Health Glossary - For Everyone

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What are antibodies?

Antibodies are proteins that are present in the blood and other bodily fluids (such as interstitial fluid and lympatic fluid). Antibodies are part of the immune system to identify and neutralise antigens such as bacteria, virus and fungii.

Antibodies are molecules in the blood or secretory fluids which identify, destroy, or neutralise bacteria, viruses, or other harmful pathogens (foreign invading substances). They are members of a class of proteins known as immunoglobulins, which are produced and secreted by B lymphocytes in response to stimulation by antigens. An antibody is specific to a particular antigen and will recognise it if it comes into contact with it.

Circulating in the blood and in tissues, antibodies bind to toxins to remove them by forming easily recognised antibody-antigen complexes which are phagocytosed (engulfed and destroyed) in the liver and elsewhere in the body.


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Important antibodies facts

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Why antibodies are important

Antibodies are essential to providing immunity and sustaining health and resisting disease caused by virus, bacteria, fungii.

There are five different classes of antibodies or immunoglobulins (Ig) known as IgD, IgA, IgM, IgE and IgG. There are four subclasses of IgG and two sublcasses of IgA.

The first exposure to an antigen (bacteria, fungus, virus) will initiate a primary response that initiates the production of IgM antibodies first, and then IgG antibodies. Further exposure to the same antigen will initiate a secondary response and the main antibodies produced quickly and in large numbers are the IgG antibodies.


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Last reviewed: 14 January 2007 || Last updated: 21 August 2007


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More information

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NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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