The human immune system is a truly amazing phenomenon. Without it, a person would likely die of overwhelming infections within a matter of days. The immune system consists of many different components, including physical and chemical barriers such as the skin and mucous membranes, innate defenses such as phagocytes (cells that engulf and digest foreign substances) and adaptive defenses such as white blood cells.
There are two ways in which the immune system can cause serious problems. One is immunodeficiency, in which the immune system fails to respond effectively to signals of infection. This may be an inherited syndrome or an acquired problem, such as AIDS, which results from an infectious disease.
An overactive immune system, on the other hand, can attack the person's own body. Allergies are a very common form of this. More serious types of autoimmune disorders are lupus, arthritis, diabetes and psoriasis.
Even a slightly weakened immune system can make your life miserable with a series of colds, stomach viruses and other common illnesses. Certain plant substances known as sterols and sterolins, which were first isolated in 1922, have more recently been shown to afford support for the immune system. These substances, present in all plants, are difficult for the body to access through a normal diet and were not available in supplement form in America until 1999. Today, however, there is Natur-Leaf®, a dietary supplement created from Lupins sprouts, Fenugreek sprouts, Barley sprouts, Soybean sprouts, African Sunflower sprouts, Pygeum africanum, and the Wild African Potato root, which provide sterols and sterolins in a form that may help strengthen a weakened immune system.