The Gut: Foundation for Good Immune Function

The most expansive location of our immune system cells are actually made in the gut’s mucosal lining.  Would you believe 70%!  The mucosal lining has a kind of selective permeability. Pores in the gut wall allow nutrients to pass through and when they are broken down sufficiently get absorbed into the bloodstream.  Other undesirable things are blocked out and sent through the system to be handled as wastes by the liver.  When the pores get too big or the selective process breaks down, the intestines become hyper-permeable. “Leaky gut syndrome” (Intestinal Permeability) is a term used when the intestines become damaged, more openings develop in the gut wall, and the wall becomes more ‘porous’ to the extent that some of the contents passing through the intestines are allowed to get into the bloodstream when they should be kept out.

Once the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed or damaged it disrupts the way the digestive system functions. The spaces that open up allow large food antigens to be absorbed into the body, which are regarded as ‘foreign’ to the body’s defense system. This results in the production of antibodies against what was once harmless and innocuous food.  This is how food sensitivities and allergies start, as well as new symptoms such as arthritis, anxiety, eczema, impaired memory, poor immunity, diarrhea, constipation and more.  As you can see, more than one organ can be affected and different symptoms can arise from the same culprit in different people.

What are Common Sources?

  • Chronic stress alters your physiology and suppresses your immune system.  A healthy immune system can normally block out typical pathogens.  If it’s weak it’s not so easy.  An over active immune system can’t defend itself from pathogens and leaky gut can develop.
  • Anything causing inflammation.  Bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeasts can all cause inflammation (as well as give off their own toxins).  Insuffficiently broken down food, or poor hydrochloric acid production may cause poor digestion and large food particles to irritate the gut lining.  Foods that cause an immediate and or delayed food reaction also cause inflammation that can lead to altered immune function.  The more you eat them, the more work has to be done to process them out of your system.  So, you get less nutrition and use up more energy for the process.  See Mediator Release Test (MRT) and LEAP.
  • Prescription as well as OTC drugs such as aspirin (acetaminophen and salicylates), anti-inflammatories and pain-relievers.  They are rough on the intestines, and contribute to reduced thickness of the gut lining, and more susceptible to yeast, inflammation and irritation by food passing through.
  • SAD (Standard American Diet) consisting of refined carbohydrates and sugar, excess alcohol, processed food, preservatives, chemicals, flavorings and food coloring. Our bodies can’t properly utilize these artificial substances so they are treated as toxins.
  • Environmental toxins from the air we breathe, chemicals we use, cosmetics and creams we slather on our skin can all build up in our systems and irritate our gut lining.  This constant inflammation and immune activity can create a more permeable gut wall.

Next Post:  “Correcting Gut Imbalance”


Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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