It has been described as follows –
“An immune system is a collection of biological processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy cells and tissues in order to function properly.”
(Apathogen or infectious agent, or (more commonly) germ, is a biological agent that can cause disease or illness to its host.)
This includes physical barriers to infection like your skin, and also the so called “good bacteria” that live within all of you, and help to neutralize pathogens that get into your body.
However the most important part of this Immune System involves cells that are carried in the blood of all of you.
Blood has basically three types of cells within it –
Red Blood cells that carry the all important oxygen around the body to the tissues and organs that require it.
Platelets that are closely involved with normal clotting of the blood when an injury occurs.
It is these White Blood Cells that form by far the major part of your Immune System.
There are several different kinds of these White Blood Cells – that may be called Lymphocytes, Monocytes, Eosinophils, Neutrophils, Basophils and Macrophages, partly depending on their appearance, but also sub-divided by what they do for you, as you can see here for example –
Neutrophils are involved with destroying Bacteria and Fungi that have gained entry into the body.
Eosinophils are involved with destroying parasites and helping in allergic reactions.
Basophils are involved with counteracting allergies.
But the most important ones for this discussion are the Lymphocytes.
These are: B Cells, that make specific antibodies that bind to pathogens so that they may be more easily destroyed, and to continue the ability to produce each specific kind of antibody for some time in the future, as a sort of ‘defense system memory.’
Natural killer cells, which are able to kill damaged cells of the body that are displaying a signal to kill them, as they have been infected by a virus or have become cancerous.
And T Cells, which have three different types, but the most relevant type for you in this explanation is the CD4 T cell.
These act like a Coordinator or Conductor of the Immune System, and also are very important in fighting bacteria that have invaded anywhere in your body, and it is these CD4 T cells that are used as the most important indicator to measure the progress of HIV/AIDS in an infected individual.
The HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus selectively attacks these CD4 T cells, and also reproduces itself inside them.
Over a varying period of time – (that can range anywhere from 2 weeks to 10 years – partly depending on the age and general health and state of nutrition of the infected person) – sufficient CD4 T cells are destroyed so that the Immune System as a whole becomes seriously harmed, and becomes unable to carry out its protection from pathogens effectively.
It is this stage – (after the CD4 T cells have fallen to below 200 cells per micro liter of blood) – that secondary infections and certain forms of cancer gain the “upper hand”…..and AIDS is the result.
Therefore the aim of any HIV/AIDS treatment is to try to keep the CD4 T cell count above this 200 level.
You can see more details of this and what types of treatment have been used, if you go to my webpage called HIV/AIDS – which you can access by clicking HERE However, at present, even the most aggressive Antiretroviral drug treatment appears to be often only 50 percent effective in some cases, so any other methods of treatment are potentially very important.
Although huge amounts of money are being spent on vaccines against the HIV, this approach has not yet yielded any great results – mainly because the AIDS virus can change so rapidly, and develop resistance to vaccines.
Therefore it seems obvious that:
Anything that can boost the Immune System has the potential to be beneficial with HIV/AIDS
There has been a lot of research into many, many different things that have been rumored to boost the Immune System, but unfortunately most have been found to be not very effective.
The few things that have been found to help with boosting the Immune System and improving CD4 T cell counts are as follows: –
Daily doses of Selenium have been shown to raise CD4 T cell counts.
Certain herbs have been studied that appear to definitely stimulate the Immune System – although the way that they do this is complex and not fully understood.
These effective herbs include Echinacea, Licorice, Ginseng, Astralagus, Sage, Garlic and Elderberry,
Also Shiitake and Lingzhi mushrooms, and Hyssop and honey have been found to be useful.
Apart from these, one thing that has been proven in its beneficial effect against falling CD4 T cell counts is MEDITATION
Which brings you back again full circle to my page about HIV/AIDS and Meditation – where you can learn all about this – and you can go it directly by clicking HERE