You can spend thousands of dollars on sophisticated alarm systems to protect your family against burglars, smoke, and carbon monoxide, but are you really safe? You may not have considered some unseen security threats. There are millions of them – bacteria, viruses, allergens, toxins, and parasites – they’re all around you, and they’d love nothing more than to invade your body and destroy your good health!
When your body encounters a potential attacker, it activates an amazing defense mechanism called the immune system. The first job of the immune system is to keep germs out, and it does this by use of barriers to prevent entry into the body. These include your skin, tears, saliva, stomach acid, intestinal flora, and mucous membranes.
Sometimes, invaders are able to get past this first line of defense, and that requires a more aggressive defense. In such cases, a vast network of cells, tissues, and organs all begin to work together to recognize and respond to the emergency. In order for this large-scale response to be effective, the entire immune system must be made aware that the body is under attack. This is the job of special cell messenger protein called interleukin-2 (IL-2). IL-2 sounds the danger alarm and spreads the word quickly throughout the body. IL-2 is also important in the production of T-cells, a vital part of the body’s targeted response to specific threats.
With so many divisions of your immune “armed forces” at work, it’s essential to have smooth and efficient communication among them to avoid a delayed or sub-optimal response. That’s why lymphocytes are so vitally important. These special white blood cells circulate throughout the body, playing an important role in commanding, directing, and coordinating your immune system’s diverse and varied functions.
Your highly complex immune system can actually recognize and remember millions of different enemies, and it can produce potent biological weapons called antibodies to match up with and wipe out nearly all of them. One of the body’s most powerful antibodies is immunoglobulin G (IgG), which circulates in the blood, working covertly to seek out bacteria, viruses, molds, yeasts, and allergens. When IgG finds a foreign invader, it “paints” it with a special chemical to mark it for destruction by the immune system’s “clean-up squads.”