Your gut health has a big impact on many areas of your life. You may be aware of the more obvious areas, like digestion, and stomach discomfort, and you may even be aware of the less obvious areas of your life that gut health directly affects, like mood, sleep, and inflammation in the body. But can it impact my immune function and my body’s ability to fight off infection? The answer is: absolutely, yes.
Your gut is a major part of your immune system
Everything that we consume is metabolized by our gastrointestinal tract. This includes vitamins, nutrients, good and bad bacteria, which all comes from food, beverages, medications, supplements, and even what we breathe. One of the primary jobs of your gut microbiota (gut bacteria make up) is to fight off harmful, foreign substances and eliminate them from the body, which is where immune function comes into play.
When you are consuming more foods, liquids, or other substances that the bad bacteria feed on, your immune system is unable to fight off infection properly, due to the imbalance of bad/good bacteria in your gut.
Healthy bacteria release antibodies in the gut that fight off infection
There are many different strains of probiotic bacteria, and they all have different jobs. Some strains have the job of releasing antibodies to fight off an infection that may be present in the body.
Other strains actually release signals to activate other cells that are all throughout the body to fight off an infection that may be in different organs like the lungs, liver, kidneys, and also within the blood.
Bacteria in the gut teach our immune system how to function properly
As soon as we are born, there is bacteria within our gut that tells our immune system how to behave. We are always exposed to different types of irritants like bacteria that we breathe in, eat, touch, etc. When you have a healthy microbiota that has been exposed to multiple different pathogens, it has the ability to fight off all the bad bacteria that we are constantly exposed to.
But when your gut microbiota is unbalanced, our immune system drops and is unable to fight off the pathogens that we may be exposed to.
To keep your immune system in prime condition, it is important to feed your body healthy foods that the good bacteria feed on (prebiotics), and replenish your body of good bacteria by eating probiotic foods.