Our bodies have different defence systems against the damage that the environment itself causes to our health. In this sense, natural immunomodulators play a key role in protecting our organism, as they are capable of detecting those elements that may pose a threat to our bodies’ well-being.
In pharmacological terms, there are many alternatives that can help boost immune responses. However, we can also find immunomodulators of natural origin that can help us to have a much stronger system. Keep reading this new Catalysis post in which we will discuss the importance of these protective agents, their benefits and how to access them.
Immunomodulators: a strong and regulated body
The intelligence of the human body is enormous. Within it, we have different molecules, organs and tissues that are designed to alert and combat any biological (viruses or bacteria) or physicochemical threats from the environment that may be harmful for us.
When a pathogen enters the body, the first defence systems are activated to detect it and determine how to combat it. At this point, several stages of action come into play, in which an early adaptive immune system begins to set up a whole mechanism to locate and destroy the antigen.
When the network of lymphocytes (immune cells) comes into action, it seeks to locate the antigen and other cells store this threat in their memory, so that in the future they will know how to deal with it quickly and on a massive scale.
In a nutshell, this is how a strong immune system works. However, in the presence of more aggressive antigens, or simply to help the system respond effectively, immunomodulators come into play as an extra and essential source of this complex defence system of the body.
What are immunomodulators?
Immunomodulators are molecules of both natural and synthetic origin that help the immune system of a particular organism to regulate itself. In other words, they help the body react in a better way to a threat.
Moreover, they also facilitate the work of immune system molecules, allowing the other part of the system that is responsible of fighting the antigen (the adaptive immune system) to do its job optimally when the antigen-detecting inflammation occurs.
Helping our bodies with natural immunomodulators
Although we are well aware that pharmaceuticals are products made in a concentrated form to act efficiently and quickly when a problem occurs in our bodies, natural products are also another original source to turn to.
If we consider plants and other natural foods, several studies have demonstrated the presence of components that are able to regulate different functions in our bodies.
These plants, fungi and other related foods, that have been called “functional foods”, have been extensively researched in order to find those components that could be truly effective for our bodies.
Although the studies are not fully conclusive, we can mention some plants and foods that help the immune system stand out, such as aloe vera, echinacea and even cat’s claw, to name a few.
Exploring some natural immunomodulators
Whether directly or by taking their components out of them and modifying them to serve as extra additives in the creation of synthetic immunomodulators, natural immunomodulators are an excellent choice for both traditional medicine and some other alternative uses.
Examples of natural immunomodulators include the following:
Echinacea is a group of plants native to the central regions of the United States. Among the species most commonly used in medical treatments, we find Angustifolia, Pallida and Purpurea.
The efficacy of this plant lies in the fact that some clinical trials have demonstrated its benefits as an immunomodulatory plant, capable of reducing the effects of flus and the common cold, as well as being an effective and proven antiseptic and analgesic.
Echinacea and the components obtained from it -especially from its roots- act on immunocompetent cells, such as lymphocytes, macrophages and monocytes, helping to activate the protective mechanism of our bodies against viruses and bacteria.
Studies have shown that garlic has many medicinal properties. The garlic plant belongs to the Liliaceae family, native to Central Asia. Its bulbs, besides being widely used in gastronomy, also have many therapeutic benefits. Among them, we can highlight that it is an excellent antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic and, of course, immunomodulator.
Also, garlic has some elements that can proliferate the action of lymphocytes and macrophage phagocytosis, which make it a perfect stimulator of the activity of the cells that fight our body’s antigens.
Another one of the best known natural immunomodulators is aloe vera, a plant native to Africa. Its presence has spread throughout the world due to its use as a medicinal agent to treat numerous diseases.
Between the most remarkable properties of the compounds in aloe vera, its function as a modulator of the immune response stands out because it is capable of increasing mononuclear cells, the phagocytic capacity of macrophages and also helps in the production of cytokines. All of these are fundamental to our bodies’ immune system.
Commonly known as “cat’s claw”, this plant has been considered since ancient times as a very effective formula for the treatment of various ailments, such as gastrointestinal problems.
Its use, either naturally or as a component in drugs and vaccines, increases phagocytic activity. This helps the production of neutrophilic granulocytes and interferons, which are precisely those that detect the presence of antigens in our bodies.
Thanks to the presence of purified oxindole alkaloids in its composition, cat’s claw has been able to achieve excellent results in treatments that inhibit the proliferation of tumour cells.
Several studies have shown cat’s claw to be one of the best natural immunomodulators on Earth because it fully stimulates the immune system and promotes an increase in leukocytes.
Natural immunomodulators and pharmacological medicine
Some natural immunomodulators are studied to be applicated in vaccines against specific pathogens in populations or targeted treatments. This is the case of squalene-tween 80, a derivative extracted from shark liver, as well as sorbitan trioleate, used in the creation of vaccines against diseases such as influenza. It is fully approved by the European Union.
As we can see, the aim of the project is to broaden and deepen the study of natural immunomodulators as another method to stimulate the immune system and to seek methods that can not only treat diseases, but also react much earlier, so that any type of pathogen that could damage our health and generate complications can be detected in time.
In Catalysis, we always recommend using nutricional complements that favour the immune system to enhance its biological, molecular and natural properties in a safe and effective way. Do not hesitate to visit our website to get yours or ask us about them to provide you with the information you need.