The next line of defense within the innate immune system is the activation of leukocytes, or white blood cells. There are several distinct types of white blood cells, but they all work together to identify foreign molecules and eliminate them either through direct contact, or by engulfing them.
Vitamins and Supplements for Immune Health
The Adaptive Immune System
The innate immune system is non-specific; that is, it produces the same immune response for every foreign molecule. The adaptive immune system, however, is triggered when the initial immune response fails, and is highly specific to each foreign molecule.
The adaptive immune response recognizes each foreign molecule and tailors its response specifically to those molecules, and to cells that are impacted by those molecules. Even more interesting is that the adaptive immune system “remembers” these specific responses, so that your body can respond faster the next time you encounter the same foreign molecule.
The cells of the adaptive immune system are called lymphocytes, and they’re derived from stem cells in the bone marrow. The two major types of lymphocytes are B cells and T cells. B cells essentially act to recognize specific foreign molecules and help T cells respond appropriately.