By now, you’re probably familiar with the idea that a happy gut = a healthy you, but did you know that the health of your gut directly impacts the strength of your immune system? Keep reading to learn more!
Best Buds since Birth
Your gut and immune system are deeply connected in a symbiotic relationship where the health of one directly impacts the other. It all started the moment you were born, which is when your body encountered all sorts of bacteria for the first time . From that moment and throughout your life, your gut microbiome has been and is constantly shifting and changing in response to various factors, like your lifestyle, what you eat, and your environment. As your gut microbiome continues to evolve, this directly impacts your immunity, as more than 70% of your immune system is actually located in your gut  !
How the Gut Microbiome Affects Immunity
1. Your gut trains your immune system.
Believe it or not, your gut microbiome is a school of sorts where your immune system learns how to function effectively during your earliest years. The trillions of microorganisms that make up your gut microbiome are tiny teachers that teach your immune system how to respond to various stimuli. For example, the gut microbiome trains your immune cells to be able to distinguish between pathogens—the bad guys—and your own body tissue . This helps the immune system fight infection effectively without going overboard and attacking the body itself.
2. Your gut keeps your immune system balanced.
After training the immune system to properly develop during childhood, your gut continues to lend a helping hand by regulating your immune system throughout your adult life. For instance, the mucus lining of your gut does much more than just protect the rest of your body from food and bacteria passing through your gut. It also actively balances your immune system by sending out immunoregulatory signals . This means that your immune system can continue to tell the good guys and bad guys apart, even when the bacterial composition of your microbiome is constantly changing!
Your immune system and your gut microbiome are also quite the chatty pair and are constantly communicating! The way this works is that gut bacteria intermittently send out signals, for example to alert the immune system about a new pathogen. Your immune system then picks up these signals and responds appropriately , . Kind of like a ship at sea spotting pirates in the distance, and sending out some light signals to alert the coast guard!
3. Your gut can rebuild your immune system.
Recent research shows that your gut bacteria can actually help rebuild a weakened immune system , which has profound implications for the treatment of many immune-related conditions. For example, when cancer patients receive chemotherapy to kill cancer cells, many healthy immune cells are also killed in the process, and patients often have to be treated extensively to help them rebuild their immune systems. However, a recent study showed that the health of the gut microbiome was closely connected to the recovery of patients’ immune systems . In other words, focusing on strengthening the gut microbiome could potentially help speed up the recovery of a damaged immune system!
Given the profound connection between a healthy gut and a strong immune response, it’s super important to make sure your gut has everything it needs to stay happy and healthy. Though many factors affect gut health, one of the key things you can do is to make sure you’re getting enough soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is a prebiotic, which means that it feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, allowing them to thrive and multiply.
Getting enough soluble fibre is strongly linked with better gut health (and overall health!), while not getting enough is linked with all sorts of health issues . If you’re interested in a fibre supplement to help you meet your daily fibre needs, check out Acazen, Alpinia’s 100% vegan, tasteless and odourless soluble fibre supplement. You may also be interested in ACAZEN+, the newest version of Acazen which combines the benefits of fibre with the power of vitamin C for even more immune support!
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