We all know that the human body has defence mechanisms built in to help prevent the onset of disease. When we have a condition, it could be an infection, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dementia or cancer; we have these same defence mechanisms within our body to help us heal and recover from illness and keep us protected. You might have heard about the immune system but let’s learn about a few other mechanisms that are designed to protect us:
Immune system: We are very much aware about this as it is our body’s first and last line of defence. We are breathing in germs, pollution, pathogens etc and our defence mechanism is recognising them, destroying them or doing what it has to do to protect us. All of us have dormant cancer cells in our body but it’s our immune system’s job to make sure these cancer cells do not start behaving abnormally, forming tumours, starting chain reactions and spreading the cancer all along the body.
DNA: This is our second defence mechanism and it needs to be protected at all times. Any damage to the DNA triggers our immune response to protect the body. Excessive smoking or even passive smoking, pollution, exposure to toxins and environmental changes impact our DNA and if not protected the right way, can change our gene expression and certain genes can switch on and off leading to disease or preventing recovery from certain diseases. It has been proven scientifically that any damage to our DNA can trigger various innate immune responses and further affect our healing.
Stem cells: This is the reason for our existence and that’s why stem cell storage post a pregnancy is becoming more prominent. The sperm and the egg fertilise and form a stem cell and it grows to form foetus that further grows into baby and young adults like us. Stem cells help to grow the liver, brain, heart, skin etc in a foetus as well as a child or adult and that’s why we want stem cell regeneration to be working all the time in our system. People whose stem cells are not working properly or not regenerating well, start to suffer from degenerate diseases rapidly. That’s why stem cells have everything to do with our body and life.
Angiogenesis: This is the new buzz word and for good reason. Angiogenesis is our body’s ability to grow new blood vessels to supply nutrients to any organ in the body. That means when one blood vessel gets blocked, the body will make new blood vessels to supply nutrients to a particular organ. In some diseases wherein blood vessels get blocked, angiogenesis becomes helpful to heal the body, for example in heart related diseases. But in the case of cancer, this mechanism is used by cancer cells to feed them and grow in the body; that’s where anti angiogenesis comes into the picture. The latter prevents blood vessels from feeding cancers, and has turned out to be one of our most important defence mechanisms against cancer. In fact, if you block angiogenesis and prevent blood vessels from even reaching cancer cells, tumours simply can’t grow.
These mechanisms work while we are awake and while we sleep, but when we are stressed out or follow a bad lifestyle or fad diets, we affect our body’s intelligence and stop it from working optimally. So follow a healthy balanced routine to make sure all your systems are functioning their best.
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