Despite our best efforts, we have not yet mastered shrinking technology à la The Magic School Bus to take you on a field trip through the human body to explore the immune system.
For now, this blog post will have to suffice, and we’ll just stick to our juice-making technologies.
Broadly speaking, the immune system is a very complex system of organs, cells, and proteins. Between them, they can recognize when something that shouldn’t be in your body (think: pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites etc.) enters it, and then work to eliminate them from the body, keeping you from getting sick (or speeding your recovery).
Further Defining the Immune System
There are two subsystems within the immune system known as the innate (non-specific) and adaptive (specific) immune systems.
The Innate Immune System
This is the defence system with which we are all born, providing a general defence against antigens (more on those in a moment). This system of barriers acts as the first line of defence, responding quickly and non-specifically to general threats, primed and ready to fight invaders at all times.
It includes our skin, cough reflex, stomach acid, and mucus, as well as some chemical responses, including those which cause fever; an intentional immune response, that causes a rise in temperature in the body which can kill some microbes.
The Adaptive Immune System
Also known as an “acquired immune response”, this is what most people think of when it comes to immunity. This is the system that makes antibodies to fight specific germs. It develops over time with exposure to antigens and is constantly learning and adapting (hence the name).
The adaptive immune system is slower than the innate and needs to be activated (vs. the always-on nature of the skin, for example).
Once activated, it uses immunological memory to learn about the threat and launch an even stronger attack against it. If it has previously encountered that threat, it’ll remember how best to attack.
One of the more often overlooked organs of the human body (the heart seems to get all the love here...), the spleen is a crucial part of the immune system.
This blood-filtering organ not only removes microbes and old, damaged red blood cells, it also makes lymphocytes and antibodies.
White Blood Cells
The MVPs of your immune system, there are two different kinds of these germ-fighting cells: phagocytes which "eat” germs and damaged or dead cells, and lymphocytes, which allow the body to remember and recognize previous invaders.
Antibodies help fight microbes and the toxins produced by them. These protective proteins recognize antigens (markers found on the surface of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and cells) and then decide whether the thing they are on requires destruction. Antibodies are specific to the antigens they recognize and destroy (think of them like a lock and key).
Once the body encounters a disease-causing germ for the first time, it stores information about the germ and how to fight it. These cells go on to multiply, passing down that "memory" so that if you are exposed to an antigen again, your immune system will recognize it and respond faster and more efficiently. In lots of cases, this response is so fast and effective that you don’t even get sick again (think: chickenpox).
Keep Your Immune System Firing on All Cylinders
When it comes to supporting your immune system on a more day-to-day level, not to sound like your mother or anything, but nothing beats getting plenty of exercise and sleep, and ensuring your diet is full of nutritionally complex foods; rich in vitamins and minerals.
Getting more of these foods into your diet is the million-dollar question. For many, functional beverages (like those we make) are a convenient and delicious way of quickly getting a large quantity of nutritionally-dense foods, in a bioavailable format, in their day.
Canada’s #1 best-selling Wellness Shot, Fiery Ginger, is specifically formulated for immune-function support.
Its star ingredients, ginger and turmeric, are both bursting with antioxidants which destroy free radicals, helping protect the structural integrity of cells vital to immune function, and helping reduce the overall burden on the immune system, so it can focus on more pressing things — like defending against pathogens.
Their major plant compounds — gingerol and curcumin respectively — also both have anti-inflammatory properties; they can help ease aches and pains caused by the inflammatory response, so you start to feel a little better.
Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system over time. Reducing this inflammation helps the immune system to start to function more effectively. Studies have also shown that these anti-inflammatory properties may help with respiratory health too.
Some studies suggest that compounds in ginger may even stimulate activity in certain immune cells, such as macrophages and T-cells, both of which play critical roles in identifying and eliminating harmful pathogens in the body.
And while most people know to turn to ginger for its stomach-settling properties, this positive impact on digestive health may also support immune health. A healthy gut is closely linked to a robust immune system — an optimally functioning digestive system can better absorb essential nutrients that support immune function. Studies have also shown turmeric to have similar positive effects on digestion.
Finally, studies on both ginger and turmeric have shown them to have antiviral and antibacterial properties, also present in some of the other ingredients in this shot — lemon and oregano extract — meaning they aid the body in fighting off peaky intruders.
In case you missed it, we’ve made incorporating Fiery Ginger into your daily routine even easier peasier ginger squeezier with the launch of Fiery Ginger Shot Box. Containing a 3-week supply of daily shots, simply dispense as needed, then go forth and set the world alight!
- Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Immune system explained. Better Health Channel. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/immune-system#parts-of-the-immune-system
- Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). (2020b, April 23). How does the immune system work? InformedHealth.org - NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279364/
- Professional, C. C. M. (n.d.). Antigen. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/24067-antigen
- Tell Me More series: Antibodies | Public Health Ontario. (n.d.). Public Health Ontario. https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/About/News/2023/02/Antibodies-Tell-Me-More
- Immune response: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000821.htm#
- Mashhadi, N. S. (2013, April 1). Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of ginger in health and Physical activity: Review of current evidence. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/
- Tanvir, E. M., Hossen, M. S., Hossain, M. F., Afroz, R., Gan, S. H., Khalil, I., & Karim, N. (n.d.). Antioxidant Properties of Popular Turmeric(Curcuma longa)Varieties from Bangladesh. Journal of Food Quality. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/8471785