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You and Your Microbiome

woman holding family cutoutThese days our attention is on the immune system. So it makes sense to shed some light on one of its most important parts.

Your gut. Your immune system relies on the condition of our microbiome.

The microbiome consists of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. These microbes live in our gastrointestinal tract. If you’re healthy, you support up to 1,000 different species. Each plays a different role in our body. Some are essential for digestion and other bodily functions. Others, if uncontrolled, can result in disease and ill health.

Our immune system is designed to recognize and neutralize invaders. So we want to make sure our immune system is performing at its best.

The key is to do more of what improves immune system function. And less of what disrupts its capacity to protect us.

Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

Nutritious meals – Start by eating real food. Avoid processed, prepackaged food and eat a diverse mix of plants and vegetables. Deficiencies of certain micronutrients may impair immune system function.

Regular exercise – Exercise is a vital factor of good health. The immune system degrades after only six weeks of inactivity.

Healthy weight – Many afflicted with Covid-19 suffer from obesity. Which is often accompanied by diabetes. Your immune system improves as your overall health improves.

Restful sleep – Many underestimate its importance. Less than seven hours per night can take a toll on your immune system. It’s a stress that can put you in an elevated fight-or-flight state.

Hand washing – By now you’ve heard the advice to wash and avoid touching your face. It’s an easy way to avoid testing your immune system. Simple, but quite effective.

Things That Disrupt Your Immune System

Processed food – If you’re not getting nourished, neither are the microbes in your gut. This creates an opening for opportunistic bacteria to flourish. The result? Immune system compromise.

Antibiotics – Indiscriminate use has caused considerable harm. Antibiotics kill unwanted bacteria along with desirable microbes. Consider antibiotics as a last resort.

Pesticides and herbicides –
Chemicals used in factory farming can effect our microbiome. These can disrupt essential hormone production and regulation.

Tobacco use – Smoking weakens the immune system. It suppresses antibodies designed to protect against foreign invaders. Smokers are more prone to infections, pneumonia and influenza.

Excessive alcohol – Alcohol can produce nutritional deficiencies. Alcohol, like sugar, reduces the number of white blood cells. A lower white blood cell count makes it more difficult fight off disease.

Stress – Emotional and mental stress produces a “fight or flight” reaction. The result is inflammation and reduced white blood cells. That can create a greater susceptibility to infection.

Your Microbiome and Feeling Happy

Your microbiome is also responsible for producing serotonin. It’s the neurotransmitter that affects our mood and feelings of happiness. Over 90 percent of your serotonin is produced in the gut. Next time a wave of happiness sweeps over you, thank your microbiome.

During Covid-19 we’re open and working virtually. Set up an appointment today. Let’s discuss your most pressing health issue. Together, let’s create a plan to put it behind you once and for all.

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