We all know just how important our immune systems are to our health and wellbeing. We have immune tissue and cells all over our bodies, the majority of which line our entire gastrointestinal tract and intestines. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that our immune system acts aberrantly when digestive problems arise.
We often see immune over-reactivity when too many foreign substances that should otherwise be kept within our gastrointestinal tract are allowed to enter the bloodstream. When we ingest foods and drinks that we are sensitive to, or that our bodies react adversely to, the first place damage is seen is in the cells of the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, when our intestinal cells become damaged and inflamed, they are not able to keep out foreign particles and toxins as efficiently. This is when we see what’s called “leaky gut”, which is when molecules that would otherwise be kept out of the bloodstream are allowed to sneak through the compromised cellular barrier in the intestinal tract. The more foreign particles that our immune system comes into contact with and primes its antibodies to tag and attack, the more likely it becomes that those same proteins will attack the “self”. This is how autoimmunity comes to be; the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own cells and tissues.
Conversely, when the immune system is less reactive or compromised, it does not work as effectively as it should. This is when we see frequent and recurring infections, including those of the skin, nails, ears, sinuses, lungs, and genitourinary tracts.
Ensuring that our immune system is functioning optimally means that it is neither deficient, nor overactive. Naturopathic doctors are experts at establishing the foundations of health by providing the healthiest terrain that is necessary for your body’s immune system to work in harmony within your own body, as well as with the world around you.