The link between your gut and your immune system

We are going to have a nice review today on how a healthy gut results in a healthy body, and in this case, a healthy immune system.

Hello my dear friend-

The information I am sharing with you today was compiled by Kathryn Kos, M.Ed, NTP.

Our immune system protects our body from what it feels is going to harm our body. This past year with social distancing and mask wearing, our immune systems have not had the usual exposure to things that might harm us.

How do we get our immune system back on track? By supporting our digestive system.

Some of the signs that our immune system might be compromised other than being sick may be issues with blood sugar regulation, tissue disorders of the lungs, skin and kidneys, joint pain, and chronic inflammation in our GI (gastrointestinal) tract. I was not aware of this but one in five people suffer from a form of an autoimmune disorder, and it is more common in women than men.

Now let’s talk about our digestive system. The main purpose of our digestive system is to take the food we eat, break it down, absorb the nutrients, and convert it to fuel. The mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and large intestines are one long tube making up our digestive tract.

Common issues of the digestive system include heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, celiac disease, peptic ulcer, intestinal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, gallstones, lactose intolerance, appendicitis, even Crohn’s disease.

In 2018, the CDC reported that 22.4 million people went to the doctor to treat diseases of the digestive system. There are many potential reasons for the conditions listed above, but one possibility to consider is a weakened intestinal wall or leaky gut syndrome.

Why is the wall of your intestine connected to your health? Your small intestines are covered with finger-like tissues called villi and microvilli. This is where you absorb nutrients and form a protective barrier against pathogens and toxins. You start to have problems when there is a breech in the intestinal wall, allowing these harmful particles to enter the bloodstream. When this occurs, your immune system must go to work to protect you, which can put a strain on your immune system and make it susceptible to other health issues.

If/when your intestinal wall becomes weak and porous, pathogens and toxins can escape the gut and enter the bloodstream thus causing problems and leaky gut is the result.

Symptoms of a leaky gut can include headache, fatigue, diarrhea, difficulty concentrating, joint pain, inflammation, bloating, constipation, nutritional deficiencies, just to name a few.

Some causes of a leaky gut can be a weakened immune system, our “standard American diet”, too much sugar and processed foods, alcohol, poor quality fats etc… We know these things!

How do we strengthen and keep our intestinal wall healthy?

1- We can change our diet by avoiding the things mentioned above, eating a whole food, real food diet. Eating the food in the form it comes from nature, not from a box, can or other container.

2- Get adequate rest. Our body heals while we are sleeping. When we are sleep deprived chronically this will weaken our immune system which impacts our gut health.

3- Exercise. Movement increases blood flow through the body and your gut. Where there is blood flow there is oxygen, where there is oxygen, healing can occur. Exercise will also help stimulate the production of healthy good bacteria in your gut. A good probiotic will also help.

4- Increase your consumption of collagen. Bone broth, gelatin or a collagen supplement helps heal the gut lining. My morning hot beverage is a chocolate collagen drink that I enjoy almost every day.

5- Increase the healthy fats in your diet. A few examples are coconut oil, chia seeds, avocados, nuts and seeds.

6- Decrease your stress. When we are emotionally stressed, the first place we are physically affected is in our digestive tract. I have several options of emotional support at Beeing Well.

Here are some great suggestions on how to heal and keep your gut lining healthy and your immune system healthy. If you need additional support, Beeing Well is the place to come!

Much love and gratitude! Janalee

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