Supporting Human Health - The Immunomodulator
January 15, 2021 - Dr. Muhammad Muhktar
Herbs and the body's defence system . One of the ways the body defend itself is to make the body itself resistant to disease to become immune from attack by viruses , cancer cells , bacteria , fungi , and parasites. Our immune system is crucial in these times , not only in medicine, but in our daily living . There are three levels of herbal activity . (1) Deep immune activation (2) surface immune activation , and (3) adaptogrns and hormonal modulators. Deep immune activators are plants that impact the immunological process within tissues that do the work , they are known as immunomodulators. . Just as a family support each other, so the different systems of the body work together . Patrick Delves - Grenada Herbalist
WRITTEN BY DR. MUHAMMAD MUHKTAR, NOTED GOOGLE SCHOLAR AND RESEARCHER
Immunomodulators are compounds modulating the human immune system (1). To better understand immunomodulators, it is essential to understand the immune system and why it needs modulation.
The immune system is comprised of a natural and adaptive defense system protecting the human body from infectious and non-infectious ailments. An example of a natural component of the immune system is human skin protecting us from dangerous microorganisms and compounds present in the environment.
The adaptive system comes into play when a microorganism or any other hazardous element gets access into the body, and then the adaptive immune system kicks in. This system is highly intricate and involves the production of molecules like antibodies and various cells that eliminate dangerous microbe or any toxic element in the body.
Normal functioning of the human immune system is necessary for healthy living. The immune system gets weakened with specific diseases, and under such circumstances, the human body falls prey to a variety of infections.
To keep the human immune system healthy and fully functional and sometimes enhance its efficiency, there is a need for certain compounds known as immunomodulators that regulate this protective system for the human body's benefits (2).
What are immunomodulators?
Based on the above intro, we can now define an immunomodulator as a compound that helps the human body strengthen the body's innate and adaptive defense systems, thus keeping us healthy. There is a variety of immunomodulators used to treat both infectious and non-infectious diseases. Of importance, immunomodulators are available in both natural and synthetic forms.
It is important to clarify here that immunomodulators are sometimes enhancing the functional capacity of the immune system, like elevating the number of immune cells capable of fighting with the disease during immunodeficiency disorders, whereas, in certain conditions, hyperimmune activity is harmful to the human body and immunomodulators are required to control hyperactivity of the immune system.
There are two major groups of immunomodulators.
Particularly in viral infections, there is a reduction in the body cells involved in providing immunity to the human body. Under such circumstances, immunomodulators come into play for rescuing the human body from infection. One such glaring example is an immunomodulator recombinant interleukin 7 (IL7) that enhances the CD4 and CD8 cells among patients suffering from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome caused by HIV leads to the depletion of these cells, and their restoration brings a better quality of life for the people suffering from this infection.
Likewise, in other viral infections, various compounds like Vitamin D supplementation have been reported to strengthen the human body's immune system through its immune modulation properties.
The history of natural immune modulators dates to time immemorial. Several dietary ingredients have been described in ancient medicine to exert health-promoting effects through their immunomodulatory properties.
One such Nigella sativa seeds and its preparations in various forms like oil extract etc., is considered as the safest immune regulatory product. Of importance, immune modulation is a complex procedure involving several molecules in the human body.
Here it is pertinent to describe a US patent claiming “A method for activating immune-competent cells in humans to increase the immune function in humans, the immune-competent cells being selected from the group consisting of CD19, HLA-DR, NKCD3-/CD56+ and CD38, the method comprising administering to humans an effective dose of an extract from Nigella sativa at a concentration which is effective to activate the immune-competent cells by reducing the presence of interferon inhibitor factor or lymphokine inhibitor factor (3).”
This patent describes that administering 20 -40 grams of Nigella sativa extract (30 grams optimal) increases the antibody production necessary for fighting the infectious organisms and controlling deleterious effects in non-infectious and chronic diseases.
Also Read on How Nigella Sativa Improves the Immunity
How do immunomodulators work?
As we discussed above, the immune system's two components protecting the human body from various ailments are natural and adaptive. The adaptive system of the human body is associated with health conditions. Sometimes if a person is not feeling healthy, his/her immune system might not be functioning correctly. Here come the immunomodulators. Immunomodulators strengthen the human body's immune system to fight infections and diseases damaging to the human body.
There is a wide list of autoimmune diseases in which the immune cells consider our body cells a danger (it involves faulty signaling mechanisms). For example, in Behcet disease, the flawed immune system is associated with blood vessels' inflammation throughout the human body. It manifests in several forms, including mouth sores, eye inflammation, skin rashes, and genital sores. Various immunomodulators like colchicine, dapsone, tacrolimus, including several others, rectify human body symptoms from the dangerous over-reactive immune system.
Future of Immunomodulators
An article published by the Data Bridge Market Research on 18th March 2021 entitled "Global immunomodulators market explosive growth and key trends analysis," several pharmaceuticals' giants like Pfizer Inc, BioRap Technologies, and Step-Pharma have been identified as significant players besides several others (4).
However, it is essential to keep in mind that natural immunomodulators are considered relatively safer than the synthetic ones. Notably, the US National Institute of Health precision nutrition initiative is already looking into the dietary ingredients contributing towards better qualify of life and health, which entails modulation of body immunity (5).
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