Immunity is a widely discussed topic and we often hear and read different opinions about what immunity is and how to keep it in good condition.

When it comes to our health, however, unverified and subjective information given by unqualified health enthusiasts can mislead us and lead to unwanted consequences.

We are still in an intense flu season that affects adults, but also children, whose immunity is not yet firmly built, and their parents are constantly wondering what more special care they can take for them to reduce frequent illnesses.

That's why we decided to give our readers what they need - the basic important information about immunity, presented by Dr. Tsvetelina Velikova, a specialist in clinical immunology. 

1. We know that proper nutrition is the basis for obtaining the necessary substances for a healthy immune system.

Are there any foods to avoid?

Proper nutrition is of paramount importance to ensure good health of the whole organism, including the immune system.

One of the most important macronutrients for immunity are proteins, since antibodies themselves are proteins, as well as some molecules with immune function (cytokines, antimicrobial peptides and others).

Vitamins and minerals support cell metabolism extremely well, as well as that of immune cells.

When it comes to children, for example, there are no specific foods that should be avoided, but it is important that there is neither over- nor under-nutrition for a child to have a healthy immune system.

We also know that if blood sugar is not well regulated (as in diabetes), it makes it difficult for immune cells to function and suppress them.

2. Can we always get the necessary nutrients only through food?

Theoretically it is possible, in practice - also.

Difficulties sometimes come when the child does not like all the foods offered.

I would say that it is wonderful that medicine has advanced so far that we can do various blood tests that can point us to a deficiency or deficiency before there are any symptoms of disease, before the clinical picture has developed or complications have occurred.

In these cases, available supplements/nutritional supplements come to our aid, with which we can support our nutrition and that of our children if necessary.

3. What is the difference in the immune system of children compared to that of adults?

First of all, a child's immune system is not a scale model of an adult's.

We see both quantitative and qualitative differences.

In addition to the immaturity of the body, children have a different number of immune cells than adults (neutrophils, lymphocytes, etc.).

This should not scare parents because it is normal.

During the first months and years of a child's life, the immune system has not yet encountered all disease-causing microorganisms, and when it does, infection usually occurs.

We can say that up to the age of 2, children's immunity has difficulties to deal with microorganisms whose antigens are carbohydrates, not proteins.

Because the child's immune system is naive.

Antibodies (so-called immunoglobulins) are also not produced in sufficient quantities by B lymphocytes.

The production of antibodies (immunoglobulins IgA,

IgG and IgM) reaches this stage in adults only at puberty.

Until then, children, as a rule, suffer more from various infections than adults.

There is also a similarity between the immune system of babies and people of very old age - they say that life begins and ends with a relative immune deficiency.

And while in children this is due to immaturity and functional insufficiency, in very old people the immune deficiency is related to the depletion and aging of the immune system and its limitation to activate when needed.

4. Is it true that the mental state is directly related to immunity as well as the physical?

It's absolutely true. If by mental health we mean the absence of illness and stress, then we know that avoiding stress or learning ways to cope with it is key to having a healthy immune system for us and our children.

Hormones that are released during stress (acute or chronic) strongly suppress the immune system.

Nowadays, we seem to be used to stress, but in fact we have to teach ourselves and our children to deal with it and limit its consequences on the overall health of the body and our immune system.

There is little disagreement in the science regarding physical activity.

It is believed that moderate physical activity is good for immunity because it improves blood circulation and hence the access of immune cells and molecules to all organs and tissues in the body.

Weightlifters, however, can be immunosuppressed due to a variety of factors.

5. Immunostimulators and immunomodulators, what is the difference?

Immunomodulators are a large group of drugs that affect the immune system - they can suppress it, stimulate it, modulate it, complement it, etc.

Immunostimulants are substances that enhance certain functions of the immune system or increase the number and percentage of certain immune cells and immune molecules.

We have too few drugs that are true immunostimulators, and more supplements that affect immune functions.

In order to choose a specific immunomodulator/stimulator, it is necessary to carefully assess the child's condition, the pattern of illness (what infections, what causative agents, how often, which organs, etc.) in order to prescribe an appropriate immunomodulation.

Sometimes deficiencies or insufficiency of vitamins and minerals are found, which are important for immune functions.

Such are, for example, vitamin D and zinc.

In these cases, supplementation is recommended to optimize the functioning of the immune system as well.

It is important to be well informed about matters related to our health.

But it is equally important to trust only reliable sources of information and specialists.

Dr. Velikova answered some of the most frequently asked questions about immunity in an accessible and interesting way.

As we learned from her, in addition to quality and healthy food, peace of mind and emotional support to keep our children healthy and energetic, it is sometimes a good idea to include in their diet supplements that support their immune system throughout the year.

This is precisely the mission of Sun Wave Pharma in creating RinoSun and Immunis - two products inspired by children's health and intended entirely and only for children.

Armed with the right information, nothing can stop us from becoming the best (and healthiest) version of ourselves.

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