Your body wants to heal itself
Yes, that’s right! Your body wants to heal itself! Many people reading this might find this difficult to believe. Especially if you are suffering from allergies, autoimmuine diseases, or even cancer. But it’s true- your body really does want to heal itself. You just need to create the correct environment and give it the necessary tools and support to do so.
I believe that the body wants to heal itself but we are constantly bombarding it with an unhealthy diet, stress, and toxins. Therefore our immune system, which should be fighting illness and disease, is busy eliminating and combating these stresses and toxins leaving our immune system fatigued and us vulnerable.
“All Disease Begins in the Gut”– Hippocrates said this over 2,000 years ago and it rings truer today more than ever.
Let’s consider that 80% of our immune system lives in our gut. Studies have shown that around 80% of all immune cells reside in the gut (1). These immune cells excrete a substance called SigA which is crucial in helping fight infections and disease. Research is suggesting that SIgA deficiency is linked to certain autoimmune diseases, neurologic problems (including autism and arthritis), as well as an association with tumor growth (2). There is also a strong link to SIgA and the bacteria in our gut (3) where people with SIgA decifiency have an imbalance with more unhealthy bacteria living in their gut. This could explain why one of the most basic ways to improve levels of SIgA is to give a patient probiotics (healthy bacteria).
Low SIgA levels are also associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome where the lining of the small intestines wall becomes permeable and inflamed thus allowing food and toxins to penetrate into the blood stream resulting in a variety of unfavorable immune responses. There is also a connection between this imbalance and our nutrient absorption. Eating a wholesome organic diet and taking lots of supplements is pointless if we are unable to absorb them properly due to imbalance in the gut.
Things that can impact this SIgA/gut bacteria balance are diet, stress, environmental chemicals, alcohol, caffeine, antibiotics, and gastro infections to name a few. Although we can’t control everything in our environment, we can control what we put in and on our bodies. We can choose to eat an anti-inflammatory diet. We can limit our alcohol/tobacco intake. We can take steps to reduce our stress. We can avoid antibacterial/chemical cleaners in our homes.
Now here’s the bit that this site will be focusing on…
We can help keep our gut and therefore our immune system strong and healthy by consuming probiotic-rich fermented food and drinks. These delicious foods are prepared using mostly simple traditional techniques that are brimming with beneficial bacteria and yeasts. They are fun to make and enjoyable to consume by the whole family. They include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, yogurt, kvass, and many more. Studies have shown that a diet rich in probiotics stengthens the immune system, improves digestions and absorption, helps prevent and fight allergies, improves skin conditions, and helps normalise weight. These are just a few of the potential benefits.
I’m not suggesting that just consuming fermented foods is going to cure autoimmune diseases or cancer. We need to take a holistic approach in creating the correct environment and giving our bodies the necessary tools and support to heal itself. Fermented foods are just one big piece of the picture.
Macpherson AJ, Slack E. The functional interactions of commensal bacteria with intestinal secretory IgA. Curr Opin Gastroenterol 2007;23(6):673–8
Krause, Helen MD, Otolaryngic Allergy and Immunology, Saunders 1989
Suzuki K, Ha SA, Tsuji M, Fagarasan S. Intestinal IgA synthesis: a primitive form of adaptive immunity that regulates microbial communities in the gut. Semin Immunol 2007;19(2):127–35