October 13, 2022 6 min read
The immune system is arguably one of the most important systems that ensure the proper functioning of the human body. This is because the immune system acts like the “protector” of the body. Theimmune system recognizes and fights off any invading pathogens, and without it, the body will be vulnerable to attacks from viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other destructive microorganisms.
The immune system is able to perform this function optima so far its integrity is maintained. The immune system is a mesh of a vast network of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues throughout the body. All of these have different functions and, to a very large extent, are vulnerable to various medical and environmental threats, one of which is the effect of electromagnetic radiation.
The effects ofelectromagnetic radiation on human health have been the center of different scientific research and discussion. And so far, a large part of the research and studies have shown that EMf radiation is a potential threat to human health and comes with diverse adverse biological effects.
Almost every smart and telecommunication device you see around you is a potential source of EMF radiation. From microwaves oven to computers and cell phones, Bluetooth and wifi devices, television sets, hair dryers, and other electrical devices. All of these emit various amounts of EMF radiation. The effects of exposure to EMF radiation vary from mild to severe, and on the immune system, the effect can even be damaging to the immune system.
Let's talk about that!
The immune system consists of a range of components, including the:
These cells work together, through different processes, to maintain the dynamic equilibrium through the activations and inhibitions of signals and adapt the response to environmental cues. As we have already established, the immune system allows the body to interact with the environment safely, keeping invading pathogens under control.
As you must already know, the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the immune system depend on frequency, amplitude, and duration of exposure, as well as on the characteristics of the targeted cell types. Now, to better understand this, we will first have to consider thebasic mechanism of actions and function of the immune system.
Basically, white cells move around the blood, looking for pathogens. When they find any, white blood cells send signals to other protective cells of the body. For effectiveness, the immune cells must be able to distinguish healthy cells from unhealthy ones. It does this by recognizing signals called DAMPS — danger-associated molecular patterns.
The body cells can get damaged due to different reasons, including;
Also, there is a substance called an antigen. An antigen is a substance that triggers the immune system to produce antibodies against it simply because your body does not recognize it. Antigens can be anything, including toxins, chemicals, bacteria, viruses, etc. Body cells and tissues that are damaged and cancerous also have antigens on them that can cause an immune response. Once these antigens are spotted, the immune system launches an attack immediately.
Although there is more to the functioning of this system that basically surmises how the system works, now that we are clear on that, let’s look at the effects of EMF on innate immunity.
Humans are continually exposed to different stressors. By humans, we mean the body cells. This exposure can disrupt the normal functioning of these and increase cell vulnerability. The immune system releases certain substances to cope with these stressors and maintain the cells’ integrity.Heat Shock Proteins, HSPs, are part of the first line of protection for cells exposed to stressful conditions. Most HSPs are rapidly over-expressed in response to cellular injuries, including genotoxic stress.
Although these HSPs are part of the immune response, too much secretion can result in ina adverse effects. According to diverse research, electromagnetic radiation can also be a stressor in vitro and in vivo systems. In fact, a number of studies suggest that ELF-MF exposure can activate the cellular stress response and cause increased HSPs expression, both on the mRNA and the protein levels. Now, this is not a good thing!
Astudy revealed that increased secretion of HSPs causes precipitate damage to the intestinal morphology and structure; it impairs intestinal digestion and absorption capacity, antioxidant capacity, and intestinal mucosal barrier function. More so,due to the overexpression of heat shock proteins in a wide range of human cancer, they have been associated with tumor cell proliferation, invasion, and differentiation.
Another protein that plays an integral role in the body’s immune response is the cytokine. Cytokines regulate immune responses to infections and disease. Basically, cytokines regulate inflammation. Inflammation is key to your body’s immune response. There are thousands of inflammatory cells in the body, and whenever there is an injury or infection, these cells travel to the site and produce inflammation. Hence, it is safe to say that cytokines are very important for the body’s health.
The effects of low-frequency electromagnetic radiation on cytokines can be both beneficial and harmful. However, most scientific studies have tended toward the harmful side of the effects. In a study, it was revealed that, upon long-term exposure,low-density ELF-EMF might cause a decrease in the adaptive immune response. This simply means there is a possible decrease in the sensitivity and response of the inflammatory cells.
More so,EMF radiation has been revealed to cause disruptions of many allergic and inflammatory responses and even tissue repair processes. These disruptions can lead to different health anomalies, including cancer, neurological disorders, and other adverse biological effects.
Natural killer cells are innate immune cells. They regulate immune responses to different bacterial and viral infections. Basically, they work by limiting the spread and extent of the damage caused by microbial infections. NK cells can differentiate between infected and uninfected host cells. This way, they attack the infected cells or maybe just keep them in check a more specific immune cell that can eliminate them is produced.
Sadly, according to research,exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic radiation may reduce and even suppress NK cell activity. A reduction in the activity of these NK cells would mean an increased vulnerability of the body to different microbial infections. Even the slightest infection can become deadly.
Neutrophils make up 40% to 70% of all human white blood cells.They are responsible for repairing damaged tissues and resolving infections. Neutrophil levels can increase or decrease in response to infections, injuries, drug treatments, certain genetic conditions, and stress. Neutrophils and some other immune cells make up your first line of defense against infections. They travel to the site of infections and eliminate the invader by either ingesting them or releasing enzymes that kill them. More so, neutrophils enhance the response of other immune cells.
Also, research has shown that it causes anincrease in neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, which further increases the damage to surrounding cells. This would mean neutrophils may destroy healthy cells in the process of fighting damaged cells.
Conclusively, technology is an unavoidable luxury in our world today. Everything we do is done almost on technological devices. And they are all potential sources of EMF radiation, including the automobiles you drive. Although the exposure from these sources might seem minimal, the accumulation of this radiation over time poses a great threat to human health. Hence, it is important you protect yourself and your loved ones from this damaging radiation.
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