Trillions of Pacman within you
Phagocytes that eat up the Invaders
What are Phagocytes
Played the game called Pacman ? Well it’s also being played 24×7 within you and Phagocytes are your Pacmans that are devouring or eating out the Debris, Bacteria and other pathogens within your system day in and day out!
The professional phagocytes include many types of white blood cells (such as neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, mast cells, and dendritic cells.
Every Litre of Blood has an estimated 6 Billion Phagocytes. They are a key component of the innate immune system. There are three main groups of phagocytes: monocytes and macrophages, granulocytes, and dendritic cells, all of which have a slightly different function in the body.
Phagocytes are crucial in fighting infections, as well as in maintaining healthy tissues by removing dead and dying cells that have reached the end of their lifespan. During an infection, chemical signals attract phagocytes to places where the pathogen has invaded the body.
Phagocytes are a type of white blood cell that use phagocytosis to engulf bacteria, foreign particles, and dying cells to protect the body. They bind to pathogens and internalize them in a phagosome, which acidifies and fuses with lysosomes in order to destroy the contents.
Phagocyte is a general term for the white blood cells that engulfs and digests foreign bodies in a non-specific manner (a process called phagocytosis). These cells are either chemically attracted to sites of inflammation by the release of histamine and other messengers into the blood, or lay in wait at specific locations. They are easiest to understand if you think of them as vacuum cleaners or vultures. There are two types based upon size– smaller microphages, which primarily ingest bacteria, and the larger macrophages, which gobble up and digest dead tissue and cellular debris. Phagocytes also release pyrogens, which induce fever in response to infection Monocytes, the precursors of macrophages, comprise about 3-7% of the circulating white blood cells.
Macrophages are actually monocytes that have taken up residence in specific tissue areas such as the liver, spleen, connective tissue or lymph nodes. Physicians give them different names, depending on where they live. In the liver they are called Kupffer cells; in the skin, they are called Langerhans cells; in the spleen and lymph nodes they are called dendritic cells; in the lung they are called alveolar macrophages; in the connective tissue they are called histiocytes; in the brain they are called microglia.
Macrophages are capable of fusing together into huge granulomas to combat and engulf larger pathogens. All the above-mentioned phagocytic cells are collectively known as the reticulo-endothelial system (RES).
Increasing the Activity of Phagocytes aka Pacman within you
Omega 3 fats work by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that destroy bacteria. These fats also help strengthen cell membranes, thereby speeding up healing and strengthening resistance to infection in the body.
Eating a minimum of one portion of omega-3 rich oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna) each week is good for heart, joint and immune function. Maintaining a healthy weight can help your immune health too. You can also have Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements or Cod Liver Oil Supplements.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Phagocytes are also stimulated by acid and therefore apple cider vinegar may help to stimulate your Phagocytes. Taking 1/4th tsp in water twice a day is beneficial but apple cide vinegar may not suit every one therefore try.
Many Indian Herbs have been used since thousands of years to stimulate the immune system namley ashwagandha, katira, Mulathi, garlic, kala Megha
Many, many herbs have been shown to increase the numbers and action of phagocytes, including ginseng root, rehmannia root, isatis root, codonopsis root (dang shen), mistletoe (Viscum album), cordyceps mushroom, cat’s claw inner bark (Uncaria tomentosa), licorice root, astragalus root, celosia seed, guduchi stem, ashwaghanda root, olive leaf extract, garlic bulb, ganoderma mushroom, Siberian eleuthero root bark, maitake mushroom, lycium fruit, white atractylodes and echinacea (Bussing et al, 1999; Stein et al, 1999; Chen YJ, et al, 1997; Sonoda, et al, 1998; Dharmananda, 1988; Xie, et al, 1985; Hase, et al, 1997; Hayakawa, et al, 1998; Kapil and Sharma, 1997; Kumar VP, et al, 1999; Lee YS, et al, 1997; Lemaire, et al, 1999; Mathew and Kuttan 1999; Nose, et al, 1998; Rittenhouse, et al, 1991; Rui, 1997; Visioli et al, 1998).
According to a systematic study of more than 200 TCM herbs and formulas used for Qi energy tonification, all had the ability to increase the phagocytic index of the RES from two to five times above normal (Wenlong, 1994).
The most consistently proven effect of echinacea or Kala Megha is in stimulating phagocytosis (the consumption of invading organisms by white blood cells and lymphocytes). Extracts of echinacea can increase phagocytosis by 20-40%.
Echinacea also stimulates the production of interferon as well as other important products of the immune system, including “Tumor Necrosis Factor”, which is important to the body’s response against cancer.
Echinacea also inhibits an enzyme (hyaluronidase) secreted by bacteria to help them gain access to healthy cells. Research in the early 1950’s showed that echinacea could completely counteract the effect of this enzyme, helping to prevent infection when used to treat wounds.
Although echinacea is usually used internally for the treatment of viruses and bacteria, it is now being used more and more for the treatment of external wounds. It also kills yeast and slows or stops the growth of bacteria and helps to stimulate the growth of new tissue. It combats inflammation too, further supporting its use in the treatment of wounds.
Astragulus or Katira is considered as a miracle herb and the powerful extract from this root has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It is also used as a natural diet supplement. The most popular health benefit of Astragalus is in boosting the immune-system and energy levels. It has a variety of health benefits and is also known to help with ailments such common cold, diabetes, upper respiratory problems, arthritis, asthma and blood pressure.
One of the reasons, Astragalus is becoming a rage in the west is because it is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are able to change their function depending on the specific needs of the body. They adapt according to what the body needs and this is why Adaptogenic herbs like Astralagus are able to help us deal with a variety of problems.
Ashwagandha and its constituents have immunomodulatory effects including the mobilisation of macrophages, phagocytosis, and lysosomal enzymes. Preliminary evidence suggests Ashwagandha might reduce chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide) induced immuno-suppression and leukopenia. Ashwagandha also seems to increase bone marrow cell and white blood cell count in radiation-treated animals.
Panax ginseng stimulates natural killer cell activity and possibly other immune-system activity (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database).
Ascorbic Acid in Vitamin C is known to Boost the activity of Phagocytes. Natural sources of Vitamin C are Red Bell Pepper, Guavas.Red Bell Pepper are from the night shade family and must be cooked for removing the lectins within.
Vitamins, minerals and nutrients
A variety of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids support immune system function. These include zinc, selenium, betacarotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. These and other nutrients enhance antigen-specific antibody production, augment their proliferative response and promote phagocytic activity and NK cell activity (Kaminogawa A et al, Modulation of immune functions by foods, Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2004, 1(3)).