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Gut Health: How it Affects the Immune System

Your gut health has a huge effect on your quality of life. When our gut microbiome is healthy we barely think about it, when it’s not we are miserable and more susceptible to illness.

Trillions of invisible, microorganisms live inside your body. Our entire lives are spent with them crawling around in us. Most are good, enjoying a synergistic relationship with us and are important to our health. Some are more nefarious, a balance that must be maintained. Good and bad, yin and yang. Good bacteria are the first line of defense from attack by bacteria, viruses and toxins.

The gut is intricately connected to the immune system. It houses up to 70 percent of the immune system cells. It regulates the immune system response in addition to its regular digestive duties.

This article will show you how the gut microbiome affects the immune response, things that are destroying your gut health, and ways you can improve digestion as a whole.

How the Gut Affects the Immune System

  1. Through the breakdown of vitamins, the gut protects the body from itself. The immune system sends cells throughout the body to destroy invaders(bacteria/viruses) and dysfunctional cells. It doesn’t know the difference between good and bad bacteria, attacking everything in its path. Since our digestive system houses many bacteria, necessary for life, it sends signals to the immune cells to prevent them from attacking. When this system fails we see irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) and other chronic inflammatory diseases emerge.
  2. The gut microbiome is also home to a massive battle on a cellular level. Good bacteria and bad bacteria are constantly fighting over resources. Here’s where the immune system matures, identifying different threats and producing antibodies for them.

Things that Disrupt Gut Health

  • Lifestyle
    Food is extremely important to gut health. The hyper-processed foods we find in the grocery store cause much inflammation in the digestive system, wrecking it. Eat more natural foods as they likely contain fewer chemicals and bioavailable nutrients. If it’s easier to process there’s less inflammation.
  • Stress
    Stress is another large culprit hurting the digestive system. It affects sleep, causes heartburn, diarrhea, constipation and so many other issues. Find ways to de-stress your life with exercises like yoga and meditation.
  • Medications
    One study from Pubmed Central found that the gut microbiome plays a huge role in the immune system, antibiotic medications hurt this part of the system. They cause immune dysregulation, as well as inflammation. While they might be necessary, it’s important to keep this in mind.
  • Sugar
    Believe it or not, sugar can be a source of inflammation in your body, especially your gut. As it feeds both good and bad bacteria in your gut, causing overcrowding. It’s a cascade effect, causing inflammation, leading to sleep disruption, diabetes, then weight gain, and inhibited immune response. Lower your sugar intake, it causes more problems than it solves.

Restoring Gut Health

A healthy gut strategy is one that promotes the diversity of the microorganisms living in your bowels. It is a very complex system of viruses, fungi, bacteria, and more that play a pivotal role in sustaining homeostasis as well as adaptive immunity.

Being a great way to relieve constipation, fiber is fuel for good gut microbes. It promotes a healthy gut lining, which contains the bacterial in the digestive tract. The gut lining contains a mucus membrane the washed away bad actors hiding in your body. Dietary fiber is found in most fruits and vegetables. Natural foods are the best way to consume fiber and contribute to overall health.

Many people walk through life with inflammation in their bowels, especially in our world of highly processed foods. Natural more bio-available foods can help but sometimes it takes more effort to engage the bodies automatic healing process. IBS and other inflammatory conditions have a huge impact on peoples lives and happiness, making many us miserable. Try supplementing omega 3’s into your diet, through fish or fish oil pills. It’ll help reduce gut inflammation. Zinc, a necessary mineral, might alleviate Crohn’s disease and boost your immune system.

These are helpful microorganisms that take out harmful bacteria in your body. These little guys help reduce inflammation and restore balance for those with chronic bowel conditions, even if only short-term. It’s found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, cabbage, and sauerkraut.

In conclusion…

As you can see, gut health is intricately connected to the immune system. Simple shifts in the things you eat can significantly improve your life. With so many threats out there, it’s important to take proactive steps now to fight off pathogens. We deserve a healthy, stress-free life and these small changes are easy to do, you’ll be surprised at their effectiveness. Thanks and have a great day.

Previously published on diabetesknow

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Photo credit: diabetesknow



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