The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect and defend the body from infection from disease-producing microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites that live in our environment. 1,2
The immune system includes antibodies, white blood cells, tonsils and thymus, lymph nodes and vessels, bone marrow, the spleen, and other chemicals and proteins that are able to recognize bacteria and viruses that are not part of the body’s normal healthy tissues. 4
However, when the immune system is weakened or not functioning properly, an individual is more likely to get sick; or develop disease or chronic illness.
The nervous system plays an important role in both the control and activity of the immune response.
Dr. Robert Ader, a psychologist at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, performed key experiments to prove the brain-nervous system immune system connection. His findings summarized: 2,3
1.) Nerve endings are found in the tissues of the immune system
The central nervous system (CNS) is linked to both the bone marrow and thymus where immune system cells are produced and developed and to the spleen and lymph nodes, where those cells are stored.
2.) Changes in the CNS alter immune responses and triggering immune response alters CNS activity
Inducing an immune response causes nerve cells in the hypothalamus to become more active and the brain cell activity peaks at the same time that levels of antibodies are at their highest. The brain monitors immunological changes closely.
3.) Lymphocytes are chemically responsive to hormones and neurotransmitters
Immune system cells have receptor-molecular structures on their surfaces that allow them to receive information from the nervous system to other parts of the immune system.
A properly functioning nervous system should be the first priority in strengthening the immune system, since it is the nervous system which controls all of our bodily functions.
The nervous system works by sending and receiving messages or impulses to all parts of the body. However when vertebrae become misaligned, interference to the nerve impulse occurs, which reduces the overall functioning of the nervous system and the particular organ to which it is assigned.
An evaluation by an upper cervical chiropractor may help you discover if you have a misalignment in the neck that could be contributing to a weakened immune system. If so, a specialized upper cervical chiropractic procedure could help boost your immune system and reduce the amount of time that you spend with your tissues and cough drops this winter!
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease https://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/immunesystem/Pages/default.aspx
- Wassung, Keith. Challenging the Theory of Artificial Immunity.
- Wassung, Keith. Children’s Immune System.
- WebMd http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/components-of-the-immune-system