By Dr. Mia Iyer
It is alarming to know that so many people suffer from autoimmunity. Millions of individuals fall trap into this immune challenge and the cases are only on the rise. On the contrary to many sources saying that it is a hard-to-treat condition and it may not have a cure; I beg to differ. This might sound too good to be true but if you understand the important pieces of this disease in general, it becomes easy to tackle and those suffering from it might very well be on their road to recovery.
According to many immunology experts, the road to recovery from autoimmune conditions starts with the detection of triggering agents. Once the trigger is detected, it becomes easy to remove said triggers and then work on repairing the immune barriers. If you think about it, our environment plays a huge role in contributing to these triggers. One of the easiest ways triggering agents are introduced into the body is through the gut. So, depending on what we take in orally, over time it can either prove to be a friend or a foe. Our gut forms a major line of defense that works to get rid of the bad stuff and take in good nutrients. But when the gut barrier function is not strong, in other words, it becomes leaky, it opens the door for toxins, antigens, and microbial pathogens to get into contact with the immune system and enter the systemic circulation. Somewhere in the chaos, the immune system goes haywire and starts to attack the body’s tissues.
What we can understand from this, we must start with healing the gut to make the immune system our friend again. A healthy gut has a diverse microbiome, a healthy mucosa, a strong intestinal barrier wall, and happy gut cells. So, to heal a leaky gut, the first step is removing triggering agents. These include allergens we already know – gluten, dairy, soy, corn, GMOs, and heavily processed foods. Along with removing these triggering entities, the gut needs to be given healing nutrients. Here are my favorite nutrients for a healthy gut:
Probiotics – More and more research is emerging about the gut microbiome dictating every aspect of our health. A healthy gut microbiome is balanced and diverse. Probiotics help support healthy gut microbiota and immune function.
Healthy proteins – Proteins like L-Glutamine and collagen help repair the gut mucosal lining and strengthen barrier function. These can be taken as a supplement, but they are also found in healing foods like bone broth.
Healing herbs – I love using herbs as they are so multifaceted in the way they work. Some of my favorite gut-healing herbs are marshmallow root, licorice, and slippery elm. These herbs are categorized as demulcents that function mainly to support mucus membranes.
With the majority of the immune system found in the gut, it only makes sense to heal the “hole in the middle”, in other words, the gut first. Remember, a healthy and a happy gut is the gateway to a robust immune system!
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