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Intestinal health: The influence between gut health, immune system, and the Brain

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Nowadays, we can associate a wide variety of systematic conditions with the quality of our gut health. Indeed, multiple publications can explain the link between intestinal health, microbial diversity, and its interaction with our lymphatic and immune systems. Furthermore, Mayo Clinic researchers have found an undeniable connection with our immune system through lymph nodes discovery in our brain. These new findings affirm that our intestinal health influences our brain via the bloodstream, nerves, lymphatic and immune system.

Intestinal health

The promotion and maintenance of functional gut health are determined by multiple factors that coexist and create intestinal balance. Furthermore, this balance is extensively promoted by our dietary intake and environment. Indeed, having a varied and balanced diet including fruits, starchy and leafy vegetables, whole grains, antioxidants from spices, and fermented foods are essential to promote intestinal health.

Intestinal health:

  • Diverse but balanced gut bacteria will function as a protective layer and produce beneficial metabolites and vitamins.
  • Healthy gut bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria metabolites counteract harmful bacteria in the intestine, maintaining intestinal balance.
  • The production of lactoperoxidase destroys unhealthy bacteria. Lactoferrin locks dietary iron, starving harmful bacteria, and globulin protein prevent adhesion from unwanted pathogens.

In contrast, the ingestion of a standard American diet in conjunction with antibiotics overuse, sedentary lifestyle, and stress lead to:

  • Protective factors such as lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, and globulin inhibition.
  • The proliferation of unhealthy bacteria, yeast, and intestinal deterioration are due to the lack of bacteria-induced metabolites.
  • Increase of toxic accumulation.

Dysbiosis, leaky gut, and immune response.

The term “Leaky gut” has been changed to “leakage of lipopolysaccharides.” Indeed, these terms describe the passing of lipopolysaccharides (LPS), gram-negative bacteria-produced glycolipids, through the intestinal wall. 

Furthermore, the leakage of LPS through our gut wall is associated with a high release of proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1 and TNF-a, and promoting complement releasing mechanisms.

Dysfunction from gut to brain

As previously stated, our brain has multiple communication paths with our digestive system, and therefore guy health. Indeed, the bloodstream carries the nutrients and their interaction with the blood-brain barrier. Also, the sensory information is transported through the nervous system, and the lymphatic system shares essential news with the brain. 

Nevertheless, the interaction between this communication system and our environment plays a significant role. Furthermore, Dr. Vojdani explains that several factors play an essential role in brain-gut dysbiosis.

  1. An unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor stress management.
  2. Leaky gut and dysbiosis.
  3. Inflammatory response to LPS.
  4. Damage of the enteric-nervous system.
  5. Systematic inflammation, leading to immune disease flare-ups.
  6. Blood-brain barrier leakage, leading to neuroinflammation and neuroautoimmunity.
  7. Neuroinvasion and neurodegeneration.

When treating a patient, the Functional Medicine approach starts treating the gut. In most cases, the conditions disrupting the patient’s health stop, and resolution begin. Nevertheless, in the specific case of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, the route to the cure is only one: prevention. Nowadays, having a healthy, varied, and complete diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy microbiome. I know that if we focus on balancing our gut microbiota and keeping leaky gut… I am sorry LPS leakage away; we can ensure a healthy future.- Ana Paola Rodriguez Arciniega, MS

Bibliography:

Vojdani, Aristo et al. “Interaction between food antigens and the immune system: Association with autoimmune disorders.” Autoimmunity reviews vol. 19,3 (2020): 102459. doi:10.1016/j.autrev.2020.102459

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The information herein on "Intestinal health: The influence between gut health, immune system, and the Brain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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