Boost Immunity With Your Fisrt Line of Defence !

Why Does Our Immunity Go Down with Age & Urban Living!

by in Boost Immunity 27/02/2018

As we age our Immunity goes down because of our natural ageing process and also because of a host of multiple factors that are associated with our Urban and sedentary Lifestyle. An important component of our Immunity are the Natural killer cells.

Natural killer cells (NK cells) are one of your body’s most powerful defenses against infections and cancer. These tiny security guards seek and destroy cells that have been transformed by an infection with a virus or by one of many malignant changes that transform them into cancer cells.

NK cells work by triggering apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cells that have been transformed by a virus or malignancy. Without this critical defense mechanism, viruses can be spread throughout the body and cancer cells can form invading, metastasized tumors.

The health of these cells is critical to a robust immune system. Unfortunately, your NK cell function rapidly declines as part of the natural decline in your immune system as you age. This degeneration of immune function is medically termed immune senescence.

When you were younger, your NK cells, which are part of your innate immune system, could destroy the new strain of virus while your adaptive immune system “learned” its properties and then made antibodies to destroy any remaining virus. But because your NK cell function declines with age, you can easily be rapidly overwhelmed by new viral strains before your slower adaptive immunity can develop.

Similarly, older adults are at an increased risk of cancer because falling NK function fails to destroy malignant cells early on, allowing them time to develop various tricks that evade adaptive immunity while they grow into life-threatening tumors. Younger people have more robust NK function, which helps explain why cancers are generally so rare before late middle age.

This explains, in part, why aging individuals become such a ready target of each year’s new influenza outbreak despite being vaccinated against the flu.

Older adults are at especially high risk: 90% of seasonal flu-related deaths, and up to 60% of flu-related hospitalizations, occur in people 65 and older, which happens to be the age when NK cell function precipitously declines. And the older we get, the higher the risk of a hospitalization or death from the flu.

This explains, in part, why aging individuals become such a ready target of each year’s new influenza outbreak despite being vaccinated against the flu.

Natural killer cells (also known as NK cells, K cells, and killer cells) are a type of lymphocyte (a white blood cell) and a component of innate immune system. NK cells play a major role in the host-rejection of both tumours and virally infected cells.

Natural killer (NK) cells target and kill aberrant cells, such as virally infected and tumorigenic cells. Killing is mediated by cytotoxic molecules which are stored within secretory lysosomes, a specialized exocytic organelle found in NK cells.

Natural Killer (NK) cells are described as a type of toxic lymphocytes that are critical to the immune system .

NK cells are produced in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, and thymus, from where they then enter into the circulation .

Scientists think that they help quickly degrade stressed cells – such as tumor cells and virus-infected cells. NK cells are hypothesized to become active around 3 days after infection .

Studies suggest that NK cells develop long-lived and highly-specific memories to a variety of targets .

These cells are extremely diverse, as are genetic factors impacting them .

How Your Life Depends on Natural Killer Cells

Natural killer cells” are one of your body’s leading defenses against dying. That’s because these specialized immune cells are natural killers of cells that have become transformed, either by infection with a virus or by one of many malignant changes that mutate them into cancer cells.9,16

Natural killer (NK) cells are part of your innate immune system, that part of the immune system that was ready to go the moment you were born (innate means “from birth”). Unlike cells belonging to your adaptive immune system, NK cells don’t require specific antibodies to do their work.

Rather, NK cells come fully equipped to recognize any cells that don’t belong in your body. Such cells include those whose replicative machinery has been taken over by a virus, and also cells that have gone rogue to replicate without natural controls, such as cancer cells.

Thus, NK cells normally patrol throughout your body, acting almost like tiny but well-armed security guards. As they circulate in your bloodstream, NK cells constantly seek out cells that lack the proper “ID badge,” in the form of molecular patterns indicating that they are authorized parts of your biological self.

Once such unauthorized cells have been identified, NK cells shoot to kill, destroying virally or malignantly transformed cells, while leaving intact any normal, healthy cells that can prove their identity. NK cells use as weapons chemical substances that punch holes in target cell membranes, allowing them to insert proteins that trigger the cell death program called apoptosis, which lies latent in every cell.

Cells infected by viruses are detrimental to our body, both acutely and chronically. Destruction of virally infected cells by apoptosis prevents continued intracellular replication of viruses.

Functional NK cells are needed to destroy virus-infected cells before viral replication gets out of control. Failure of NK cells to control an infection results in release of new viruses, followed by more rapid infection, viral replication, and destruction of millions of additional cells, spreading the virus throughout the body.

In the case of malignant cells, NK cell-induced apoptosis can stop a developing cancer in its tracks, preventing further replication of cells before they can form an invading, metastasizing tumor.

NK cells have recently been found to have other important functions vital to infection- and cancer-free survival:

  • NK cells secrete cytokines, which are chemical signaling molecules that regulate the activity of other immune system cells;
  • NK cells are essential to stopping inflammatory responses once they’ve done their work, for example, by deleting populations of senile immune cells. NK cells can shift the immune system’s focus away from a target that has already been neutralized;
  • NK cells can enhance the immune response to ongoing threats by stimulating “B-lymphocytes” to produce antibodies that destroy specific antigens.

Function

According to recent scientific reviews, people who are genetically-deficient in NK cells have regular viral infections and die prematurely [4].

Individuals deficient in NK cells are prone to early phases of herpesvirus infection [5]. Since NK cells help to fight viruses like HIV, their deficiency may also worsen outcomes in HIV-positive patients [6]

Additionally, mice with poor NK cell function seem to be more prone to carcinogen-triggered cancers [3].

Activation of NK Cells

Scientists think that circulating NK cells remain in their resting phase until they are activated by cytokines. Once activated, they invade tissues with pathogen-infected cells and secrete cytokines such as interferons  and to fight off the invader.

NK cells also appear to release a membrane-disrupting protein, perforin, which causes cell death of the target cell. Perforin got its name because its thought to perforates the “skin” of the pathogen .

Unfortunately, a decline in NK cell function with age can leave older adults uniquely vulnerable to viral infections, especially during the winter time peak in influenza.

Associated Conditions of Low NK cells

  • Cancer  – mixed findings; more consistent results were seen only in blood cancers
  • Viral infections (low number and activity) , since NK cells help fight off viruses.
  • CFS (limited data point to low activity)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (low activity)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (low number and activity)
  • Lupus (low number and activity)
  • Plant Lectins are known to cause a reduction in NK cells as they are used to Heal our Microvilli.
  • Obesity reduces the NK cells Frequency, Cytotoxicity.
  • Lastly, the following addictive or Illegal substances also have an NK-cell-cytotoxicity-inhibiting effect and should be avoided:
    • Marijuana/THC
    • Opioids

Impairment of Natural Killer cells has also been associated with advanced aging in limited studies.

More research is needed to confirm and better understand these links.

Why Mainstream Medicine’s Solutions Don’t Work

Natural killer (NK) cells are the body’s front-line security team, identifying and eliminating cells infected with viruses or transformed by cancer.

Mainstream medicine has little to offer to counteract declining NK cell function. Although new vaccines can help protect against specific viruses, a decline in immune function (as part of immune senescence) limits vaccine efficacy in older people. More potent antiviral drugs can be developed—again to combat specific viruses—but the problem with these drugs is that they have substantial toxicity, they are given only after a viral infection has established itself, and they are extremely costly.

A better approach would be to change the way the body responds to threats like viruses and tumor cells by directly boosting NK cell function and restoring waning immunity caused by immune senescence.

By enhancing NK cell function, you would potentially be improving resistance, not to one or a few related viruses, but to virtually all viruses at once. In the process, you would also be potentially enhancing natural cancer resistance, not to specific cancer types, but to virtually all malignancies at once.

It’s always a good idea to avoid unhealthy habits – such as smoking, fast food, overeating, being under a lot of stress, and drinking too much – that can bring your immune system out of balance.

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