Want a healthy immune system? Support your gut

There is nothing more important than investing in your health. Did you know that a healthy immune system starts in the gut? You can optimize your immunity by optimizing your gut health. Both your immune system health and mental health are dependent on a strong and resilient gut microbiome.

First line of defense

Our first line of defense against foreign invaders, like bacteria and viruses, includes our skin and all mucus membranes. This physically blocks pathogens from entering the body. Our bodies produce chemicals that help fight off bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and toxins through saliva, mucus, sweat, and gastric acids. These allow the body to trap, remove, or destroy foreign invaders.

Here’s where the gut comes in. This physical defensive barrier also can be found in the epithelial cells that line the gut microbiome and protect the epithelium from exposure to foreign invaders and help fight off pathogens. For optimal immune health, you need a strong lining of the gut (to prevent a leaky gut).

Why the gut?

70% of our immune system is all along that gut lining. Depending on what we put into our mouths, we can affect the consistency of our gut microbiome (the bacterial makeup) and the integrity of the gut lining, and in turn, influence what’s happening with our immune system.

There is a close association between your gut microbiome and the maturation and development of the immune system because the gut has the largest collection of immune cells than anywhere else in the body. The gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is the largest immune organ of the body and it resides in the gut microbiome. That means that the bacteria that live in the large intestine, part of the gut, play a role in stimulating our immune response and protecting against foreign invaders. If we want to strengthen our immune system, we must feed and nourish our gut.

If we have leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability) it allows for more of an influx of toxins, especially the lipopolysaccharide (endotoxin), that is one of the biggest instigators of the immune system. Think of it this way, if our gut is already fighting a war in our gut, and then we have a virus/bacteria/foreign invader that is entering our body through an airway, our body is so distracted by what’s happening in the gut, that it’s not going to have enough soldiers to fight off what is coming in.

What does that mean for immunity?

Our immune system is going to be overwhelmed if it is fighting all of these battles at once, so we are likely going to have a worse chance of weathering the storm. If we are waging a war in our gut, then we are not going to be able to effectively ward off pathogens that may be coming in through the airway.

In addition, supplements, herbs, and foods that support immune function aren’t going to work to their highest potential if we aren’t digesting, absorbing and assimilating them properly due to a gut health issue. So it’s essential to address our gut health initially as the root cause of the issue, as opposed to simply tacking on supplements on top of the mess.

What can we do?

Here are a few things that we can do ASAP to support our gut health, and build a stronger immune system:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet that is high in dietary fiber, color, and foods rich in prebiotics + probiotics. Prebiotic rich foods include: organic apple cider vinegar, apples, asparagus, garlic, leeks, onions, jicama, and more. Probiotic-rich foods include: sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and miso.
  • Add in a probiotic. Probiotics help repopulate the gut microbiome with good bacteria, which is essential in keeping a balanced and resilient microbiome. You can try our Cultivate probiotic which has 12 potent strains and 30 billion active cultures per capsule.
  • Incorporate zinc. Zinc can modify the tight junctions of the intestinal lining, helping to limit gut permeability. Good sources of zinc include oysters, crab, lobster, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Eat Omega 3-rich foods. Omega-3 PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) exert significant effects on the intestinal environment and modulating the gut microbiota composition. Omega 3-rich foods include: wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring, mussels. You may also benefit from a fish oil supplement like our Balance. Additional plant-based sources of the precursor to EPA + DHA include ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.
  • Add Ginger. Ginger helps increase motility, so it keeps everything moving out of the system, which prevents bacterial overgrowth from happening.
  • Add in supportive lifestyle practices like breathwork, EFT, meditation, daily exercise, and connecting to your joy.

The 21-Day Clean Program is also formulated to transform your gut health, bring balance and resilience to the body, and support a healthy immune system. Now might be the perfect time to give it a try.

Written by Hannah Aylward

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