Your immune system is probably the best defense system in your body. It can fight almost any foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, microbes and parasites almost immediately, or it can have a delayed reaction and attack the invaders later with precision. It evens kills cancer cells before they start to develop and spread.
Your immune system is composed of two basic complementary systems, e.g. one is innate and the other is acquired or adaptive immune system. The innate immune system acts as the first layer of defense to attack bacteria, viruses, parasites and other foreign invaders which are called antigens. It is not selective at all. When it becomes activated, you can feel the difference. You feel inflamed, discomfort; your body aches, you start to have sniffles, a cough and even fever. Your innate system is trying to “cook” out the antigens with fever and expel them by coughing and producing mucous and phlegm. This is annoying, but necessary.
If it doesn’t kills of the infection, a second layer of defense comes in, which is the acquired immune system. This is more selective and has sort of a memory. It is acquired from birth and over the years. Vaccinations and previous illness help develop the acquired immune system. It contains the Beta and T cells called antibodies that can attack an unbelievable number of specific infections. If the body has been exposed to a particular infection, the acquired immune system develops a memory and is able to recognize the infection whenever you become re-infected. It then develops the correct antibodies to fight the infection. When there is a new type of invader it does not recognize, it takes longer to develop the right antibodies.
This is all well and good, but when the immune system is weaken due to chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS and drugs, you become prone to develop deadly infections that most people can fight with ease. If your immune system is too strong, you develop auto-immune responses which can damage tissues and cause adverse allergic reactions. So, you would need to maintain a balanced immune system by having a good diet, proper rest and exercise.
Cancer cells, on the other hand, are also different from the normal cells of the body, but sometimes the immune system does not see much difference between the cancer cells and normal cells and the response may not be strong enough to destroy the cancer cells This is why some people with a normal immune system develop cancer.
I personally maintain my immune system in a good shape by taking special supplements which will be covered in my next post.