What are Antibodies?
Antibodies are perhaps the most crucial component of any person's immune system. If people didn't produce antibodies, fighting off infections would be nearly impossible. Antibodies are deceptively simple proteins that the immune system starts producing when it detects antigens. Antigens constitute a very broad category, since they can include both chemicals and microorganisms.
The microorganisms that can stimulate the body to produce antibodies can include parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A wide range of chemicals can stimulate the body to produce antibodies. People will produce specific antibodies in order to fight very specific antigens. As such, all of the antibodies in a person's system are different. People cannot simply use antibodies in a general sense. The immune system is one of the systems of the body that changes the most throughout a person's life, and this is partly due to the fact that so many different antibodies are going to be created in response to all of the different antigens that people are going to encounter over the course of their lives.
The Formation and Behavior of Antibodies
They will need to use specific antibodies to fight specific antigens, largely due to the fact that these antibodies are only going to be compatible with specific antigens due to their shape. Certain chemicals are able to stimulate certain sections of the brain as a result of the fact that the will mimic the shape of the chemicals that the body is going to make under normal circumstances, and they will be compatible with the receptors in the person's brain. It is similar when it comes to antibodies and antigens. Antibodies are relatively large proteins, and they appear to have something of a 'y' shape when they are viewed with the proper imaging technology. At the tips of that 'y' structure, antibodies and antigens both look similar, which is why they are able to fit together so well.
In lots of medical literature, people are often going to see antibodies referred to as immunoglobulins. The immunoglobulinsare the proteins that act as antibodies, so there is no real difference. For the most part, antibodies are going to be carried by the blood, although they may be present in other fluids and tissues. Antibodies are specifically made by plasma cells. The immune system naturally produces B cells that become plasma cells when their antibody surfaces bind with specific antigens.
Antibodies and Medical Diagnoses
Antibodies are an extremely important part of the way that the human body manages to regulate itself in general. They are also hugely important to modern medicine both directly and indirectly. Doctors will sometimes take samples of a person's bloodstream in order to look for the presence of antibodies to see if that person is suffering from an infection, since the presence of certain antibodies could indicate that the body is trying to fight off a given infection. In other cases, the presence of antibodies directed at healthy tissue could indicate that the patient is suffering from an autoimmune disorder of some kind.
Antibodies and Autoimmune Disorders
As important as antibodies are to a person's overall health and immune function, many people are suffering from all sorts of debilitating illnesses every day as a result of overactive immune systems producing too many antibodies. The immune system can turn against the body in that way, mistaking healthy tissues or harmless substances for antigens that need to be defeated. As a result, the patients can suffer from all sorts of terrible symptoms as their bodies are attacking themselves.
Allergies are autoimmune disorders. The body is producing antibodies in response to antigens that aren't really harmful substances. People are often allergic to all sorts of chemicals, and they will generate an immune response against these chemicals in spite of the fact that it is the immune response that is actively harmful and not the original chemicals themselves. People can become allergic to almost anything, and people's allergies can actually change throughout the course of their lifetimes, which is going to make everything that much worse.
Many people who suffer from allergic reactions and severe autoimmune disorders will actually need to have their immune systems repressed as part of their treatment. It may seem somewhat counterproductive to do that, but often times, doctors and patients do not have a choice. A lot of autoimmune disorders are fairly minor, such as eczema and most types of allergies. However, some autoimmune disorders can be outright fatal if left untreated, and some of them are disabling enough that people are going to really need to take action against them in order to live something resembling a normal life.
Antibodies and Medical Treatments
Doctors and medical researchers are doing everything they can at the moment to harness the tremendous healing power of the human immune system for themselves. They are trying to create antibodies outside of the human body, and then giving them to patients so the patients are already going to have the immune response to a given condition without having to produce the antibodies themselves. Some patients actually have disorders where they do not naturally produce antibodies, and they're going to require replacement versions.
Many medical researchers are making use of the body's natural mechanisms in order to treat the sort of illnesses that the body seems unable to fight off on its own, including certain forms of cancer, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. These kinds of therapies will use antibodies in a targeted way, which should help people overcome these illnesses in a way that would be impossible or at least difficult if they were just relying on their bodies' own immune system.
Far too many infections and other diseases kill patients before they can actually generate the immune response that they're going to need in order to really get better. Timing is everything in medicine, and the medical researchers who are able to help their patients skip some steps when it comes to fighting off infections are going to help their patients actually recover.
Difference between Antibodies and Antioxidants
Some people are going to be puzzled about the difference between antioxidants and antibodies, partly due to the way that both of these substances are described in the popular science literature. These two substances really do not have very much in common on a chemical level or in terms of what they really do, but the similarity of their names and the complex nature of their behavior creates plenty of ground for the people who are trying to profit from antioxidants / antibodies confusion.
Antibodies are large proteins that the body is naturally going to produce based on its own immune cells in order to fight off antigens. Antigens can include a very wide range of different substances, from viruses and bacteria to chemicals and parasites.
Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation process, which can help them prevent the production of free radicals that will damage cells. Free radicals are produced by oxidation, so almost anything that can inhibit oxidation can also prevent the production of free radicals.
Antioxidants / Antibodies Similarities and Differences
The main structural difference between antibodies and antioxidants has to do with their size. Antibodies are proteins. What's more, they're large proteins with a complex physical structure. As such, they're going to be large macro-molecules. The shape of antibodies is very important to their basic function, since it allows them to insert themselves into antigens and neutralize them.
Antioxidants are much smaller molecules. They typically have a very simple structure with a short and thin chain of atoms, in contrast to the complex shape of antibodies. The relative simplicity of the molecules makes all the difference in terms of their chemical activity, given the mechanisms by which antioxidants and antibodies work.
Many people are going to confuse the two because both of these substances can be used in order to address health problems. Antibodies exist to help fight off infections. Antioxidants are taken or used to stop the oxidative stress that can damage cells. Given what antigens can do to cells, both antioxidants and antibodies are protecting cells in their own way. Antioxidants are inhibiting chemicals reactions rather than antigens, but they are still acting in a protective role. As such, it makes sense that these substances are discussed in a similar light in a lot of the pop science literature.
The synthesis of antibodies and antioxidants is going to matter from a biological perspective as well. Antibodies are produced by the body's B cells and T cells. Antioxidants are usually synthesized through the actions of proteins throughout the body. The process is a lot simpler in that case. It is also true that people are not just going to be able to imbibe antibody supplements in order to get over specific infections when they are sick. No one is selling antibody supplements at drug stores, because the body's use of antibodies and production of antibodies is so much more complicated than that.
People can simply take antioxidant supplements, which is one of the main differences between these two substances on a social level. People can get replacement antibodies if they are lacking in them due to some sort of terrible disorder. Doctors can prescribe them and administer the injections, and they can also ensure that their patients are going to be able to stay healthy through the regular transplants of antibodies that were synthesized in laboratories.
Antioxidants are more or less marketed towards everyone, because almost everyone is going to have a problem with oxidative stress, particularly in this day and age. Oxidative stress, in fact, is an important contributor to the aging process, which at the moment is going to affect everyone in the world. The fact that antioxidants can inhibit oxidation is very important to the body's overall health. However, it is fairly easy to take advantage of everything that antioxidants have to offer from a social perspective.
No one is going to need any sort of prescription supplement in order to get the benefits of antioxidant supplements. They can get these sorts of nutrients through food if that is what they want, and they can also buy them in pill and vitamin form at any drug store anywhere in the world, at least for the most part. Antioxidants can help prevent a wide range of long-term illnesses, while the antibodies that people produce in the meantime are there in order to help people fight off the immediate infections that are going to be killing them much sooner than that if they don't have the action that the require immediately.
The Glutathione Antioxidant
Glutathione is most definitely an antioxidant and not an antibody. It is synthesized by the body through the action of various amino acids, in sharp contrast to the antibodies that are developed by the body's immune cells themselves. Many people are going to take supplements for glutathione in an effort to really get as many of the benefits as they can. For people who are not producing enough of the supplement, this can make all the difference for them. The benefits of taking more of this substance for the people who are already producing enough are going to be more controversial, but there is still some evidence that people are going to reduce the oxidative stress of their cells by taking more antioxidant supplements even if they are in relatively good health.
This is an antioxidant that can help people prevent a wide range of different long-term illnesses, just like all other antioxidants. People are not going to be using it in order to fight off any one thing in particular. However, antioxidants have been very important parts of the body's healing process forever, even if their mechanism and their basic action is so different from the mechanism and basic action of the body's antibodies. People are not going to be able to solve each and every problem with only one substance, regardless of what the pop science philosophers say this week. People are going to be in need of both antibodies and antioxidants.