Exploring the medical and scientific background of blood drinking
Investigation and Research Into Sanguinarians
Investigation and Research Into Sanguinarians
Copyright © 2005
by Sarah Mediv
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"Asthma in the US." CDC vitalSigns. May 3, 2011. Web. <http://www.cdc.gov/VitalSigns/Asthma/>
Guyton, Arthur C and John E. Hall. Textbook of Medical Physiology. Tenth Edition. W.B. Saunders Company. Philidephia, PA. 2000.
Vampirism & Energy Work Research Study (VEWRS & AVEWRS) - Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC; 2006-Present
Weinberg, E.D. Exposing the Hidden Dangers of Iron Cumberland House Publishing. Nashville, TN. 2004
In immunology we are looking at how the body fights infection and what happens when it goes wrong. Many sanguins claim to not catch common illnesses as easily as those around them, making it appear the immune system of the sanguin is stronger or more resistant to infection then most. Interestingly, there is also evidence the sanguin immune system may even be over active and will be discussed below.
BASICS OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
The immune system can be broken down into active and passive systems. Most of the passive systems are the "first line of defense" such as skin blocking bacterial entrance, nasal hairs that collect and expel debris and tracheal mucosae that washes backteria up the trachea and away from the lungs. The more active portions are those triggered when bacteria, virus or fungi get past these first defense mechanisms.
The most well known portion of the active immune system are the white blood cells, or leukocytes. These are circulating cells produced in teh bone marrow that respond to infection, inflammation and parasites. These cells work together to destroy invading cells and trigger production of antibodies to encourage both other cells to help fight invading foreign material but also to help the body "remember" the invader and respond more quickly the next time the same bacteria or virus is seen. This "memory" is the backbone of vaccination, creating a small infection to help the body fight a larger one in the future. There are six general types of white blood cells: Neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes. The basic function of these cells is explained on the page about interpreting blood results. Granulocytes (neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils) in the blood only last about 4-8 hours, but can last up to 5 days once they leave circulation and enter surrounding tissue. Lymphocytes can circulate for 10-20 hours befor entering tissue, where they change to macrophages and can live for months. Lymphocytes are produced not only in the marrow, but also in lymphatic tissue such as lymph nodes, intestinal Peyer's patches, thymus and spleen. This means lymphocytes can travel in and out of the circulation via the lymphatic system lasting for weeks to months depending on need. In active infection, however, the life span of all white blood cells is shorted due to apoptosis.
Neutrophils and macrophages function predominantly in phagocytosis, that is "eating" invading bacteria. Neutrophils are capable of phagocytizing 3-20 bacteria before the cell itself inactivates and dies (apoptosis). A macrophage, however, can phagocytize as many as 100 bacteria and can expell the "leftovers" allowing them to continue to function. These cells use intracellular enzymes to digest the invading bacteria as well as bacteriacidal agents such as superoxides, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl ions. these agents are kept in "peroxisomes" and fuse with the phagocytic vesicle to keep damage to the invading bacterial cell only. Macrophages are also present near the skin (histiocytes) and in the lungs (alveolar macrophages) to be in areas where bacteria or infection my break though the passive barriers. There are also macrophages in the liver (Kupffer cells) responsible for removing bacteria from the blood that slip through via the intestinal tract.
We are all familiar with the redness (inflammation) that occurs after an injury. this response is immune mediated as well. It is caused by the following cascade:
1) Local blood vessels dilate to allow more blood flow and more white blood cells in the area.
2) Capillaries become more permiable and allow more fluid in the area.
3) Fibrinogen traps the fluid in spaces between the cells.
4) Large numbers of granulocytes and monocytes enter the affected area
5) Tissue swelling
All of this together serves to get the most immune cells to the area quickly while at the same time closing off surrounding tissue to prevent further infection or spread. These steps are regulated by histamines, seratonins, prostaglandins and the complement system. Macrophages are first and then within an hours neutrophils migrate in large numbers to the area. this is why a CBC taken shortly after an injury will often show a drop in neutrophils as they are leaving the circulation to go to the area affected and have not been replaced by the marrow yet.
Abnormalities of the white blood cells can result in leukopenias, where not enough white blood cells are formed, or leukemias, where excess, cancerous, white blood cells are formed. Both of these result in improper response to bacterial invasion and increased illness.
So far, we have mostly discussed "innate immunity", which is responses of the immune system in a general sense, not directed at a specific bacteria or virus. When we discuss immunity against specific invaders we are talking of "aquired immunity". It is aquired due to prior infection and the body's ability to "remember" and respond to the invasion more quickly. Innate immunity is present at birth, but aquired immunity happens after birth. Two types of aquired immunity are known: antibodies (B-cell) and T-cell immunity. Antibodies are small proteins created by the B-cells after exposure to the bacteria that attach themselves to the bacterial or viral surface and act as a flag of sorts to call macrophages or the T-cells in. Both of these are initiated by antigens, foreign protiens with a molecular weight greater than 8000. Those smaller than 8000 are called haptens and can combine with other proteins to form an antigenic response but this response is usually allergic in nature as most invading bacteria and virii are larger than 8000 molecular weight. Each antibody is specific for a particular antigen and there are five general classes of anibodies : IgM, IgG, IgA, IgD, and IgE. IgG is the most prevelant and are antibodies against foreign infection. IgE is less common but plays a large roll in allergies. Use of the anitbodies innitiates the complement cascade mentioned earlier. This is a system of about 20 proteins that lead to activation of mast cells and basophils, opsonization of bacteria, movement of white blood cells, and eventually lysis (breakage) of the invading cell.
Realize this is just the basics of immune function! The detail we know about of different cascades and small proteins, such as interlukins, is vast!
IRON AND IMMUNOLOGY
Since we are looking at sanguinarians, a population of people that take in high volumes of iron, we would be remiss to overlook the importance of Iron to immunology and infection control. Everything needs Iron to grow, this includes bacteria. In fact, bacteria grow better in high-iron mediums. In teh body, bacteria can access iron by breaking re-blood cells, removing iron directly from storage (siderophores) or removal of bound iron from transferrin. Some invading bacteria lack this ability, and so are opportunistic to people with hemochoromatosis (excess iron storage). The immune system has developed some tricks to wall off body iron stores from invading bacteria to limit growth. One of these tricks is through pH regulation. Transferrin, the protein that moves iron around the body, can only bind iron in a basic or neutral environment, and cannot bind iron at all in acidic pHs. However, it's compliment protein, lactoferrin, can bind in neutral and acidic pHs. Both of these proteisn work to scavange "free" (non-protein bound) iron from the body. Lactoferrin is drawn to areas of bacterial infection where the pH tends to be lower and binds up free iron so he bacteria cannot use it for growth. When infection is present, the levels of serum iron reduce due to this binding, but the level of GI absorption also decreases, so over time in a long-standing infection, one may see what is called "anemia of chronic disease". Where the iron levels decrease enough that red blood cell formation is also affected.
With the above in mind we would expect the excess ingestion of iron would lead to increased risk of infection, but this does not appear to be the case with sanguinarians.
ALLERGIES AND HYPERSENSITIVITY
When the immune system gets a little too excited by foreign, non-infectious material, we see allergies. These range from the delayed-reaction allergy caused by poison ivy (mitigated by the T-cells with no antibody involvement) to the atopic allergies of the person with excess IgE that is antibody mediated. Because IgE has a strong binding to mast cells, when many IgE antibodies are activated (by cat dander, for example) they also bind to the mast cell and cause it to break open, releasing histamine. Histamine then causes the cascade of changes to local tissue mentioned above associated with inflammation. Depending on the type of tissue the allergen is in when the mast cell is broken we can see anaphalaxis (in circulation), urticaria (skin), hay fever (nasal), or asthma (bronchioles of the lungs).
SANGUINARIANS AND HYPERSENSITIVITY REACTIONS
The average rate of asthma in the United States is about 8% of the population (1 in 12). However, the average rate for sanguinarians is a whopping 22.7%! This is almost 1 in 4 for sanguinarians! While not all sanguins have asthma, this is enough of a statistical difference is affords continuing research.