Natural immunity is the antibody protection your body creates to protect you against germs and viruses.

Your body’s ability to naturally attack foreign viruses and bacteria is the best defense mechanism you have. Natural immunity protects against a variety of invaders you unknowingly confront. As your innate line of defense, it’s what helps your body stay healthy and vibrant.

Understanding Natural Immunity

Natural immunity is a state of homeostasis which offers the perfect equilibrium between organ function and health, organic unity, and soundness. Natural immunity should take precedence over externally supported immunity.

Aayushi Lakhapati, certified Nutritionist, Chief Health Officer, and co-founder at the health and wellness brand UpNourish says, “Once a disease or an infection affects an individual, their immune system works naturally by creating antibodies to protect their body from any further invasion of [similar] viruses, germs, and bacteria. On the other hand, even though vaccines have mild side effects, they defend the individual against specific diseases before the individual catches the infection.”

Immunity has become a commercial buzzword over the last two years, especially after COVID-19. As the key to fighting the virus, immunity became an important aspect o fighting for a healthy body. Immunity, whether vaccine-induced or natural, plays a crucial role in combating a variety of virus-spreading diseases.

Natural Immunity

Dr. Mickey Mehta, globally leading holistic health guru, and corporate life coach at 360 Degree Holistic Health Healing Center explains, “Natural immunity also gives rise to T-cells and B-cells. [T and B-cells support immune response]. [And in your lungs, specifically] they increase your oxygen capacity and release immunoglobulins which unnatural immunity can’t. There’s a reduced focus on natural immunity because [people] have forgotten to live in rhythm, live with the laws of nature, [and] in the lap of nature.”

What Does The Natural Immune Response Mean For COVID-19?

The John Hopkins Research on natural immunity for COVID-19 demonstrated that natural immunity (also known as hybrid immunity in this case) from getting infected by the disease does play a primary role in immune response. People developing natural antibodies showed greater chances of blocking other infections from the coronavirus family.

All COVID-19 shots induce antibodies against just one of the spike proteins and provide no T-cell immunity. “While the vaccines for COVID-19 are centralized mostly on antibodies, there are multiple coronavirus variants. The antibodies fight heavily by deterring infection and attacking Spike proteins.

We must also remember that we still need a huge number of antibodies to attack it. This is where the T-cells, the type of cells that have the highest tendency to kill viruses and fight against autoimmune diseases come into play. Even if the vaccine includes T-cells, it increases the chances of recovery and saving one from the virus but still does not compete with natural immunity as natural immunity covers a wider base,” explains Lakhapati.

The Vaccine Factor

When you’re exposed to viruses or bacteria naturally, the level of infection is often larger than the dose given in a vaccine. Your immune response becomes greater in accordance with the symptoms. “When you receive a vaccine for the same disease, then the vaccine contains controlled doses of the virus in small amounts. This is to generate a protective immune response that is controlled,” opines Dr. K. S. Satish, Consultant Pulmonologist & Chest Physician, Manipal Hospital Millers Road, Bengaluru.

Natural immunity in people who are infected with COVID-19 is in fact much higher. This is because infection provides and induces a range of immune responses to the whole virus. Vaccination only exposes you to just a part of the virus. Vaidya Shakuntala Devi, Ayurveda Expert adds, “When you are infected with a virus, your natural immunity responds by producing antibodies to the infection, and you may become ill due to the condition. But if you are exposed to that pathogen again, your body’s defenses will recognize it and attack it with antibodies. You are less likely to become infected again because of this.”  

How Can You Support Natural Immunity?

Building natural immunity takes time and it needs patience as the body’s defense is built slowly. “Increasing natural immunity does not only depend on consuming the right diet, but also physical activity, drinking an adequate amount of water, and refraining from certain enjoyable things such as junk food, says Dietician Vidhi Chawla, Founder of Fisico Diet Clinic.

Early studies found that asymptomatic people who were infected with COVID-19 exhibited only mild symptoms mounted a less-robust antibody response. It’s better to avoid any supplements and stick to a healthy diet. It’s essential to adopt healthy lifestyle modifications such as maintaining physical distancing, also known as social distancing; and practicing proper hygiene can protect you from developing COVID-19. It’s important not to undermine natural immunity. It can be your defense for much more than the coronavirus.

Bindu Gopal Rao is a freelance writer and photographer based in Bengaluru, India. She write across a variety of topics and documents her work on BinduGopalRao and on Instagram @bindugopalrao

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