New research is highlighting your gut and digestive system as one of the most important “organs of immunity.”
We are discovering that increased intestinal permeability, also known as “leaky gut,” is the root cause to a host of health issues including everything from skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema, to various autoimmune diseases like thyroid conditions, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s Disease, kidney disease, obesity, MS, and diabetes.
Additionally, researchers noticed that roughly 85 percent of children with autism also exhibit some type of gastrointestinal distress, prompting the search for a link between the digestive system and this developmental disorder.
We are finding that the healthy function of your “gut,” meaning the larger gastrointestinal tract from stomach to anus, is more important to our overall immunity than previously imagined. Some scientists even say that as much as 80 percent of the power of your immune system is in the gut.
The gut contains what are called gastrointestinal immune cells, which secrete lymphocytes –the soldiers of our immune system’s strength against viruses and bacteria. The gut is also heavily fortified with tissue that creates T-cells and B-cells, which not only defend the intestinal mucous membrane but charge and recharge the immune system.
Your gut is not alone:
Your constant companions.
It has been known for a long time that we depend on the activity of good bacteria to help us digest our food. But research into genetics is revealing even more fascinating and nuanced roles for these bacteria, your microbiome – which is now believed to be a human’s largest organ.
It’s becoming clearer that these bacteria play the role in third-party communication between the gut, brain, and immune system – much like the telephone operators of the old days. They also send signals to DNA, prompting the creation of hormones, enzymes, proteins, and more.
Some of these bacteria are so specialized to the human body that there is no way to get them externally. One type of intestinal bacteria can only be passed to a child as it passes through its mother’s birth canal, causing some to speculate that the rise in C-sections might correlate with the rise in various digestive conditions.
Ideally, we have ten to twenty times more bacteria cells in our gut than cells in our organs and tissues. That’s a lot! Low gut flora levels can lead to poor digestion, constipation, leaky gut, cramps, food intolerance, a weak immune system, and more. So it’s important to maintain a healthy balance to get the nutrients you need, as well as for your comfort.
Here’s what you can do to boost your gut health:
- Ditch conventional dairy and consume only grass-fed (raw if available) dairy/cheese.
- Add fermented food items such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and fermented vegetables and rotate your probiotics to ensure you stay
- Replace your daily coffee/tea with a warm cup of bone broth.Avoid antibiotics. These drugs kill both good and bad bacteria, allowing for overgrowth of resistant strains. Antibiotics are found in more than prescriptions. They are also found in conventional meats and many house hold items (soaps, toothpastes etc).
- Avoid antibiotics. These drugs kill both good and bad bacteria, allowing for overgrowth of resistant strains. Antibiotics are found in more than prescriptions. They are also found in conventional meats and many household items (soaps, tooth pastes etc).
Could It Be A Leaky Gut?
This disorder is due to constant aggravating of our immune system response mechanisms in the intestine. The cells that compose the lining of the stomach and intestines are joined at the edges by what are called “tight injunctions.” They are tight because, under ideal circumstances, these junctions do not allow anything through them. However, sufferers of leaky gut (especially in the more extreme cases) get a stomach and intestinal lining that looks like Swiss cheese. When this happens, undigested food, bacteria, toxins, and proteins leak across the lining and into the bloodstream, resulting in an inflammatory response throughout the body. Without the proper bacteria in the gut, the digestive system becomes inflamed as well, leading to hormone problems and high food sensitivity.
The cause of leaky gut could be one of several factors, or a combination of things. Triggers include a diet composed with heavy emphasis on grains, GMO foods (such as bt-corn), pesticides, elevated sugar consumption, excessive alcohol, antibiotic use, a lack or imbalance of gut flora, and the use of certain over-the-counter painkillers.
The outward expressions of leaky gut include headaches, general mental fogginess, memory loss, easily and quickly falling ill, constipation, excessive gas, and diarrhea
Luckily, it’s something you can fix yourself…
- Start with a fast. Talk to your Maximized Living doctor about the extent and type of fast. This is a sure-fire quick solution, as fasting stops the inflammation due to lack of common food triggers.
- Cultivate the proper gut flora with MaxGi, Vitamin D3+Probiotics and fermented foods, bone broth and raw/grass-fed dairy/cheese.
- Add L-Glutamine to your water. It can help the intestine lining to heal and strengthen the tight junctions – your gut cells love glutamine.
- Remove common triggers: wheat, corn, rice, oats, soy, conventional dairy and processed/natural sugars. Do things you enjoy and that relax you to manage stress.
So, here’s to our single-celled friends (the microbiome) and an impermeable intestinal lining. I hope you can see the importance of restoring and maintaining your digestive health for the strength of your immune system. Add these common gut tips to your 5 Essentials Program and watch as your immune power is turned on.
Currently holding a doctorate of chiropractic and certifications in fitness, functional nutrition, cellular detoxification and neuro-spinal correction, Dr. Aaron Ernst has traveled all over the world teaching the principles of Maximized Living and educating all generations on gaining victory over disease naturally. He hosts a weekly podcast, “AskDrErnst” as well as weekly WebTV show, “Q&A with Dr. A” and is member of the Pastoral Medical Association and the Sports Performance Council.