Gut microbes and immunity
70% of the immune system lies in the gut.
In 2020, we understood what really is essential to us. Conversations began around the bare minimum requirements. There were some that were beyond our reasonable control like groceries. But, the most vital was something in our control, our bodies, our lifestyle that boiled down to our immunity. This was evidently on the top in the hierarchy of our concerns. We herded up and gobbled down some ginger, constantly had spiced tea, and believed all the whatsapp forwards. The year was a reality check for us. Talking about immunity is more crucial than ever.
The type of microbes we are exposed to outside and the microbes residing in our gut play a crucial role in training the immune system. A diverse gut flora ( wide variety of microorganisms in the gut) is important for a balanced immune response. Research establishes the interdependence of diet, microbiota and immunity. If the gut microbe diversity is poor, the few existing microbes become dominant and this can result in attacking any foreign species that is seen as a threat, including the body's own cells.
Autoimmune disorder is a condition in which the immune system (which is supposed to fight harmful germs) mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. Recent researches have found out that a lack of diversity, loss of beneficial organisms or increase in harmful microorganisms in the gut can result in autoimmune disorders in certain people. The research further states that it is possible to restore healthy gut flora with the administration of probiotics and faecal transplant. Another research shows evidence of the influence of probiotics in regulating the immune response. Recent research suggests that probiotics can even aid the prevention and treatment of cancer by enhancing the body's immune response.
The gut bacteria can be influenced by everyday diet. A diet rich in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, prebiotics and probiotics ensures diverse gut flora which in turn results in better immune response. Seasonal fruits and vegetables bring diversity and should be a part of our daily diet. Fermented foods add good bacteria into the gut. These include yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and others. Ensuring such a diet would ensure the gut flora remains diverse and we maintain the desired immunity.