Posted by Margy on 2/25/2023 to GI Health
PROBIOTICS, Healthy Planting for Immunity
There’s a whole lot of activity going on hidden inside your gastrointestinal (GI) tract Once a mystery, this microbiome of trillions of microorganisms exists to perform multiple tasks beyond digestion and elimination. Along came the Microbiome Project to map the DNA sequences. Scientists learned what the DNA in those tiny GI organisms were programming the cell to do, how they do it and their interactions within the microbiome. It was a giant undertaking since there are more than 500 different microorganisms! That is like trying to know your 500 neighbors, their kids, grandkids and so on! What did they find? It gets a bit complicated to explain but here goes!
The GI tract has its own nervous system, the enteric nervous system (ENS), with a signaling network to regulate the microbiome. There’s even bi-directional talk between the ENS and the brain which appears to affect mood, cognition, hormones and pain perception. In fact ,the GI tract has more detection and signaling molecules than any other organ – that’s why it has such a great impact on health and the risk of disease.
The mucosal lining is busy too with neuron, endocrine and immune detection cells that monitor the GI environment. Anything incoming: food, chemicals and medications get screened. The ENS signaling also triggers GI motility, responds to stimuli like stress and movement. It’s even responsible for the impulse to vomit or for diarrhea, two of its methods for eliminating toxins from the body.
This complex community also has a big role in immune function. Naturopathic medicine has long held that health starts in the gut. Thanks to the Microbiome Project, we now know why. Besides fighting on its own turf, the GI system activates the body’s immune response, too.
About 70-80% of your immune cells are in the gut and this organ has more antibody producing cells than any other organ to fight invading viruses and bacteria.
One example of these immune cells are the immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies which defend the nose and upper respiratory tract by deactivating and eliminating bad guys before they can replicate and infect you. Plus, a healthy GI tract synthesizes vitamins and passes along nutrients to the rest of the body to equip your immune army. You are beginning to get the picture.
But like the outside natural environment around us, the environment of the GI tract can get polluted and dysfunctional. Antibiotics are a common threat as it destroys many of these beneficial microorganisms, lowering their numbers and leaving space for bad neighbors to move in. There’s an easy way to make sure your GI tract stays populated and clean and you healthy. Plant some friendly microorganisms into it with probiotics!
The best way to repopulate the community is with a diverse probiotic product of multiple strains. Some of the more predominant ones have long and funny names like Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Bifidobacterium longum. Each species has specific tasks within the microbiome such as DNA protection, reducing inflammatory markers and so on. Look for a product with 8-10 billion units to support the trillions your GI tract needs to thrive like those found in David's Probiotics™ and David's Probiotics Blend™ . Many products do not need refrigeration, but I like to keep mine on the door of the refrigerator once opened. If storing in a cupboard, make sure it is a cool place.
How often should you take probiotics? If you have symptoms of malaise, fatigue, brain fog, aches and pains, get and stay sick often and recover slowly, your microbiome may need help. Start with a daily dose or 2-3 times a week. I take mine at bedtime so food dose not interfere with absorption. Perhaps you think your environment is already polluted. Take a look at Is Your GI Toxic? and consider a detox as a first step. Think of it as cleaning up the neighborhood of weeds before planting! Your marvelous microbiome will be good as new and doing all that’s on its “to do” list for your well -being.
WHAT A HEALTHY GI DOES FOR YOU!
- Hosts 70% of immune system cells
- Has more antibodies producing cells than other organs
- Supports immune surveillance
- Boosts number of cells that seek & destroy pathogens
- Reduces inflammatory markers that damage cells/tissues
- Decreases DNA damage to cells Boost antioxidant & detox enzymes
- Assists immune response to acute insult/injury
- Suppresses pre-cancer cells & bind to them for excretion
- Stimulates enzymes to detoxify harmful cells
- Signals for hunger/satiety to brain
- Modifies & impacts stress response
- Has a bidirectional communication with brain
- Digests carbs & creates energy with short chain fatty acids
- Synthesizes vitamins
- Metabolizes toxins
- Controls intestinal pathogens
- Reduces serum cholesterol concentration
- & so much more!
Read other posts under GI Health for more about this marvelous organ!