Ever wonder what happens when we get sick? Of course, we all know some sort of germ invades our body and makes us feel like crap.
But what exactly is going on underneath the skin? And what does it have to do with gut health? Let’s take a look.
When an invader enters the body, our immune system becomes activated.
That means our immune cells go to work on handling the invasion by killing and removing the invaders.
The gut is one of the most accessible entrances to the body for invaders. Think about it – we’re putting germ-covered foods and items in our mouths all of the time.
When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? What about thoroughly washing your fruit? Yeah… we thought so.
That’s why immune cells are concentrated in the gut – germs are entering the digestive system 24/7.
The tricky part for immune cells is identifying invaders. They must be able to tell the difference between a healthy cell and a pathogen. Even tougher is differentiating between helpful and harmful bacteria living in the microbiome.
So how do they “learn” which microbes are dangerous and which are not? This identification process is where gut health comes into play.
We have several types of immune cells in the body, but one type is particularly crucial for gut immunity: B cells. B cells create antibodies and deploy them in the intestines.
Quick reminder: antibodies are proteins that bind to and kill their target. You can think of them like bullets that only work against enemies.
Each B cell identifies the enemy, manufactures a bullet (antibody), and pulls the trigger.
B cells’ antibodies also act as signals to other immune cells; other immune cells migrate to the site to help out. This process allows for other immune cells to “learn” which bacteria are harmful.
So B cells are the star of the show. Without them, pathogenic bacteria reign (relatively) free. We must protect them at all costs!
Missing B Cells
B cells are precious to our gut health, and anything that harms them dampens our immune response and propels dysbiosis.
Irregular motility (like diarrhea), overuse of antibiotics, and some autoimmune diseases decrease beneficial bacteria and the number of B cells in the gut.
Without beneficial bacteria as competition or B cells as security guards, harmful bacteria have much higher odds of taking over the gut microbiome.
Supplements like bovine colostrum, probiotics, and IgY Max may help regulate our gut immune system. Consult your healthcare practitioner for the appropriate protocol for you.
A healthy gut microbiome fosters a healthy immune response. Tag us in your digestive health journey @igynutrition on Instagram! Happy mixing.