Healthy Aging Kuel Category Expert: Deb Gutierrez
It is becoming common knowledge in scientific circles that our gut, our “second brain,” has a symbiotic relationship with almost every other system in our body.
The evidence is strong that many chronic diseases are directly connected to the health of your gut.
Welcome to the strong relationship between your microbiome in your gut and other body systems, especially our immune system.
Why So Much Talk About The Microbiome?
Gut flora is essential bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract (GI) and are vital for everything from metabolism to how your body absorbs nutrients. Moreover, your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome. In other words, the microbiome helps digest and absorb the food you eat correctly.
It helps regulate hormones, eliminate toxins, modulate immune function, protect against infections and viruses, and utilize vitamins and other nutrients to keep your gut and body healthy and happy. In addition, this fantastic ecosystem of friendly bacteria needs to be in balance to perform their critically vital work.
“Still, if your gut is out of balance, you’re not going to feel or be your best self.”
Eat A Nutritional Diet:
Did you know changing your diet will change the composition of the microbes in your gut in as little as 24 hours? (1) You can support the health of your immune system and the microbiota that live in your digestive tract.
You may eat a nutritionally dense diet, exercise daily, keep stress under control, and get enough sleep. Still, if your gut is out of balance, you’re not going to feel or be your best self.
The Immune System Gut Connection:
The digestive system is responsible for breaking down all the food you eat into its smallest molecules to deliver vitamins, minerals, fats, amino acids, and glucose to the bloodstream to nourish and fuel your body and brain. If not, these undigested particles may damage the mucosal layer of the intestinal wall, making it difficult to absorb the nutrients you need, leading to nutrient deficiencies.
A healthy microbiome living within the cell lining should protect the integrity of the tight junctions within the small intestine. These tight junctions safeguard your immune system and other body cells from pathogens and antigens.
If the tight junctions are not intact, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and malabsorption. It may lead to an overactive immune system, triggering inflammation and becoming systemic. Therefore, when improperly broken down food particles break through this gut lining, creating intestinal permeability (known as a leaky gut syndrome) and enter the bloodstream; it weakens the immune system and overall health.
In conclusion, pathogens and antigens that survive digestion in the stomach then enter the mucosal lining in the gut where 70%- 80% of the cells of the entire immune system live. Your immune system is brilliant at looking for these pathogens, antigens, and allergens and mounting an attack. In addition, white blood cells work with a healthy immune system get rid of the pathogen or antigen. Protecting the integrity of your gut is critical to a healthy immune system.
“Protecting the integrity of your gut is critical to a healthy immune system.”
A breakdown in your intestinal lining not only makes it challenging to digest nutrients from your food —it can cause significant food sensitivities, worsen allergies, skin conditions, and lead to autoimmune disease.
Gut microbiota alterations due to unhealthy lifestyle factors and dietary triggers may contribute to inflammation, intestinal permeability, immune system dysfunction, and the pathogens that contribute to a broad spectrum of chronic diseases. Above all, healthy lifestyle factors, including a diversified diet, removing consumption of processed and refined foods, eliminating hydrogenated oils, added sugars, and consuming adequate dietary fiber, may all promote a healthy microbiome. (2)
Other Contributors To Intestinal Permeability Are:
- Antibiotic use
- High Alcohol Consumption
- Imbalance in the digestive system
- Chronic Stress
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Lack of breast-feeding during infancy
When the gut is inflamed, it does not secrete digestive enzymes to digest foods or absorb nutrients and foods properly. However, you can aid in your healing process by supplementing digestive enzymes that will help break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Digestive Enzymes help break down these foods into essential compounds to help prevent inflammation and an inflammatory immune reaction—supplements like Digestive Enzymes, Bile Salts, and Hydrochloric Acid.
7 Best Ways To Support Your Gut And Immune System Daily:
- Get quality and adequate sleep (sleep deprivation will deplete healthy bacteria populations in the gut.) I know it is challenging as we age, and there are specific protocols I recommend to assist with optimal sleep.
- Eat various nutrient-dense foods at each meal, including – protein from meat, fish, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, avocado oil, fatty fish, olives, and even real butter.
- Avoid all processed foods, high-glucose spiking carbohydrates like- bread, pasta, and sweet treats.
- Avoid inflammatory oils – canola, soybean, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, vegetable, rice bran, and corn. Similarly, the body sees these as foreign invaders and triggers an immediate inflammatory response.
- Get plenty of Vitamin D, which is necessary for various immune responses. In addition, a deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity and increased susceptibility to infection.
- Get outside and exercise – it strengthens the immune system and is likely to help reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
- Take a breath. Stress makes it virtually impossible to digest and absorb the nutrients from your food properly. In other words, reduce stress by taking deep, controlled breaths in and out through your nose to support your immunity.
For further guidance, support, or recommendations you may reach Deb directly. Schedule a time to chat.
(1) Singh RK, Chang HW, Yan D, et al. Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. J Transl Med. 2017;15(1):73. Published 2017 Apr 8. doi:10.1186/s12967-017-1175-y
(2)- Shanahan F, van Sinderen D, O’Toole PW, et al. Feeding the microbiota: transducer of nutrient signals for the hostGut 2017;66:1709-1717. https://gut.bmj.com/content/66/9/1709
The information in this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services. Above all, the information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed physician. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health providers regarding a medical condition.
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About the Author:
Deb Gutierrez is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Personal Trainer. Her transformational coaching method helps women take the “grind” and stress out of everyday life, ditch the chronic fatigue and anxiety, to be productive, feel incredible, and fulfilled. For her, Health and Fitness are at the cornerstone of what brings meaning to life. It is the process of pushing, pulling, moving, failing, and prevailing that equals feeling fully alive. She has been married for 30 years to her husband Jim, and they have a daughter and Identical twin sons. She loves speaking, creating, and working with other women to create and celebrate the life you deserve and desire.