Two arms of immunity and why it matters! - gut health, adaptive & innate immune system

The immune system consists of two arms: innate and adaptive.

The innate immune system is the first line of defense and initiates the entire immune process. It includes anatomic (skin and mucous membrane), physiologic (temperature, low pH and chemical mediators), phagocytic, and inflammatory components. The innate arm is amazing at recognizing intruders quickly and alerting the adaptive immune response, all while launching its own attack. The adaptive arm can't tell "self" from "non-self" so it needs the innate immune system to tell it when and how to act.

The innate immune response can be a little dramatic and inflammatory, so we need the adaptive immune response to reign things in and be strategic.

The adaptive immune response kills pathogens using antibodies and natural killer cells, both of which are highly specific and (ideally) don't hurt any of your own tissues. This sophisticated approach takes a little bit longer to initiate. Luckily, once an antibody has been created, the immune system saves the blueprint. That way, the next time the same (or similar) intruder comes in, antibodies are rapidly produced and clear the pathogen before you ever know you were exposed!

What can go wrong? Deficiencies of the innate immune response are rare and associated with genetic abnormalities. More commonly, the innate immune response can become too intense. For example, the infamous 'cytokine storm' phenomenon occurs when the inflammatory processes of innate immunity get out of control.

Adaptive immune issues are more common. These include allergies, asthma, and autoimmune conditions.

What makes us susceptible to adaptive immune issues? Stay tuned for the next part of our immune series!

If you have questions, please send us a DM on Instagram @silverfernbrand.

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