Gastrointestinal diseasesMany diseases start with gut and diet. It is crucially important to have healthy intestinal immune system. It has 4 major components, and anything that goes wrong with them can cause sickness:
- Intestinal barrier. Gut must maintain absolute ‘seal’ which separates undigested food from internal body fluids. This is a function of special cells of gut mucosal barrier that form tight junctions and ‘gates’ that permit only fully digested simple minerals, vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids and carbs to get through. This barrier also prevents intestine damage by rough food and stomach acid. If this barrier is destroyed by bad food, bad habits or food additives, diseases such as stomach ulcer, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease (IBS) start.
- Major protective type is A (IgA), but other immunoglobulins also play a role in food and poison recognition – IgG and IgE. They all play an important role – this is fast and effective natural immunity weapon that protects us from bacteria and parasites entering body with uncooked foods and contaminated products. IgE and IgG react to foods and cause allergy and intolerance – actually these are overprotective responses of immune system ‘going haywire’. People who carry positive genes for Celiac disease develop specific IgA for gluten that later starts all autoimmune disease. People who have IgA deficiency, Agammoglobulinemia and Common Variable Immunodeficiency suffer from many gastrointestinal diseases and indigestion.
- Peyer’s patches – these are immune system outposts – the lymph nodes where immune cells are ‘educated’ about environment. Immune cells play a role in Chron’s disease, chronic gastritis, Celiac disease, leaky gut syndrome and diverticulitis.
- Microbiome – these are bacteria and fungus that normally live in our gut. These bugs (billions of them) are an important part of our life and play a major role in our digestion, immunity and production of certain vitamins. They cannot cause disease, but if the balance between 23 different types is ruined by antibiotics or toxic chemicals, normal fragile bacteria dies and abnormal fungus and pathogenic bacteria can invade empty space and cause severe problems. Appendix (small part of intestine) recently was found to be a special “nursery” maintaining the numbers of good bacteria, so people with appendices’ removed have higher chance of developing gut microbiome issues.