctor, give preference to 1-2 component preparations (it is better to make sure of the lack of one or another vitamin, having passed the analysis for its concentration in the blood) .
In the early 50s of the last century, special proteins were discovered that transfer information from one immune cell to another, providing a link between cellular immunity and humoral. The totality of these proteins was called the transfer factor.
In the 1980s, 4Life Research was able to develop a technology for extracting the transfer factor from colostrum colostrum and chicken yolks. It was found that the transfer factors of cows are identical to human, resulting in the idea to stimulate the production of antibodies in our body with their help.
For more than 30 years, 4Life Research has been selling a transfer factor as a dietary supplements around the world. The manufacturer claims that their product has no contraindications and side effects, so it can be prescribed even to pregnant and nursing infants. Doubts give rise to the fact that for all these years 4Life Research has not been able to register the transfer factor as a medicine. It seems that they do not have enough convincing data on the clinical effectiveness of the product.
As you can see, dear readers, the list of drugs that stimulate immunity is very extensive, so do not engage in self-medication. The idea: "Immunity does not happen much" can be detrimental to your health. Interfere with the work of the immune system can only be a qualified physician.