INFLAMMATION, IMMUNITY: Not too many years ago inflammation was simply equated with localized swelling, redness, warmth. It was thought to be a typical response to a physical injury. The positive spin was that it was your body’s focusing the necessary tools to the site of the injury to assist in the healing process. But over the last couple of decades inflammation has become synonymous with so much more. It has turned out to be one of the most universal long-term risk factors for health. While localized temporary inflammation does, in fact, support the repair of an injury, inflammation is now known to have the ability to become chronic, where it represents a risk to almost every organ and major biological and biochemical process in your body.
To complicate matters further, science has now discovered that there are significant genetic components to this more generalized and potentially more damaging form of inflammation. There are gene variants – called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs (pronounced “snips”), that leave the body more susceptible to inflammation. The good news is, there are nutritional ingredients that have been equally scientifically validated that support a healthy inflammation response. So eating the right diet, and ingesting more of these specific nutrients, supports your body’s working to keep these systems functioning in an optimal fashion.
Immunity is an even broader concept. And there are multiple forms of immunity. For example, active immunity is generally considered to be at work when your body has been exposed to something and has developed antibodies to help your body defend against that same pathogen again. This could be from exposure to the pathogen, or as a response to some signaling mechanism in an immunization.
Passive immunity is similar, but as the name implies, it is passive in that your body didn’t have to develop the antibodies, it received them. A good example would be the immunity passed from a mother to a child in the mother’s milk at childbirth.
A third type is often referred to as natural immunity. This is immunity that does not require sensitization to an antigen. For example, humans are innately immune to distemper, a malady that affects dogs.
The fourth type of immunity is artificial immunity. Like active immunity, this results from exposure to the actual disease but unlike the definition of “active,” which is considered derived from an accidental exposure, “artificial” is deliberate. It is where a person is deliberately exposed to small quantities of the disease or pathogen.