Two systems working hand in hand

Our immune system is one of the most complex systems in our body and is specialised in defence. It can be divided into two cooperating defence mechanisms, which are linked together in various ways.

The non-specific immune system doesn’t fight specific agents or have an immunological memory but instead serves as a more general protective system. On the other hand, the specific immune system develops over the years, saving its knowledge about specific microbes over time in the so-called “immunological memory”.

The non-specific immune system: Fast and wide-ranging

We are born with an intact defence system called the non-specific immune system, also known as innate immunity. It continually works to safeguard against the diverse number of external agents we encounter in daily life.

This entire system forms the first line of defence. It is made up of barriers, e.g., the skin and mucous membranes, and first responder cells, e.g., natural killer T-cells, which search out and destroy foreign cells quickly and indiscriminately. The non-specific immune system has no immunological memory and thus provides more general protection.

The specific immune system: Adaptive and targeted

We also have a defence system that is developed gradually over the years as the body is exposed to potential pathogens and learns how to handle them. This is known as the specific immune system or acquired immunity.

Helper T-cells and cytotoxic T-cells make up an army of cells trained to target specific microbes based on the information stored in the so-called “immunological memory”. This store of information continues to grow throughout our lives. In the case of an adverse event, the immune response is triggered - setting these immune cells off to battle the cause.

The role of Vitamin D

Unlike other vitamins, the body can produce vitamin D itself. For this reason, it doesn’t act like most vitamins in our bodies, but instead more like a hormone – a messenger substance that regulates essential physiological processes.

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