Human immunity; a primer

How does human immunity from disease work? There seems to be a lot of confusion out there, even from people who should really know better. So in this post I’ll simplify things and try and keep them as easy to understand as possible. This is stuff I learned at school for heavens sake, and why this knowledge is not shared among the population baffles me.

Right; everyone has heard about antibodies and the role they play in suppressing an infection. What are they and where do antibodies come from? From type B white blood cells. Everyone has this type of blood cell unless you suffer from a rare genetic disorder.

Okay, so how do antibodies work? Antibodies against viruses work by latching on to the receptors on, say a coronavirus, and literally suffocating it, preventing the virus from latching onto certain molecular shapes in a given cell wall and doing what a virus does to reproduce, which is inject itself into the cell and use the material within that cell to xerox millions of copies of itself until the afflicted cell literally bursts. Antibodies prevent viruses doing this. That’s it. It is that simple.

Mmm, so now we know what produces antibodies and how antibodies work, how do the type B white blood cells know what kind of antibodies to reproduce? In a nutshell, type B white blood cells get genetically programmed by previous infections, a.k.a Immunological memory. The B and T white blood cells, when they reproduce, ‘remember’ the stimulus that went before and later generations (For a number of years) will produce antibodies that will block those same cell receptors. This creates immunity, whether by previous infection, genetic predisposition (natural immunity), or vaccination (Acquired immunity).

What’s this we hear about Mast-T white cells Bill? What’s that all about? There are various kinds. Some that aggressively attack a given virus in a ‘hunter-killer’ role and destroy infected cell tissue. Those that help spread the response by triggering other B and T white blood cells, known as ‘helper’ cells. And ‘memory’ cells, which ‘remember’ the right response to a given virus or bacterium and tell all the other white blood cells what to do, even when there aren’t any ‘programmed’ white blood cells left from a previous infection or vaccination. They all act together to eliminate a given disease, and even if you aren’t aware of it, do this all the time.

Which is why you should find out what your white blood cells need to remain healthy and ensure they get it. Like getting enough of the right vitamins and minerals and avoiding stress for example. Too much stress suppresses your immune system so your white blood cells don’t do their job as effectively. So if you are exposed to a given virus while under extreme stress you are liable to suffer more. Those who can ‘burn off’ the excess cortisol, say with vigorous excercise with plenty of fresh air suffer less because then their immune systems are not so compromised.

Which is why media panics and lockdowns should be avoided at all costs because they increase cortisol production in the general population and are thus injurious to the public health. This is the real science. Not the fantasy kind peddled by so-called ‘experts’ who are nothing of the kind. Governments and those who work in them should take note.

So a good stiff stroll outdoors in the park with plenty to drink, vitamins D (About 2000UI a day in northern climes) and C (About 2000UI) with the occasional top up of zinc and magnesium (Once a week, no more if your diet if deficient) should keep anyone with a song in their heart and a spring in their step whilst all the rest are falling by the wayside.

You know, it’s funny, but I feel quite relaxed now for having got that off my chest.

Trust me, I’m not an ‘expert’.



8 thoughts on “Human immunity; a primer”

    1. You do realise we’re talking prophylactic doses for deficient individuals? The extra won’t do you any harm and acts as a top up. As for the 400UI limit and warnings about kidney disease, these things, like the warnings about salt etc don’t affect normal healthy individuals who get enough sunshine, fresh air and a good diet. That’s my whole point.


  1. Source: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office Manual of Nutrition 8th edition. ISBN 0 11 241112 6
    Published 1984 but still relevant, I feel.


  2. Source: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office Manual of Nutrition 8th edition. ISBN 0 11 241112 6
    Published 1984 but still relevant, I feel.


  3. I’d be very wary of taking such a high intake of vitamin D. The official advice is 400IU a day (and I get 70% of that in my daily bowl of cornflakes). An excessive intake of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D can damage the kidneys (according to my HMSO Manual of Nutrition)


    1. Official advice? Cite your source and for which country? I’ve heard that 10,000UI a day can be harmful, 2000UI, at least in my reading of the British Data sheets (My old reference) is necessary if you live above the 50th parallel. The 400UI limit would only apply in very sunny countries like Australia where people can get the rest from being outdoors in shirtsleeves and shorts for an hour a day. In soggy old Britain, the 2000UI during Winter is an essential, especially if you work indoors in crowded environments like an office.


    2. Yes. 1984. Latest research (2014-18) indicates that an initial daily dose of 4000UI is necessary for 4 days to raise immunoglobulin levels in deficient individuals followed by a lower maintenance dose of around 2000UI in high latitudes.

      It’s acknowledged in serious medical circles that the previous levels were set way too low. Like a lot of things. Check out Dr John Campbell on Vitamin D if you’re still unsure. He makes a very good case, and unlike me, he is a real doctor.


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