I remember giving a talk about basic anatomy to a 4th grade class in the late 1970's. The kids were pretty grossed out by just about every aspect of the organ descriptions but nothing seemed creepier than the intestines. The teacher commented that many of the kids wished they were hollow.
Intestines are Ground Zero For Immune Health
Well, we aren't hollow and the intestines are finally getting their due. Researchers have long since confirmed that the intestines are ground zero for our immune health. We have just one cell layer between the lumen that is the inner part of the intestines where the food passes through and the blood stream. The maintenance of that single-cell layer is all that stands between a healthy you or a sick and dying you. The good folks at NuMedica, NeuroBiologics, DaVinci and others have been working for years to find better and better ways to improve brain health. Several years ago it became increasingly obvious that brain and neurotransmitter health also depended on a healthy gut.
Intestinal Barrier and Blood Brain Barrier
The intestinal wall is linked to the integrity of the blood brain barrier (BBB). The BBB is the fine membrane that helps separate the brain from the blood system. Not everything in the blood is going to be helpful to the brain. As the intestinal barrier breaks down protein fragments and other incompletely digested products as well as the resulting antibodies get into the blood and also attack the BBB. The result is a shift in neurotransmitter balance and even attacks on enzymes critical for brain function by autoimmune activity.
Gut MicroFlora Gets Research Interest
As the intestines draw more and more research money, more information is showing up about the role of intestinal flora. Intestinal flora (IF) consists of the myriad of bacteria and fungi that make the intestines their home. It appears that each person's IF is as unique to them as fingerprints. With the exciting advances in DNA sequencing technology we also have learned that our IF is made up of about 1000 different types of bacteria. Hardly any of these will grow in a culture using traditional methods so this is a very new finding.
Microflora Make Serious Contributions to Your Health
The IF bacteria aren't just friendly, but serious contributors to your health. You are their home and they defend it against pathogenic invaders with sophisticated tools. It is a battle ground. They secrete toxins that inhibit the growth or even kill the invaders. They also secrete substances that help the health of the intestinal membrane. But wait there's more. They will also compete for resources. A healthy contingent of IF bacteria is your first line of defense. In fact about 70-80 percent of your immune success comes from the IF bacteria with the remaining 20% being your own system of T-cells, B-cells, thymus etc. After antibiotic therapy, it can take a year to restore the health of the IF system. This will take effort on your part.
Big Help Available From Several Excellent Companies
Fortunately we have several excellent products from companies that have invested decades of research into this specific topic. You may to need to take as much as 15 to 20 probiotic capsules per day during that time. These healthy bacteria help set the stage for your own signature compliment of IF to become reestablished. Some of our favorites are:
Don’t Forget the Gluten Problem
As stated in other articles, gluten sensitivity can dramatically reduce the health of the gut too. Antibodies triggered by the ingestion of these grains attack the structure and function of the critical layer. Some of this damage is subtle and is only detectable with a scanning electron microscope so may not show up on a light microscope biopsy. Rather than rely on that questionable technique, up-to-date doctors are recommending more appropriate diagnosis methods that involve screening for large arrays of antibodies to several different aspects of various grains. See Gluten Sensitivity Quick Facts for an overview of the problem. So there you have reasons to think about your intestinal health. I hope this article was informative and motivational too. Return to Shop By Concern: Intestinal Support