Why Gut Health
Is The Key To
@grackingswell D. N. Med
Since we wrote our last blog post on the Immune system, things have escalated somewhat in relation to Covid-19 and we feel that rather than writing blogs on topics such as CBD oil or the latest fitness workout, we want to provide you all with information that can really help right now.
So, as we touched on in our last post, 70% of your immune system can be found in your gut. But what does that actually mean? What is the immune system and why is it located in our gastrointestinal tract? We caught up with Nutritional Therapist, Grace Kingswell, to discuss.
Our bodies have many, many layers of defence from pathogens and bacteria lining the whole of our gastrointestinal tract from our mouth right down to our large intestine.
The first is in the Nonspecific Barrier which includes things like the gastric acid in your stomach, mucus, defensins and enzymes. Next we get to the Specific Immunological Barrier where the body produces something called Secretory IgA. SIgA is the major antibody found in all bodily secretions - it’s our first line of defence against invading pathogens.
If something gets past this lovely layer of SIgA it hits the Epithelial Layer in our gut which is comprised of Intestinal Mucosal Cells with tight junctions between them and then, below that, an awesome layer in the Lamina Propia of the gut made up of immune cells such as:
- T cells
- Dendritic cells
It is here that pathogens are engulfed, eaten and destroyed by these clever cells.
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However, in a perfect world there would need to be very little involvement on this level because our bodies would have dealt with the problem much further up the chain. The issue is these days that many of us suffer from what’s called intestinal permeability, that’s to say, stuff is getting through to places where it shouldn’t and eliciting an immune response from the body.
What causes Intestinal Permeability?
- Poor diet
- Excessive use of antibiotics
- Undigested molecules of protein from inadequate digestion (i.e. chew your food more!)
- Blood Sugar Issues
Essentially, what I’m trying to say with all this sciency stuff is that the health of your gut is absolutely paramount to keeping you free of infection.
Thankfully it’s not too late to make a difference to your gut health and there are a number of things you can do at this time of crisis:
1. Increase your levels of beneficial bacteria by eating fermented foods or supplementing with a probiotic. Presscription Gut Cleanses contain lactobacillus acidophilus in liquid form, a probiotic strain well known to be beneficial to gut health.
2. Lower your intake of sugary, processed foods. Sugar is the enemy of good gut health so it’s crucial that you try to maintain stable blood sugar. A great way to do that is by having a bit of a Sugar Detox.
3. Include aloe vera into your diet. Aloe is incredibly soothing on the gut lining and helps to calm systemic inflammation too. Find it in the Gut Cleanse One.
4. Eat the rainbow! We need to eat a diet that’s rich in different plant foods and fibre so that we optimise our Short Chain Fatty Acid production in the gut.
5. De-stress. Stress in another enemy right now as it puts your body at a disadvantage when fighting off an infection. Stress also adversely affects your gut microbiota, so take up a breathing practice or a daily yoga flow from home.
6. Healthy fats! Absolutely crucial for gut health, especially the Omega 3 and 6 variety which you can find in Gut Cleanse Two.
7. Eat for immunity! Foods like turmeric and ginger are great to include into your diet. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and combined with the gingerols in raw ginger root make a potent antiviral tonic! Check out our recent post on Immunity for more ‘eat for immunity’ foods.