This article covers white blood cells (Hunters), how they work, what the Covid19 vaccines are doing and what micronutrients should be in your diet or supplement to support your hunters. We are going to focus on the white blood cells called: B-Cells, Natural Killer (NK) cells and T-Cells, all members of the lymphocyte class of white blood cells. Given the prevalence of COVID19, we will cover that virus in detail but the ideas apply to all pathogen types.
How does our body know the difference between friend (healthy cells that belong) or a foe (in this case a virus in our blood or a cell that has been infected by the virus)?
All living cells and viruses have unique proteins on their surface that make them a member of that class of cell/virus. These unique proteins act like a key and are called antigens. A lock is a chemical receptor that the key fits into.
The Innate Immune System- Natural Killer (NK) Cells
NK cells are part of our first line of defense, trained to look for and recognize friends. If they encounter an object, they look for the antigens/keys on the surface. If you have the "friend" key they leave you alone but if you don't they move in for the kill and release signals back to the immune system that there is a foe in town but we have no idea who it is.
The Adaptive Immune System- B-Cells & T-Cells
B-Cells are trained to look for and recognize foes. They look for the specific key that says "hey this one is the COVID19 virus". There are approximately 10 billion B-Cells floating around adults, each B-Cell variant looking for one and only one key indicating that specific virus is back in town. It works like this:
- A B-Cell with the COVID19 key finds a lock that it can open
- The B-Cell release SOS signals that COVID19 is here.
- Helper Cells trigger the immune system to rapidly make more B-Cells with the COVID Key and release these into the bloodstream
- The flood of B-Cells in turn release a flood of "fake locks" or antibodies that match the key. Antibodies mate with antigen that the virus is using to open up healthy cells hence preventing the virus's key from finding a real lock to open.
- The SOS signal also triggers a flood of NK cells to be released from our reserves and we pump up production of new ones to search for targets that don't have the "friend" password.
- For most pathogens, the combination of B-Cells and NK cells together with other parts of the white blood cell system is sufficient to fight off the pathogen before it can infect healthy cells.
What happens if the virus is new or manages to infect a healthy cell where the NK cells or B-Cell induced antibodies can't reach them?
Once a virus enters a cell we need a new layer of defense. This role falls to the T-Cell. Like B-cells, there are specific T-Cells hanging around each trained to hunt a one virus and activated when it recognizes the unique antigen/key on the surface of the infected cell.
If the virus is in our database, the B-Cell SOS signals instruct the thymus to accelerate production of the T-Cell that has the right key.
If the virus is new, the adaptive system has to learn how to make the B-Cells and T-Cells that work against that virus which takes 3-6 days. The Thymus is our training center for developing new B-Cell and T-Cells.
Covid 19- How the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine work?
These vaccines inject a piece of the mRNA that creates the antigen(key) the virus uses to unlock healthy cells. This structure triggers the innate system that a new foe is in town in turn revving up the thymus to start training new B-Cells and T-Cells. ( This process is beyond the scope of this article).
When the second dose is taken, the immune system is ready to respond in force. In this case, the virus is "fake" but mimics the antigens and antibodies that the real virus uses to infiltrate our healthy cells.
What micronutrients are needed to make hunters?
To function properly we need to to protect the thymus's ability to train new B & T Cells to rapidly increase production of the inventory of the B & T Cells needed to overwhelm and take out the virus.
And there is the rub.
The capacity of the thymus starts to erode after the age of 19-20. This is why COVID10 is especially damaging to seniors as the thymus's training center and production capacity has eroded. The thymus is degraded by mitochondrial dysfunction caused by Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which we will cover at length in the last chapter of this series - Power.
Antioxidants mitigate surplus ROS helping to protect your thymus' ability to train new B & T-Cells as well as stamp out lots of copies on demand. Vaccines are helping the aging thymus train new cells but do nothing to help B-Cell and T-Cell production itself.
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been tied to poor T cell production in the Thymus and vulnerability to the COVID 19 virus.
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