A Chink in the Armor Brings Down the Castle
Most people don’t know that 70 - 80% of our immune system is located in our gut. It is our most vulnerable spot to keep nutrients in and pathogens out. There are several issues as to the consequences of an impaired digestive system: too little HCL and “Leaky Gut” Syndrome, Gut Flora issues, compromised beneficial microorganisms, and allergies.
Hydrochloric acid, located in the stomach, is a 1st line of defense and acts like a chemical barrier responsible for digesting not only nutrients but bacteria, viruses, parasites, and prions that are ingested on a daily basis. If the gut is compromised then our main immune defense is also compromised. One of the problems in our digestion is caused by not producing enough HCL in the stomach to break down nutrients and pathogens. This lack of HCL sends undigested proteins into the small intestine which damages the intestinal wall; the result is called “leaky gut”. Once a “leak” has occurred, substances now leave the gut and enter into the bloodstream where they are identified as “foreign substances” by the body and a full immune response is set into motion. “Leaky Gut” leads to allergies, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and progressive degeneration.
In the above scenario, the gut’s epithelial tissue layer has been damaged and caused the “Leaky Gut”. It takes approximately 7 days for epithelial tissue to repair itself but here’s the problem...epithelial tissue is dependent on healthy gut flora (good bacteria) to regenerate. When undigested nutrients and microbes are passing into the large intestine they overpower the healthy bowel flora leading to the creation of bad bacteria which in turn compromises the epithelial tissue repair.
Beneficial microorganisms are also compromised when the digestive system is compromised. These microorganisms are essential to swallow up bacterial invaders that have been ingested. When these beneficial microorganisms are low in numbers, IgA (antibodies produced by lymphocytes) are also reduced in numbers and further compromise the immune system.
Food allergies are also a contributor to a compromised immune system. Food allergies cause inflammation, “leaky gut” and builds memory in antibody form that will trigger the immune system whenever the food that causes the allergy is ingested.
Overall, a healthy digestive system and a properly prepared, nutrient-dense diet are essential for proper immune function.