Your Gut…Where A Strong Immune System Is Made!
March 30, 2020
With daily news centered around Covid-19 and our health, it’s a perfect time to discuss immune function and how it relates to gut health.
Most of us are being bombarded with information on how to support the immune system with certain vitamins, herbs, tinctures, teas, and tonics. While all systems of support are very important, it’s critical to put the gut at the top of the list. Did you know that 70% of the immune system resides in the GI tract? It only makes sense that the healthier the gut, the better the immune response!
The immune system is a group of cells that protects us from disease by monitoring the body, and responding to any invader that is perceived as a threat. Because the immune system lives in the gut where trillions of microbes reside, there is a mutual relationship for the existence of both. In good conditions the immune system destroys pathogens, while promoting the growth of stable microbes, and in return the microbes produce molecular signals that support development of new immune cells. Obviously, if there is an imbalance the system begins to fail, which leads to inflammation in the gut, and decreased immune function.
So, how do we properly take care of the gut? The following ideas should be incorporated on a consistent basis to ensure a strong immune system.
Nourishment from whole foods
- A well balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables and fruits will ensure ample amounts of the micronutrients. Choose organic foods when possible, and wild caught/grass fed & finished meats. The following nutrients are especially important for immune support;
- Vitamin A – spinach, sweet potatoes or broccoli
- Vitamin C– citrus fruit, red pepper, papaya
- Vitamin E– almonds, sunflower seeds, healthy oils
- Vitamin D– SUNSHINE, fatty fish, beef liver
- Zinc– lean meats, seafood, beans
- Stress is possibly the worst thing for the body when trying to keep a strong defense. Using apps such as Headspace or Calm are great ways to lower stress, and physically relax the body. Talking to a friend, working on a personal project, organizing, de-cluttering, or taking a nap… all good ways to de-stress!
- Sleep is the time the body can “clean house” (sweep up debris and toxins for elimination). Since sleep must be a priority, aim for 8 plus hours per night.
- Moving the body is important, and being outside to soak up some sun with it is even better (Vitamin D). Exercise reduces stress, moves the lymph system for detoxing the body, increases blood flow, and is a great “safe” social interaction (6 feet apart, of course). Walking and hiking are excellent exercise activities in the days of quarantine.
Herbs and Supplements
- The support of certain herbs and other natural remedies are excellent additions to any immune protocol. Its important to reach out to your health care provider to be sure you are getting exactly what you need. It can be dangerous to self prescribe any natural remedy as these supports are often potent, and may interact with other medications or supplements.
It goes without saying that if “bad” bacteria or fungus overruns the gut microbiome, immune function will not be optimal. At Vitality Natural Medicine we offer simple testing you can do from home to get a great snapshot of what is living in your gut. Please call the office if you would like more information about the testing offered, or if you need more detailed information on immune support.
In times of stress it can be hard to make a lot of change. The ideas above are meant to offer simple tips that can be effective almost immediately. Stay healthy and reach out if we can offer further support and education.
Naturopathic Doctor Denver
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