Updated: Sep 1, 2022
So COVID has been in our lives for quite sometime now, even though the start date remains somewhat of a mystery. We now have vaccines rolling out, we have tried isolation, but the variants keep popping up. The virus keeps mutating. There will be more spikes in cases that we need to get through.
The best defense we have to fight this virus and any other virus is our immune systems and that starts in your gut! Whether you have had the vaccine or not, we all need to nourish our guts like our life depends on it and here is why.
70% of our immune system lies in our gut. There are billions of bacteria that live in our gut and they work in tandem with our immune cells to combat invaders in our body. The human body is made of bacteria, viruses, and cells which all need to be in check. We have bacteria on our skin and in our mucous membranes. Bacteria are sort of the "coaches" of our immune system telling our other immune cells who the invaders are. The gut bacteria trap and kill any invaders that come down intestinal freeway. The microbiome is also essential for proper digestion of foods and vitamins which are key to healthy immune system and they nourish the lining of the intestines preventing any leakage of foreign invaders.
A strong gut wall is key to a strong immune system. When the bacteria is in balance, your gut wall is intact, strong and ready for anything and everything that comes its way. When the lining of the intestines is not healthy it throws off our immune system. Protecting the gut wall is essential since this is the only defense from toxins, foods, and bugs entering the gut and escaping into the rest of the body. Harmful bacteria leak endotoxins that in an unhealthy gut are allowed to escape illiciting an immune response and low lying inflammation throughout the body. This is turn weakens our immune system and can lead to autoimmune disease with symptoms like psoriasis, eczema, depression, hashimoto's thyroiditis, brain fog, and anxiety. This in turn increases our stress and throws our hormones off balance.
The gut is our second brain. The gut contains the enteric nervous system which has 100 million nerve cells are interwoven within it. So the bacteria in your gut are listening to your thoughts! For example, about 80% or our feel good chemical, serotonin, is made in the gut. Serotonin promotes confidence, well being and good sleep. The bacteria in our gut are responsible synthesizing our serotonin. I am sure by now you can see that when we have dysbiosis (an imbalance of "good" and "bad" bacteria) in our gut our levels of serotonin can be diminished causing depression and anxiety symptoms. So a healthy microbiome not only can increase your confidence and mood but will also help you to look more rested.
Some signs of an unhealthy gut: