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Written Assignment #5: Immune System (10 pts)

Due October 18th, 2018 in class

Read the article, “How to boost your immune system: what can you do?” This article is posted
on Canvas. Using the information in the article, answer the following questions.

Do not copy directly from the article (meaning DO NOT PLAGIARIZE). Provide answers in your

1. We often use the phrase, “boosting your immune system,” but in reality, this idea doesn’t
make much scientific sense. Why not? (1 point)

The immune system is tremendously complicated. Boosting your immune system in

general doesn’t make sense scientifically as it involves a complex network of cells, tissues and
organs, all working in diverse ways to deal with different types of pathogens, and that makes it
respond to different factors as well.

2. What happens to our immune function as we age? At what age does the human thymus
begin to atrophy (decrease in function)? (1 point)

The body’s defense tends to get weaker as we age. Not only do we generate fewer
immune cells, the ones we currently have don’t communicate well with each other as they used
to. That may mean they take longer to react to harmful pathogens. The T cells, which attack
other illness-causing cells, decrease in production, making our immune system unable to
remember which microbes to attack and shouldn’t. Human thymus begins to decline at age 1.

3. What is micronutrient malnutrition? Describe one micronutrient and its effects (pick one of
the vitamins or trace elements). (2 points)

Micronutrient malnutrition is a condition caused by dietary deficiency of some essential

vitamins and trace minerals, which are usually common among the elderly people.

Our body produces vitamin D in response to being exposed to sunlight. It improves our
body’s resistance to certain diseases such as tuberculosis. Vitamin D plays a substantial role in
the regulation of calcium and upkeep of phosphorous in the blood, which is vital in maintaining
healthy bones. It also promotes cell growth and increases cell to cell communication.

4. Herbs and supplements may be helpful to improving the immune system, but research is still
inconclusive. Choose one herb/supplement and describe what research has found about the
use of the herb/supplement. (1 point)
Garlic has been used for centuries and some researchers suggest that it has some
infection-fighting capabilities. Studies show that it works against bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Perhaps the most promising conclusion is that study in 2006 which insinuates that it lowers the
risks of common cancer if eaten frequently.

5. Different companies advertise the utility of probiotics today. What are probiotics? What has
scientific research concluded about the effectiveness of probiotics? (2 points)

Probiotics are live microorganisms considered as good bacteria that dwell in our
digestive system, while prebiotics are nutrients that claim to be food for the good bacteria.
Finding consumer products that lists probiotics on its ingredient list is now common. Research is
still ongoing whether taking these products will improve our immune system or not. However,
extreme precaution is necessary in buying products like this as a study from 2006 suggests that
the quality of these products is inconsistent and unreliable. Some marketers have taken
extensive health claims that FDA had to intervene and monitor its food packages. Thus, the
study concludes that taking probiotic in moderation is not a bad thing at all.

6. Describe one experiment that revealed the effect of chronic stress on immune response. (1

One experiment shows that social stress is more likely destructive to our immune system
than physical stress. Some mice were repeatedly threatened by a highly aggressive mouse for a
certain amount of time for six days, while some were retained without food and water. When all
were exposed to bacteria, the socially stressed mice died first. The result of this experiment
allows us to conclude that social factors are casually related to disease susceptibility and
immune disorders.

7. How does cold temperature affect a person’s immune system? (1 point)

Bacteria and viruses make one sick, not the cold weather itself. Exposure to moderately
cold temperature doesn’t increase our vulnerability to infection, instead, staying indoors and
being in contact with other people carrying germs does.

8. Think about your daily life. What is one way that you can improve your immune system? (1

I believe time management will help me improve my immune system. I spend time with
my loved ones and family. Not only I eat healthy, I also eat on time. I sleep adequately, I work
out, I take care of my body. I go out with friends, I manage stress appropriately. I wash hands
every now and then. I eat garlic raw. I avoid cigarettes and alcohol. I stay hydrated.