The Intersection of Gut and Immune System Health
We are all living through a period of time that is introducing a tremendous amount of additional stress on our bodies and on our immune systems. Most of us know that during times of heightened stress it is particularly important to maintain good gut health as well as a strong immune system. But how do these two systems interact and how do we keep them functioning properly?
Well, it all comes together in the gut (GI Tract). The gut helps us digest the foods we consume and turn these nutrients into substances that our digestive tract can absorb. To do that, we count on digestive enzymes which our saliva and organs produce naturally. Enzymes like lactase to break down milk (and ice cream), amylase for carbs and starches, protease that works on proteins and Lipase that handles fats. As long as we have enough of these enzymes (and the right kinds) we digest our foods properly…and avoid unpleasant issues like indigestion, gas, bloating, diarrhea, etc. Unfortunately, as we age (that means after age 20!), our bodies tend to produce fewer enzymes naturally and/or may be missing enough of the types of enzymes that we most need to process our favorite foods. That’s why many of us need to replenish or add digestive enzymes to our daily pre-meal routine.
But the role of the gut doesn’t stop there. A large proportion of our immune system actually resides in the GI tract…which in fact provides 50% of the body’s total immune response. The immune system is the group of cells and molecules that protect us from invaders by monitoring our body and responding to any foreign substances they perceive as threats, particularly infectious microbes. Our immune system has co-evolved along with a diverse gut flora (bacteria), not only to create defenses against pathogens, but also to develop a tolerance for beneficial microbes. As a consequence, the immune system and the gut microbiome have developed a symbiotic partnership, regulating one another and cooperating to support each other.
That’s where bacteria (and probiotics) enter the picture. Humans have more bacterial cells—a lot more—than human cells. Bacteria live on our skin, in the nose and ears, and, most of all, in the gut. Over the normal course of a day, as a result of eating, touching and breathing, a wide variety of bacteria enter our body. In a sense, the gut is a wide-open campground. Any bacteria in the vicinity can pitch a tent and settle in. So, the more beneficial bacteria (i.e. probiotics) we have filling up the campground, the better.
Until recently, if most people thought about those bacteria at all, we tended to think of them as fairly separate from us. They help with digestion of course, but otherwise we figured they stay on their side of the intestinal lining, and we stay on our side. But, in fact, there is a lot of interaction between the body’s immune system and bacteria in the gut. For example, certain cells in the lining of the gut spend their lives excreting massive quantities of antibodies into the gut. So, it is to our advantage to ensure that we are continuously populating our systems with the very best bacteria and why, especially now, it is important to take good daily care of our gut.
At Zenwise Health®, we focus on helping our family and our community maintain a healthy functioning gut and we also focus on providing the best probiotics available to help maintain a strong immune system. The proprietary probiotic strain we use is DE111®, a strain clinically shown to exert immunomodulatory effects by decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-a circulation) in athletes. Our Zenwise Digestive Enzymes with Probiotics and Prebiotics feature 1Billion CFU (colony forming units) of DE111® and our new organic Probiotic Gummies contain 5B CFU’s per serving.
We invite you to learn more about these products as well as additional Zenwise Health® products that will soon be available to help you protect your gut, your immune system and your whole-body health.
We take our community’s health seriously and during these trying times, ask you to be equally vigilant in taking proactive steps to maintain your good health.