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Reference Guide
Immune System

Immune System

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With 70-80% of immune cells (such as macrophages, T-cells, and dendritic cells) found in the gut along with the large number of beneficial bacteria, the strength of the immune system is strongly associated with gut microbiome health. Immune system testing focuses on measuring the presence and levels of cells important to its functioning such as antibodies, lymphocytes, and white blood cells. Some tests include Cyrex's GAM - Total Serum IgG/IgA/IgM, Access Medical Labs' Immunoglobulins Panel, and more.

The immune system is the human body’s defense system, encompassing specific organs, white blood cells, protein antibodies (immunoglobulins), and the lymphatic system. It protects against disease and infection, and supports healing when injury occurs. Immune system organs include the thymus gland, spleen, tonsils, appendix, and bone marrow, with researchers citing the intestinal tract as being the largest immune organ. 

To protect the body, the immune system recognizes threats, initiates an attack, and recognizes when to end the assault. Threats can be invading microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, parasites, cancer cells, or substances that can enter the body which may not always be harmful such as pollen. For example, an allergic response to pollen is the immune system overreacting to a usually harmless foreign entity. Autoimmune disorders arise when the immune system attacks its own cells. With an immune system response, antibodies (immunoglobulins/Ig) are produced triggered by the source deemed a threat. 

What do Immune System Tests measure?

Immune system tests analyze samples of blood for various components important for immunity including antibodies and various lymphocytes and white blood cells. Various testing panels are available through Rupa Health with some examples including:

Along with immune system testing, a physical examination and immune health history are helpful in determining the status of the overall immune system, and potentially identifying concerns for treatment and improvement. Additional tests may include a complete blood count (CBC), metabolic assessment, and micronutrient testing. As the gut microbiome is significant to immune system functioning, additional assessment of gut health is beneficial.

Treatment Plans

Maintaining and improving immune system functioning is beneficial to overall health and wellness. Treatment plans can include:

  • Diet to support gut microbiome which includes high-fiber, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats
  • Supplements to support immunity such as vitamins C and D, zinc, and probiotics
  • Eliminating alcohol and processed foods
  • Abstaining from smoking and alcohol as they can weaken the immune system
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Reducing stress 
  • Getting adequate physical activity

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