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Differences Between a Toxin and a Toxoid

 Toxin vs Toxoid

The human body is a vulnerable vessel among harmful diseases. Without a healthy body, these harmful diseases can invade our system. However, harmful bacteria do not only come from the outside, but they can also emerge from within or inside our body system. “Toxin” and “toxoid” always ring a bell whenever we are caught up with a very bad disease. In this article, let us determine the meaning and differences between “toxin” and “toxoid.”

The term “toxin” came from the Ancient Greek word “toxikon.” Toxins are the poisonous substances that have been produced within the cells of living organisms. Ludwig Brieger, an organic chemist, was the first one to use the term “toxin.” If the poisonous substance is not produced within the cells of a living organism, it is called “toxicant” or  “toxics,” instead of “toxin.”

These toxins can come in the form of small molecules, peptides, or proteins, and they are capable of causing disease. These poisonous chemical compounds are also produced naturally by plants and animals. Toxins can also be used as a protective and offensive mechanism by the living organism. However, these toxins can also disrupt or interfere with the natural body processes of the organism in order to survive. Toxins can affect the nervous system or even the digestive system.

Examples of toxins are botulinum toxins from the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. This is the most common and most poisonous substance. You may have heard the term “botulism,” or popularly known as “food poisoning.” Poorly preserved foods attract the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, thus producing the botulinum toxins. When you ingest the contaminated food, you will experience stomach discomforts or mild to excessive pain.

Toxins are dangerous, so to speak. In response to eliminating harmful toxins, several studies have been conducted. Scientists have developed ways to fight these toxins – and these are toxoids. Toxoids fight toxins. They are the medicine or the cure when someone ingests harmful toxins. Toxins and toxoids have similar structures since a toxoid was derived from a toxin. However, a toxoid’s composition has been altered in order to remove the harmful effects. This is usually done in the process of heating the toxin. If toxins are naturally made, toxoids are man-made. Toxoids are synthetic compounds which are given to animals and people in order to develop long-term resistance to toxins.

If you are given a specific type of toxoid, you will be immune to a specific type of toxin. Though it is meant to defend your body from a harmful toxin, your body’s immune system will still see the toxoid as a threat to your body since its structure is also similar to that of a toxin. The next time your body is invaded by a particular toxin, your immune system will already know how to fight it since it has already learned its experience from fighting against the toxoid. Toxoids are only given in small doses which are enough to be countered by the body’s immune system.

Summary:

  1. Toxins are poisonous substances that have been produced within the cells of living organisms.

  2. Ludwig Brieger, an organic chemist, was the first one to use the term “toxin.”

  3. Examples of toxins are botulinum toxins from the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. This is the most common and most poisonous substance which causes botulism or food poisoning.

  4. Toxoids fight toxins. You will develop an immunity against a particular toxin if you take the corresponding toxoid.

  5. Your body’s immune system will still see the toxoid as a threat to your body since its structure is also similar to that of a toxin, but your immune system will learn how to fight the real toxins when encountered the next time.


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