Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis – these are some of the most common ailments facing us today.
So, what do they all have in common?
If you are afflicted with any of these, it means that your immune system is malfunctioning in some way, shape or form. Either the immune system is attacking certain foods or substances, as with allergies, or it is attacking the body as with autoimmune conditions. Keeping our immune system balanced and on track is not only important for preventing chronic conditions, but it will also help keep viruses and bacterial infections at bay.
So, what’s the connection between our microbiome and our immune system? And how does an unhealthy microbiome lead to autoimmune diseases and allergies?
You may have heard that 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut. This makes sense, as our digestive system is one of the first lines of defense for the body. There are specialized cells in the gut made for fighting off pathogens. The good bacteria in the gut act as allies to these immune cells, meaning they also help fight pathogens.
In the last blog on the microbiome, we discussed dysbiosis , which is an imbalance of bad bacteria over good bacteria.
If you have dysbiosis, it means that those allies aren’t present in the gut and 70% of your immune system is compromised. This, along with an inflammatory diet, can weaken the intestinal lining of the gut, thus making it less permeable.
The purpose of our digestive system is to break down nutrients into their smallest components, so they can be absorbed. However with leaky gut, food can get absorbed before it’s completely broken down. As such, a whole protein may enter the blood stream. The body is not used to dealing with whole proteins from food and will not recognize it as something useful. In fact, the body will often deem the whole protein as “foreign”and attack.
This is why you can suddenly develop an allergy to a certain food, even if you have been eating it your whole life. The sudden onset of allergies or food insensitivities is the first sign of leaky gut. Furthermore, once the immune system starts attacking proteins, this can often send it on a war path, in which it may even end up attacking our own proteins. Our skin, hair, nails, and the epithelial lining of our colon, these are all proteins too, which is why poor gut health is also connected with autoimmune conditions.
As holistic nutritionists, we are always looking for the root cause. More and more research shows that one of the root problems with chronic autoimmune conditions is poor gut health and dysbiosis.
Learn how you can take care of your microbiome and heal your gut.
Kick off your gut healing journey with a Candida Cleanse to rebalance your body and your good bacteria. Unlike other cleanses, this diet is not a “fast”. You will not be hungry on this diet and you won’t be taking a medicine-cabinet full of supplements.