Feed Your Immune System!!!
Did you know the biggest part of your Immune System lies in your gut?! Most of us have heard of probiotics, prebiotics, or “good bacteria” and how they can be beneficial for your digestive system…But did you know that same “good bacteria” is also the KEY PLAYER for your immune system in its every-day battle to prevent illness?!
Hippocrates (460-370BC) Stated: “All Diseases Begin in the Gut.”
How does all of this actually work?:
Your gut and intestines are populated with a world of micro-organisms—predominately bacteria—commonly referred to as your “gut flora” or your “microbiome.”
“The microbiota provides critical signals that promote maturation of immune cells and tissues, leading to protection from infections by pathogens. Gut bacteria also appear to contribute to non-infectious immune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmunity.”2
“Both microbiota and host immune system communicate with each other to mutually maintain homeostasis in what could be called a ‘love–hate relationship.’” 1
The “good bacteria” in the gut flora play a huge part in activating the “gate-keeping” properties of your immune system and preventing potentially harmful substances from entering your blood stream and causing infection and diseases.
There are several ways by which a healthy gut results in a stronger immune system:
- Physical Barrier-The good bacteria activate or “turn on” the immune fighting function of the epithelial cells that line the walls of your gut/GI tract. In the absence of this good bacteria, the physical barriers to harmful substances are compromised and infection becomes more prevalent.
- Chemical Barrier- The good bacteria play a role in balancing the pH of your gut/GI tract. Maintaining this balanced state is important for the prevention of infection.
- The Good Bacteria Compete with the Bad Bacteria for Space- When the good bacteria is occupying all of the space and using up all of the resources for their every-day maintenance, the bad bacteria die off.
- The Good Bacteria Produce Various Anti-Microbial Substances-This basically means they produce their own—natural fighters—against the harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites; thus, reducing the chances of illness.
How to Create a Healthier Gut:
- Protect Your Microbiome with Probiotics- Look for probiotics that deliver 20-50 billion live organisms per dose and contain a combination of different strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Take probiotics as directed, once or twice a day.
- Incorporate Probiotics into your Diet- Show your gut some love by feeding it with probiotic-rich foods, including most fermented foods (preferably organic). Those fermented goodies like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and pickled veggies encourage the growth of good bacteria.3
- Eat your Probiotics with a Side of Pre-biotics-Prebiotics are non-digestible short-chain fatty acids that help your good bacteria flourish. Incorporate more artichokes, garlic, beans, oats, onions and asparagus into your diet to accomplish this.
- Greens, Greens, GREENS!- “Plants give your microbes something to chew on, to break down, to digest and extract the nutrients from – you’re literally feeding the little critters what they love and need to survive. For those of you not getting enough plants in your diets, I recommend supplementing with an organic powdered green drink.”3
*Extra Tip-For those who are especially committed to re-vamping their gut health, cutting down on foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, and soy will amplify the recovery and healing of your gut and provide extra benefits such as weight loss, increased energy, decreased inflammation, improved memory, and less “brain-fog.”
And always Get Adjusted!
- Chassaing, Benoit et al. “Mammalian Gut Immunity.” Biomedical journal 37.5 (2014): 246–258. PMC. Web. 2 June 2017.
- Chow, Janet et al. “Host–Bacterial Symbiosis in Health and Disease.” Advances in immunology 107 (2010): 243–274. PMC. Web. 2 June 2017.