You rely on your immune system to protect you from infections and keep you healthy … and here’s where gut health comes in.
Every day pathogens — like infectious bacteria, viruses, and toxins — threaten your health. Your immune system has special cells that patrol constantly so they can detect those pathogens immediately. Once your immune system sees what it’s up against, it responds with powerful weapons to defeat the threat before it affects your health.
When it’s working properly, that is.
Your immune system can’t function properly — or fully protect you — without the support of good bacteria in your gut. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to throw your gut bacteria out of balance and sabotage your immune system.
Your gut microbiome contains trillions of bacteria, both good and bad. When your gut microbiome has a healthy balance, good bacteria (probiotics) outnumber bad bacteria (pathogens) and contribute to your overall wellbeing.
The probiotic bacteria in your gut help shape and train your immune system, and supply it with supportive nutrients and healing compounds. And since more than 70 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, you can see why healthy balance is so important.
But when your gut microbiome falls out of balance and into a state of dysbiosis, bad bacteria outnumber good bacteria. When that happens, your gut microbiome has a negative impact on your immune system.
Dysbiosis can lead your immune system to overreact, creating inflammation and attacking your own healthy cells. It can also cause an immune system under-reaction, which leaves you extra vulnerable to any infections that are going around.
Unfortunately, your gut microbiome faces damaging threats every day. And any one of those threats can sabotage the balance … and healthy immune system function.
Gut dysbiosis damages your immune system and the way it responds to infections. That’s why it’s crucial to get your gut microbiome in healthy balance and keep it there.
But many features of everyday life work against a healthy gut microbiome and immune system, leaving you extra vulnerable to infections. Some of the worst culprits include:
Any of these factors can interfere with a healthy gut microbiome, but it’s even more likely that you’re experiencing several at once. And when your gut becomes unbalanced, it has an enormous effect on your immune system.
Dysbiosis interferes with healthy immune system activity in a few different ways.
Harmful bacteria produce many damaging toxins, including lipopolysaccharides (LPS toxins). Both the bad bacteria and their toxic by-products attack the protective lining — known as the gut barrier — inside the intestines.
The gut barrier’s job is to allow nutrients out into the bloodstream while keeping pathogens and toxins safely locked inside the gut. When bad bacteria, LPS toxins, and other harmful compounds attack, they damage the gut barrier and escape into the bloodstream. From there, they can reach any part of your body and do even more harm.
Your immune system detects these threats and starts to respond. It uses inflammation as one of its main defensive weapons. Since new threats constantly leak through the gut barrier, your immune system can’t shut down its responses. That leads to system-wide, long-term inflammation — the root cause of many autoimmune and chronic conditions.
At the same time, the bad bacteria in the gut prevent good bacteria from flourishing. Probiotic bacteria play a crucial role in optimal immune function by:
So, in dysbiosis, when bad bacteria are in charge, your immune system loses out on all of that support.
The solution: Rebalance the gut microbiome so beneficial bacteria can flourish and get your immune system back on track.
You can rebalance an unhealthy gut and keep it in healthy shape by making five simple changes to your daily routine. Keep when considering how to improve gut health, you must achieve better balance between of the microorganisms in your gut.
When functioning at its best, your gut is an immune powerhouse. It also works hard to keep your neurological health in peak shape, while nourishing your body and removing toxins and waste. The more we learn about the intricate connections between gut function, immunity and overall wellness, the more tools and strategies we have to improve this core foundation of optimal health.
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