Here we go again “Flu Season” is around the corner… – There are many things you can do to support immune function – but did you know that supporting your gut is one of them?
Did you know…
- That 70-80% of your immune function resides in your gut?
- Increasing the diversity and building the number of good bacteria can help support immune function?
- There are a variety of simple things you can do every day to help?
Let’s start with, “What is your immune system”
- The immune system has a vital role in the body – to protect it from foreign and harmful invaders.
- It’s a complex system including cells, proteins and organs that work together to protect the body from germs, viruses, fungi and pathogens.
- When the immune system is working as it should, it goes unnoticed, but when you’re run down, your defences can become too weak allowing opportunistic bacteria or viruses to swoop in and possibly make you ill.
The immune system is comprised of two subsystems: The innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.
- The innate immune system defends the body from non-specific pathogens that enter the body. Everyone is born with an innate immune system and Its role is to quickly eat and engulf pathogens that enter your body through a variety of passageways, for example: mouth, nose and skin.
- The adaptive immune system (sometimes referred to as the acquired immune system) targets specific pathogens that were already encountered by the body. It actually has a memory, for instance if you have acquired measles once you won’t get it again. It acts much more slowly than the innate immune system and adapts to changes in bacteria and viruses so that it learns to protect the body over time.
The Gut Microbiota
A collection of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that reside in the gut. It has a wide range of effects on the body, from cognitive function, behaviour, metabolism, appetite, immunity, digestive health and more…
Study of the microbiome continues to unfold as microbes are found in various parts of the body including the skin, nose and ears. It’s associated with chronic diseases ranging from gastrointestinal inflammatory and metabolic conditions to neurological, cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses to name a few…
Maintaining a healthy balance between good and bad microbes is key for our microbiome’s ability to support our immune system and overall health.
Gut/Immune System: A Symbiotic Relationship
Up until a couple of decades ago, the scientific community believed that bacteria had little to do with our well-being, other than to assist with the digestion of certain foods. We now know that the immune system is particularly interconnected with gut bacteria.
The interaction between the two begins at birth, and in time the immune system forms the diversity of the microbiome which influences the strength and development of the immune system.
The following is a list of foods, supplements and lifestyle strategies you can implement to
help improve immune function.