Until recently most people never considered the relationship between their digestive function and their immune response. To be even more specific, immune status has everything to do with the types of bacteria that populate the intestinal lining of the small intestine. Researchers at John Hopkins University have been looking into how the bacterial flora of the gut changes when various diseases affect the body. ‘The Gut Where Bacteria and the Immune System Meet” is the name of the article.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND THE GUT
It is now well established that the physical location of the great majority of your immune system is in the gut lining. Also, a great portion of your antibodies are manufactured by cells located in the mucosal lining of the small intestine. The higher the friendly bacteria count in the gut, the more more effective your immune response will be. Just like any other autoimmune disorder, friendly bacteria release proteins that elicit a controlled inflammatory response that is useful for fighting off harmful bacterial and fungal invasions. For reasons that are being studied, some of the same bacteria can also turn against the body and cause cancerous cells to proliferate. Scientists have established multiple factors which set the stage for disease. We are all aware that these factors include diets high in red meat, refined sugar and processed foods. This field of study is so important that the NIH has formed a research initiative to try to understand more about the mucosal flora of the gut. The goal of the Human Microbiome Project is to catalog microbiome activity in the digestive systems of people with different diseases.
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR A HEALTHIER GUT
Strategies that you can use to insure better digestive health and therefore a stronger immune system are mostly common sense and begin with diet. Acidophilus supplements to replenish healthy gut flora are now very popular. If you suffer with specific digestive problems such as acid reflux or IBS, you may want to consider acupuncture and chiropractic. Scientific studies have found that both approaches can benefit by enhancing nervous system function. At Back in Motion Chiropractic and Acupuncture in Daphne our physician has 30 years of experience in treating nerve compression disorders that impair digestive function and therefore compromise the immune system.