Holtorf Medical Group
Book Appointment1 877-508-1177
How It WorksOur ServicesWhat We TreatAestheticsAbout UsOur DoctorsFAQArticlesContact
Facebook LinkInstragram Link
Shop
Back

Listen to Your Gut for Immune System Health

Holtorf Medical Group

Usually when people hear the word “gut,” digestion or a “beer belly” often come to mind. But did you know that the gut makes up about 75% of the immune system? Gut health plays a crucial role in immunity through the presence of beneficial bacteria, or microflora, which colonize and nest in the mucosal lining of the intestines. When these microflorae are not thriving within the gut, immunity is greatly compromised.

The microflorae in the gut form a barrier that protects against invaders by competing with harmful bacteria and viruses. These microflorae communicate with the immune system, prompting it to attack bad bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites, and to prevent more bacteria from taking up residence. When microflorae are not thriving, these harmful agents are left free to take over, as in the case of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Microflora also plays a role in the gut by helping digest and metabolize food. Patients who have suboptimal microflora often experience compromised digestion and typically are deficient in valuable nutrients such as vitamins A, D, and B6, as well as in minerals such as zinc, selenium, potassium, iron, and iodine. These patients frequently suffer from leaky gut syndrome due to the weak, thin lining of the intestinal wall, leading to food allergies or sensitivities, eczema, and inflammation. And inflammation caused by leaky gut syndrome often leads to autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, chronic fatigue, and more. Scientific evidence also supports the relationship between gut microflora and mood and the ability to handle stress. Microflora also may play a role in obesity, cholesterol, and heart health.

Poor gut health can also play a role in the development of hypothyroidism. Up to a third of thyroid hormone conversion takes place in the gut. When gut health is compromised, the thyroid hormone T4 often will convert in excess to Reverse T3 – which blocks thyroid hormone receptors on the cells – instead of converting to T3, the active thyroid hormone which is used by the cells. The resulting imbalance in RT3 to Free T3 can result in hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of Gut Dysfunction

Symptoms of gut dysfunction may not be overt in the beginning but often can precede serious health issues. Some symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Abnormal-looking stools
  • Intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut Syndrome)
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Joint pain
  • Eczema and other skin disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Memory issues, brain fog
  • Mood swings
  • Nutritional and mineral deficiencies

How to Support Gut Health

Patients can increase and support gut health and immunity by making sure their gut microflorae are thriving and making sure digestion is working optimally. Some sure-fire ways to help include:

Diet

Patients can protect and heal the gut by trying to create an environment where beneficial bacteria thrive. This includes eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in foods that will encourage the growth of healthy bacteria and limiting or avoiding foods that will cause an imbalance of good bacteria to bad bacteria and weaken the intestinal walls. Foods to avoid include processed foods, refined sugar, excessive alcohol, and grains, especially those containing gluten such as wheat, rye, and barley.

Those with food allergies or sensitivities are wise to strictly avoid the offending foods and reduce further damage to the digestive tract. Some elimination diets involve a process for determining which foods are problematic.

Probiotics

Taking probiotic supplements and consuming fermented food and drink will help ensure and restore proper colonization of gut microflora.

Digestive Aids

Patients with low gut flora and leaky gut often have low stomach acid and digestive enzymes. Supplements like hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes can help break down food properly during the digestion process.

Supplements for Inflammation

For patients suffering from inflammation in the gut and elsewhere in the body, supplements like turmeric, quercetin, bromelain, and L-glutamine may help.

Limit Antibiotic Use

There are times when antibiotics are necessary but avoiding the overuse of antibiotics is important since antibiotics eliminate not only harmful bacteria but also healthy ones. If you must take antibiotics for an infection, taking additional probiotic supplements can help prevent yeast infections and the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the digestive system.


Holtorf Medical GroupThe Holtorf Medical Group specializes in optimizing quality of life and being medical detectives to uncover the underlying cause of symptoms, rather than just prescribing medications to cover-up the symptoms. We are experts in natural, prescription bioidentical hormone replacement and optimization, complex endocrine dysfunction, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease. We’ve dedicated our practice to providing you the best in evidenced-based, integrative medicine that’s not only safe and effective, but provides measurable results.


more from: Immune Health

Jason Dobruck

18 Foods that Help Boost Your Immune System

Diet can greatly impact immune function

Holtorf Medical Group

Supplements To Support Immune Health

It's possible to improve immune function with supplements.

Holtorf Medical Group

6 Signs You Have a Weak Immune System and What You Can Do About It

People may have difficulty recognizing immune weakness

Stay up to date

By submitting this form, you consent to receive marketing and promotional emails from Holtorf Medical Group. You may unsubscribe from this list at any time. View Privacy Policy.