Reinforcing the inmune system: the best prevention against viruses
Unfortunately, we are living in times when the word “virus” sets off global alarm bells. The coronavirus has strained health systems the world over and reinforced a scientific maxim: the importance of prevention and preparing an immune system that is resilient against external aggression. It’s not a matter of curing, because there are viruses so aggressive that any previous action may be useless. Instead it’s a matter of anticipating action and preparing strong defence mechanisms.
A virus is an external pathogen composed of genetic material and proteins that, when it enters the body’s cells, multiplies and causes alterations and pathologies in different organs or systems. There are many types: respiratory, gastrointestinal, liver, neurological, skin, multisystemic and others. Their violence and severity vary and the key is in the strength of our immune systems.
This is our most powerful defence mechanism to prevent or combat the action of a virus. “It is divided into an innate (nonspecific) or adaptive (specific) system. We are born with some defences and acquire others throughout our lives in response to external agents such as viruses. The body does it using a humoral system of antibodies or a cellular system of lymphocytes and macrophages,” explains Óscar Mayorga, a medical doctor and director of the Regenerative Medicine Unit at SHA Wellness Clinic.
When a pathogen attacks the body reacts by neutralising the virus, bacteria or parasite and destroying it. “However, these agents can cause damage and produce symptoms depending on the affected organ system, such as general malaise, secretions or inflammations. Even death. Especially if we have a low level in our system. What we call an immunodeficiency,” says Mayorga.
The virus as a threat
A virus becomes a threat when the immune system’s response is inadequate, and the virus affects vital organs and systems that threaten our lives. “This is what happens with new microorganisms appear due to mutations of existing or new species, for which our immune system is not prepared,” says Mayorga.
By definition prevention should be the first thing you do and this is SHA’s focus in all its preventive medicine programmes..
The power of regenerative therapy
A strong immune system will always be better able to cope with a crisis than a weak one. Regenerative therapies, as the name implies, aim to regenerate tissues or organs. They do this by applying molecules, proteins and cells from the patient’s own body, such as blood plasma, exosomes and stem cells from fat, bone marrow or other tissues, such as cartilage.
“In addition to stimulating the immune system, when these types of treatments are applied systemically, they regenerate our affected tissues, such as the skin, joints or organs such as the pancreas and help and stimulate insulin production in cases of diabetes, especially Type Two diabetes. Likewise, regenerative effects have been found in neurodegenerative pathologies,” notes Mayorga.
Stress and inappropriate habits
Stress or an inappropriate lifestyle, with a poor or unhealthy diet, are some of the main causes of impaired immune systems. “Usually, they weaken it and allow it to not respond adequately to external attacks,” says Mayorga.
Stress is a physiological reaction that manifests in our body in response to some external demand. It can prepare us physically and psychologically to face a danger or threat, from a minor concern to a conflict. It can even be beneficial if it helps us meet our daily goals, whether work or personal. But it becomes a problem when the stress is prolonged over time and stops being helpful and becomes chronic.
In clinical immunology, the basis of SHA Wellness Clinic’s practice, we have several therapies that can combat stress in the first instance: strengthening our immune system and fighting against those agents that weaken it. They include nutritional supplements, trace elements or vitamins to allopathic and natural therapies and medicines that strengthen our defences. There are also therapies such as ozone, which stimulates the immune system, as well as immunotherapy of different levels of complexity that directly stimulate the humoral and cellular responses.
“In regenerative medicine, we use stem cell therapy that produces an immunomodulation, activating a cellular and humoral response in cases of immunodeficiency or autoimmunity,” says Mayorga.