Tuesday , April 13 2021

Immune Deficiency and Amino Acids

The immune system is composed of multiple types of cells, tissues, organs and proteins. The primary function of the immune system is to distinguish between self and non-self (foreign). When something that is non-self, or foreign, is encountered, the immune system attacks it to help prevent infection or other injury. Immune deficiency conditions occur when the immune system is unable to do its job.
Immune deficiency conditions can be present at birth as a result of genetic defects in any of the components of the immune system. Such conditions are called primary immune deficiencies. Immune deficiencies can also be acquired as a result of aging, diabetes, infections, cancer treatments, or medications. There are more than 150 types of primary immune deficiencies, affecting approximately 500,000 people in the United States. (Source: NIAID).
Recurrent infections in infancy and childhood may be the first indication of a primary immune deficiency. Although reducing exposure to infectious agents and treating infections are important in managing immune deficiency conditions, several primary immune deficiencies can now be treated through replacement of defective immune system components. As a result of advances in treatment, children with potentially fatal primary immune deficiencies are now living into adulthood.
Seek prompt medical care if you, or someone you are with, develop frequent infections, have persistent infections, or develop abscesses. You should also seek prompt medical care if you have an immune deficiency condition and sustain an injury or are exposed to an infectious disease.
Infections that develop in those with immune deficiency conditions can be severe or even life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, develop serious symptoms, such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe difficulty breathing, rapid heart or respiratory rate, chest pain, change in level of consciousness or mental status, severe diarrhea, seizures, weak pulse, decreased urine output, or bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails.
What are the symptoms of immune deficiency conditions?
Immune deficiency conditions weaken the body’s ability to fight off infection. Symptoms include frequent infections, severe infections, infections that don’t respond to conventional treatment, and recurrent infections. Repeated infections in children can interfere with nutrition, leading to failure to gain weight, weight loss, slow growth, and slow development. Chronic sinusitis and bronchitis are also commonly associated with immune deficiency conditions.
Common symptoms of immune deficiency conditions
Symptoms of immune deficiency conditions are generally due to the body’s inability to fight off infections. Common symptoms include:
• Abscess formation
• Chronic bronchitis or sinusitis
• Developmental delays and failure to thrive
• Failure to gain weight or unintended weight loss
• Fatigue
• Fevers and chills
• Frequent serious or opportunistic infections
• Growth problems in children
• Infections that do not respond to conventional treatment
• Persistent or recurrent infections
• Repeated hospitalizations for infection
• Swollen lymph glands
Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition
In some cases, immune deficiency conditions can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:
• Bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails
• Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
• Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, palpitations
• High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
• Not producing any urine, or an infant who does not produce the usual amount of wet diapers
• Paralysis or inability to move a body part
• Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
• Respiratory or breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, choking
• Seizure
• Severe headache
• Weak pulse
What causes immune deficiency conditions?
Many immune deficiency conditions are genetic. Some can be traced to a single gene, while others result from multiple abnormal genes. Genetic immune deficiency conditions are called primary immune deficiencies.
Immune deficiency conditions can also be acquired. These can result from aging, diabetes, cancer treatments that decrease the production of immune cells, medications that suppress the immune system, and infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that affect the immune system.
What are the risk factors for immune deficiency conditions?
A number of factors increase the risk of developing immune deficiency conditions. Not all people with risk factors will get immune deficiency conditions. Risk factors for immune deficiency conditions include:
• Advanced age
• Certain chemotherapy drugs
• Diabetes
• Family history of an immune deficiency condition
• Intravenous drug use
• Multiple blood or blood product transfusions
• Radiation therapy
• Steroid use
• Unsafe sexual practices
• Use of immunosuppressants to prevent rejection of transplanted organs or tissues or to control an over-active immune system
What are the potential complications of
immune deficiency conditions?
Complications of untreated or poorly controlled immune deficiency conditions can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of immune deficiency conditions include:
• Adverse effects of treatment (blood transfusion,
bone marrow transplant)
• Cancer
• Development of autoimmune diseases
• Opportunistic infections (infections by organisms
that don’t typically cause infections)
• Permanent breathing problems
• Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)
• Severe infections
• Spread of infection
Amino Acids and the Immune System
It is widely accepted that amino acids play a key role in regulating the body’s immune response. When the body experiences amino acid (protein) deficiency it can result in not only a weak immune system, but a loss of antibody production, fatigue, stomach acid/alkaline imbalance, dizziness/nausea, water retention, and infertility.
Amino Acids are the “building Blocks” of the body. When protein is broken down by digestion the result is 22 known amino acids. Eight are essential (cannot be manufactured by the body) the rest are non-essential (can be manufactured by the body with proper nutrition). Sometimes the non-essential should still be supplemented to ensure an optimal available quantity.
Replenishing amino acids is one of the preferred treatments options for autoimmune diseases. To learn more about immune deficiencies and the role amino acids play, call our office today at 352-750-4333 to schedule a consultation.

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