Did you know that your gut health and your digestive tract are closely tied to your immune system?
A lot of us don’t know but there is a strong link between the two. The digestive system is a long tube-like muscle composed of a lining that filters toxins out of our digestive system and into our bloodstream which takes it to our liver where “all the magic” is made. Hormones, digestive enzymes, and everything that is used in the body for repair and rebuilding first travel to the liver.
Nutrients are broken down from the food we eat, digested, and then sorted into what is needed for the body and what should be removed through the digestive tract. The liver is like a huge manufacturing and detoxification plant where many different jobs take place simultaneously. When our digestive lining becomes too permeable then it allows not just the good stuff into the bloodstream but also the things that are meant to be eliminated through the digestive tract and out of the body. A permeable lining is often called a “leaky gut.”
When this happens, the liver gets what it doesn’t want as well as what it wants, causing the liver to work even harder to process everything. The bloodstream which serves as the transfer mechanism from the digestive tract to the liver also becomes more burdened. When the bloodstream contains things that it should not, the body triggers the lymphatic system to kick in and go to work in an effort to clean the blood. When this happens, we often feel bloated. All this means that the whole system has more work than it should.
The lymphatic system is another part of our immune system that serves to keep viruses and bacteria out of the body. However, if it is busy cleaning the blood system, that adds an unnecessary burden on the body.
The bacteria in our digestive system or colon can also be out of balance. Some people know that as a yeast or Candida overgrowth, which can also be very taxing on our immune system. It can be contained in the bowel, or leaked into the bloodstream leading to a systemic infection. To work at their optimum, our bodies require a balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria.
Symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, and diarrhea can also be a sign that our health and immune system is having to work harder, or is being impacted by our stress, our environment, and diet. There are many ways we can support our immune system by supporting our gut health and digestive tract.
Whenever we do something supportive for our digestive system, we are also contributing to the healthy functioning of many other systems in our body including our mood, liver, skin, circulatory, lymphatic, and immune systems. There are different things we can do to achieve this.
Here are five tips to boost the immune system and gut health.