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What is Immunity?

Immunity is the body’s resistance power against disease causing organisms or harmful substances. Immunity provides defence against pathogens like virus, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Immunity also identifies and eliminates tumours and helps remove foreign compounds.

What is Immunity?

Components of the Immune System

The immune system is a highly organized and complex system of organs, tissues, highly specialized cells and cell products which work in tandem to provide immunity to the body.

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Tonsils & Adenoids:
Guards the body against invasion via nose and mouth.
Lymph Nodes:
There are lymph nodes all over the network of lymphatic vessels which are meeting places for the cells that fight invaders.
Thymus:
Pockets of lymphoid tissue.
Lymph Nodes:
There are lymph nodes all over the network of lymphatic vessels which are meeting places for the cells that fight invaders.
Spleen:
The upper left part of the abdomen, where the immune system cells meet microbes.
Bone Marrow:
Pockets of lymphoid tissue are found in the bone marrow.
Lymphatic Vessels:
The lymphatic vessels collect the lymph and sends it back into the bloodstream.

3 levels of Immunity

A human body has three levels of Immunological defence in order to protect the body against inbound pathogen and harmful agents.

Non Specific Immune System

1st Level

Non-Specific Immune System

Protects germs from entering the body

The 1st Line of Defence includes the skin, mucous membranes, hair within the nose, cilia in the upper respiratory tract, urine, perspiration, saliva, stomach gastric juice and sebum.

Innate Immune System

2nd Level

Innate Immune System

Provides an immediate, but non-specific response

The 2nd Line of Defence includes an inflammatory response and white blood cells (called phagocytes) that ingest pathogens. It provides an immediate response but lacks immunological memory.

Adaptive Immune System

3rd Level

Adaptive Immune System

Specialized and specific defensive response

The 3rd Line of Defence relies on T cells and B cells, some of which produce antibodies and others which kill pathogens. It has immunological memory that makes it powerful against persistent harmful agents.

The Vicious Cycle

Kids are most vulnerable to infections since their immunity is still in the growing stage. Hence, it is very important to pay special attention to build their immunity. Else, the kid will get trapped in a vicious cycle of low immunity and will be undernourished.

Low immunity and frequent infections have a long term impact on their physical growth, mental growth and development.

The Vicious Cycle

Lack Of Immunity Causes

Reduced Nutrient Intake

Calorie Intake of a child reduces to 30-50% during illness days (1)

Reduced Nutrient Intake

Sub-Optimal Cognition

Sub-Optimal Cognition

Diarrhoea infection in the first five years can cause detrimental brain development and lower IQ (3)

Lower Nutrient Absorption

Lower Nutrient Absorption

Absorption of macronutrients [Carbohydrates/Protein/Fat] is 10-30% lower in children suffering with illness (1)

Poor Academic Performance

Children who experience more than 5 attacks of malarial infection score 15% less in language and mathematics (4)

Poor Academic Performance

Shorter Height

Childhood infections cause growth shortfalls of up to 8.2 cm by the age of 7 years (2)

Shorter Height

Weaker Language Skills

Weaker Language Skills

Mild but prolonged ear infections can produce enough temporary hearing loss to affect development of speech and language (5)

'*Repeated infections leads to lack of immunity'.
[1] Nutritional Management of Acute Diarrhoea in Infants and Children. National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on Nutrition and Diarrheal Diseases Control. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1985. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK219100/
[2] William A Petri Jr et al. Enteric infections, diarrhoea, and their impact on function and development Clin Invest. 2008 Apr 1; 118(4): 1277-1290.
[3] Ajjampur SS et al. Effect of cryptosporidial and giardial diarrhoea on social maturity, intelligence and physical growth in children in a semi-urban slum in south India. Ann Trop Paediatr. 2011;31(3):205-12.
[4] Fernando SD et al. The impact of repeated malaria attacks on the school performance of children. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2003 Dec;69(6):582-8
[5] Ear Infections and Language Development by Joanne E. Roberts Published in collaboration with ASHA and the National Center for Early Development & Learning under US Department of Education

The Reality Of Immunity In Indian Kids

India has progressed a lot in the last few years. But if we look at the health statistics of kids in India, it shows a grim picture.

The problems that Indian kids face:

India has the highest number of kids suffering from Vitamin A deficiency globally (1)

Vitamin A Deficiency
Mothers skip work due to their child's illness

of working mothers skip work due to their child’s illness (2)

The annual expenditure on illnesses due to infections is (3)

The annual expenditure on illnesses
Indian kids miss school due to infections

Indian kids miss school due to infections (2)

An urban kid falls sick every month on an average (4)

Urban kid falls sick every month

80% kids do not receive RDA of key nutrients - Vitamin A, C, Iron (5)

80% kids do not receive RDA
[1] Kotecha PV . Micronutrient Supplementation and Child Survival in India. Indian J Pediatr 2010; 77 (4) : 419-424
[2] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/One-in-three-Indian-kids-misses-school-due-to-poor-immunity-Survey/articleshow/51654102.cms
[3] Katie Greenland & Wolf-Peter Schmidt. Cost of Infections Study Findings : India Environmental Health Group, Department of Disease Control London School of Hygiene ∓ Tropical Medicine. Report 2012
[4] Forgotten voices : the world of urban children in india, a report by Save the Children, 2015 http:/www.pwc.in/publications/urban-child-india-report.html
[5] Deka MK et al. Dietary pattern and nutritional deficiencies among urban adolescents. J Family Med Prim Care. 2015 Jul-Sept; 4(3): 364-368

Factors Affecting Immunity

Lack of immunity affects the overall development of the child. Immunity in kids is not at the same level when compared with kids 25 years ago.

The various reasons which have contributed to low immunity among Indian kids are:

Pollution

Environmental pollution interferes with the immune response, thus increasing susceptibility to infectious diseases.

Pollution

Adulteration

Due to food adulteration, children do not receive the right amount of nutrients and vitamins required to build their immunity.

Adulteration

Junk Food

Urban kids consume junk food for more than 100 days in a year. Junk food depletes vitamins and minerals essential for immunity. (1)

Junk Food

Day Care

9 out of 10 working mothers believe that their kids do not receive the required amount of care to build immunity due to lack of time. (2)

Day Care
[1] Junk food targeted at children: Regulatory action required to limit exposure and availability. Centre for Science and Environment Report 2014; Page 11.
[2] Statistics on Women in India 2010, published by National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development Report on Need Assessment for Creches and Child Care Services Commissioned by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, Government of India.

Role of Nutrition and Immunity

Indian Kids today are deficient in key immunity nutrients and that might lead to a vicious cycle of suppressed immunity, pre-disposal to infections and aggravated malnutrition.

This vicious cycle can be broken through the following benefits provided by Food fortified with Vitamins and Minerals have been seen to have the following positive (1) impact on Immunity:

Lower Incidence of Diarrhoea
Lower Incidence of Pneumonia
Fewer days with Fever
Fewer days sick with severe illness
[1] Sazawal S et al. Effects of fortified milk on morbidity in young children in north india community based, randomised, double masked placebo controlled trial. BMJ. 2007 Jan 20; 334(7585): 140.

How ActivKids Immuno Boosters Helps Build Immunity

ActivKids Immuno Boosters is a unique nutritional supplement for kids that helps build their immunity. 1 choco-bite daily helps kids receive upto 100% RDA of key Immunity Nutrients (Vitamin A, Vitamin B9, Vitamin C, Iron).

ActivKids Immuno Boosters has the following vital nutrients: