Your Gut Health Determines Your Immunity
How to improve gut health has been a big topic in the wellness community lately – and for good reason! Gut flora, the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, have a big impact on your overall health. This includes your immune system.
When we talk about immunity, we often think of “white blood cells”, “natural killer cells” “lymphocytes” “vaccination” and “antibodies” “allergies” “eczema” etc.
These are the main factors in our immune system that fight off invading germs like bacteria and viruses and launch an attack on excess toxins.
But what we want to shed light on is that your gut also plays a major role in your immune system. In fact most of it. Gut health and immunity are more closely linked than most people realise. As your immune system helps your body fight off infectious diseases, it’s vital to keep it strong.
What is the immune system? One way to define the immune system is as a complex cell and tissue system that protects us from invading pathogens (i.e. bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites causing infection/illness) and toxic environmental agents.
Both your gut health and immunity are affected by what your body encounters every day, from artificial sweeteners to pollutants in the air.
The long list of toxins is outlined below in our 14 Day Smart Cleanse Booklet, but we’ve provided a shorts list here:
⁃ External Toxins (Exogenous)
Food supply : preservatives, additives, flavourings, colourings, damaged (hydrogenated fats), sodium chloride (refined salt), refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined white flour, refined grains, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, synthetic hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified food (GMO food), mercury, and heavy metals found in larger fish higher in the food chain.
⁃ Chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products such as :
mineral oils, sodium lauryl sulfate, isopropyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), chlorine when you bathe your skin and hair in tap water, FD + C colour pigments, fragrance (aromatic hydrocarbons), imidazolidinyl urea, and DMDM hydantoin.
⁃ Beverages: tap water contains chemicals such as chloride and fluoride, alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks, and refined juices.
⁃ Cleaning products and household furniture products : bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers, and formaldehyde.
⁃ Air Pollution : Car exhaust fumes, industry. Internal Toxins (Endogenous)
⁃ The toxic by-products from our body’s metabolism : reactive intermediates from phase one liver detoxification pathways that are more toxic than there previous state. When the liver is overburdened, phase two liver detoxification pathways are unable to process these metabolites fast enough to disarm them.
⁃ Toxic by-products of dysbiosis ( imbalance between the good and bad bacteria): Acetyl-aldehyde from candida, fungal spores, mycobacterial fragments, die off to unfriendly micro-organisms, which release toxic compounds that are neuro-toxic (meaning they affect your brain function).
All these toxins can cause an inflammatory response in the gut, disrupting the balance of your gut microbiome and putting you at an increased risk for many medical conditions.
With all that exposure and insult, is it any wonder that we can wake up fatigued, feel irritated and moody and feel our liver is burdened and our body’s holding onto excess body fat to protect our body from toxic harm? As you can see, it’s well worth it to try to improve gut health.
Back to gut health and immunity, though. The immune system is one of the most important systems when it comes to health.
The immune system serves to distinguish between body cells (self) and foreign materials (non-self).
Body cells are labelled as “friends” and left alone, while harmful foreign materials are treated as “enemies” by the immune system.
When your immune system is out of whack, it becomes hyper vigilant and reads inert substances like normal foods to be foreign invaders. Auto-immunity is something we could write an entire book on. Not in this article.
Your immune system then instructs certain immune cells to take action and eliminate the “enemies” from our body.
Many factors influence how our immune system works, and one of them is your gut health. There are trillions of bacteria in your gut and your immune system interacts with them each day.
Let’s focus on the gut because it’s something we do have a say in and can control with gut focused detoxification protocol.
What is the link between gut health and immunity?
People often relate the gut or gastrointestinal tract with the transport and digestion of food, as well as nutrient absorption for the body.
The link between the gut and immunity is a fascinating connection. There is mutual regulation and interaction between the gut microbiota and our immune system in keeping us healthy.
The immune system promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria and helps maintain a stable microbial community.
Meanwhile, a healthy gut microbiota produces molecular signals that support the development of immune cells and contributes to the fine-tuning of immune responses.
In fact, 80% of the immune system is in the gut, particularly the specialized immune tissues called Peyer’s patches that are found on the wall of small intestines.
This tissue is known as Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue or GALT.
Peyer’s patches play an important role in immunity: they identify harmful bacteria within the gut and trigger the formation of antibodies to help fight the pathogens.
They are vital to the immune system as many pathogens enter the body via the lining of the intestinal tract.
Apart from that, the gut is also home to trillions of microbes, including around 1,000 species of both beneficial and harmful bacteria.
This entire population of microorganisms forms an important ecosystem in our body called the gut microbiota.
The gut microbiota not only plays an important role in ensuring that the digestive system functions efficiently, but also a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
It also has to be balanced, ideally consisting of approximately 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria, in order to function optimally.
When things go haywire and your gut microbiota strength is lowered, your gut associated lymphoid tissue launches an attack and inflammation results.
If there is inflammation in your gut you can be sure that your gut microbiota is weak and that you are toxic.
Inflammation is the last attempt of your body to try to detoxify. This is a major reason why it’s important to work to improve gut health.
The answer. You need to do a full body cleanse like 14 Day Smart Cleanse.
How do beneficial bacteria positively affect the immune system?
Beneficial bacteria living in the gut build a complex barrier against pathogenic bacteria and maintain the gut lining, thus reducing the opportunity for harmful pathogens to make their way into the body.
Just think army troops lined shoulder to shoulder along the Great Wall of china protecting an entire city.
These “good” bacteria release antibacterial molecules and produce beneficial by-pro-ducts, which inhibit the growth of some harmful bacteria.
On the contrary, dysbiosis – imbalance of the gut microbiota where there is an increase in the number of bad bacteria – can raise the risk of infections.
Dysbiosis disrupts the ability of beneficial bacteria to resist colonisation by other potentially harmful microbes, thus increasing the chance of invasion by various pathogens.
Dysbiosis has also been linked to various digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, diarrhea and others.
How can I maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in my gut?
One way to maintain and improve gut health is
⁃ By eating a balanced diet containing a diverse range of foods from different food groups. This is important to help maintain the diversity of your gut microbiota.
⁃ Eat lots of fibre, which you can get from whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Fibre as a “bulking agent” to keep your digestive tract functioning normally and your bowel movements regular.
⁃ High-fibre foods such as asparagus, apples, onions, garlic, beetroot, green peas, cashews, artichokes, mushrooms and chia and flaxseed meal contain prebiotics, which can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria. Our Super Green Probiotic Blend, Gut Lining Formula is also a rich prebiotic and probiotic supplement to take all year round daily
⁃ Get alkaline. Your gut microbiota love an alkaline blood pH. Gut Lining Formula is also an alkalising supplement to take daily, rich in scientifically validated probiotics.
⁃ Avoid foods high in fat and sugar (e.g. fried foods, soft drinks, etc.) to help maintain beneficial gut bacteria and reduce the risk of other diseases.
- Drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily; this not only helps with food digestion and bowel movement, but also promotes a healthy balance of gut microbiota.
⁃ Maintain a physically-active lifestyle by exercising regularly, as this can also help enhance the level of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Research has shown that individuals living a sedentary lifestyle have a less diverse gut microbiota. Plus, it also keeps you healthier overall, decreasing your risk of medical conditions like heart disease.
⁃ Also reduce unnecessary antibiotic use and get enough sleep.
Excessive use of antibiotics and poor sleep can negatively disrupt the gut microbiota.
⁃ Consume foods containing probiotics like kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented foods, kombucha.
Probiotics are defined as live bacteria that can bring health benefits when consumed adequately. They help restore the natural balance of gut microbiota that has been disrupted by either illness or lifestyle factors. They can also reduce the growth of harmful bacteria.
Gut health and immunity are strongly linked. Remember, your gut microbiota plays a critical part in maintaining your general well-being and immunity against infections, especially making you more resilient during this COVID pandemic.
Our lifestyle, habits, diet and behaviors can have a serious impact on the balance of gut microbiota.
It is crucial to continue making simple positive changes in our life one step at a time, so that we can sustain a healthy gut microbiota and boost your immunity.
Smart Guts are happy guts and happy guts equals happy moods.
14 Day Smart Cleanse Instruction Manual