The Battle for Your Immune System

Why is the gut so important?  Because it is where your Nervous System, Endocrine System (hormonal / glandular systems), and Immune System all converge (SEE ENDOGUT).  Think I’m blowing hot air?  Read this short article in our country’s oldest and most prestigious Scientific Journal, Scientific American; “Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being“.  In fact, poor gut function is being implicated as a significant factor in almost every type of Chronic Condition in the book.  Why?  Just look at what your gut is really doing.

Some of the Functions of the Normal Intestinal Flora (Good Bacteria):

  • Synthesizes Vitamins & Fatty Acids
  • Degrades Toxins
  • Prevents Unchecked Growth of Harmful Bacteria, Fungus, Candida Yeast, Molds, Parasites, and Other “baddies” that should not be there
  • Stimulates Immune System Response
  • 20% of T4 (the inactive form of Thyroid Hormone) is converted to T3 (the active form) in the gut via enzymes secreted by “Good Bacteria”
  • Degrades Methyl Mercury (the Most Toxic Form of Mercury)

Of course your digestive tract is where food is digested and absorbed — you already knew that.    But that is just one aspect of gut function.  There are others that are equally important.  I had been hearing for years that 70 to 80% of all immune system cells were found in the intestines (The Gut).  The other day, I set out to find this study, and found it in the American Journal of Physiology.  Three Australian doctors from the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Melbourne, published a Research Paper called, “The Intestine as a Sensory Organ: Neural, Endocrine, and Immune Responses“.  In the Abstract (I suggest you read it — the first paragraph of the paper), the authors tell us something that the Scientific Community has known for years (the study was published in 1999).  That, “the gut immune system has 70– 80% of the body’s immune cells“.  Did you catch that?  Even the brilliant Functional Endocrinologist and Neurologist, Dr. Datis Kharrazian says that this number is conservatively estimated at being over 60%.

In other words, it is a well established scientific fact that your gut is where the brunt of your immune system is housed.  Poor gut health and poor gut flora (low amounts of “good bacteria“) mean poor immune system function.   When the ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria decreases, we develop a problem called “Dysbiosis“.   DYSBIOSIS is a multifaceted problem that quickly leads to intestinal over-growths of yeast (Candida), molds, fungus, and of course, more of the “bad” bacteria.  This is poor gut flora.  Be aware that these bad bacteria actually create toxins that can severely affect the liver, causing hydrogenation of healthy unsaturated fatty acids (i.e. they create Trans Fats). 

Some of these toxins created by bad bacteria have some rather “gnarly” names —- “Scatol” (“scat” is another name for s_ _ t) and “Cadaverol” (cadavers are dead bodies) are two that come immediately to mind.  As you might imagine, the smell produced by these two bacteria is absolutely disgusting.  This alone could account for the fact that the three most common symptoms of Dysbiosis are bloating and smelly gas —- the kind of gas that could kill a brontosaurus, and foul smelling stools!  Bottom line; poor gut health means poor immune system function, which opens a Pandora’s Box of potential health problems including AUTOIMMUNITY, FIBROMYALGIA, MIGRAINE HEADACHES, and a whole host of others.  Knowing the relationship between the gut and the immune system, it’s easy to understand how all of these problems are heavily associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome / Food Allergies / Food Sensitivities.

Leaky Gut Syndrome
LEAKY GUT SYNDROME (Intestinal Hyperpermeability) describes a condition of inflamed, altered or damaged bowel lining.  This is almost always caused by antibiotic use / overuse, accumulated toxins, poor diet (too many carbs / too much sugar), parasites, infections, etc.  Leaky Gut Syndrome is characterized by an increased permeability of the gut wall to toxins, microbes, undigested food, waste products, etc.  This typically occurs because inflammation has caused the normally “tight” cellular junctions that regulate the size of particles absorbed into the gut, to become bigger than they should be.  Larger than normal particles begin to come through the junctions, and the body identifies these “too large” particles as foreign.  The immune system then begins to make anti-bodies against them, and you end up with a real mess —- constantly reacting to foods or substances that are as benign as a banana.  This is why testing for food sensitivities is often a crucial part of any healing process of Chronic Conditions.  Let’s not forget that Leaky Gut Syndrome is now being associated with something called Leaky Brain Syndrome.  The same conditions that cause Leaky Gut are allowing too-large particles to get through the Blood / Brain Barrier.  What do you end up with?  An inflamed brain.  If you ever have a doctor tell you that “Leaky Gut Syndrome” does not exist; do not buy it!  The medical name for LGS is “Increased Intestinal Permeability”.  There are hundreds of scientific studies on Increased Intestinal Permeability. 

Systemic Candida Overgrowth
Candida is “YEAST“.  Women will particularly understand this point because they understand the relationship between antibiotics and vaginal yeast infections.  Forget vaginal yeast though.  What happens to your health when a yeast infection becomes blood borne or “systemic”? As you might imagine; all sorts of really bad things!  Be aware that the most common symptom of yeast overgrowth, Chronic Fatigue, is almost always seen in those who suffer with Fibromyalgia (in fact the two are frequently referred to together — Fibromyalgia / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).  By the way, even though Systemic Yeast can be easily seen in blood under a Darkfield Microscope, the medical profession does not ever test for it.  Why not?  Probably because for people without severely compromised immune systems (i.e. AIDS), there is really only one way to get it —- antibiotic use.  Some of the most common symptoms of a Systemic Yeast Overgrowth include:

  • BOWEL PROBLEMS: poor digestion, gas, bloating, diarrhea, colitis, IBS, chronic heartburn
  • EXTREME SENSITIVITY TO CHEMICALS OR SMELLS: Cigarette smoke tends to be a killer. Perfume, potpourri, fragrances, household cleaners, gasoline, etc
  • MENTAL IMPAIRMENT: brain fog (Fibro Fog), depression, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, etc
  • PMS
  • SUGAR or CARB ADDICTION:   ***WARNING WARNING WARNING***  This is a massive problem for women dealing with an underlying overgrowth of Candida Yeast. They tend to have uncontrollable cravings for sweets or high Glycemic Index foods (see our SUGAR page). This is because the preferred food supply of yeast is sugar, or starchy foods that break down quickly and easily to sugar.



The probiotics we prescribe in our office, come from HSO’s (Homeostatic Soil Organisms).  This is a fancy way of saying that they contain the same kind of good bacteria that are found in healthy, organic, dirt.  These are the very same bacteria that should be found in a healthy gut.   Although our Probiotics are not by any means expensive, I realize that there are cheaper probiotics on the market.  But do they contain nearly 20 different species of bacteria?  No way!  They usually contain one (Acidophilus) to three (Acidophilus w/ Lactobacillus & Bifidus).  Not bad, but it’s certainly not the whole rodeo. 

You should take probiotics (for at least 6 weeks) anytime that you have been on antibiotics.  You should also take them anytime you have been on a cleanse, or are coming off a fast.  I recommend that everyone take a round of probiotics for a few weeks, two or three times a year minimum just to maintain good gut health and immune system function.  Our probiotics are kid-friendly.  If children (or infants) cannot swallow a capsule, you simply break the capsule and mix the powder with almost any food or liquid.  Oh, and allow me to answer one more important point that people always ask.  Probiotics are safe at any dose.  It is impossible to overdose on probiotics.

Antibiotics were created as stop-gap measure to keep people from dying of bacterial infections. My grandmother used to love to tell the story of her West Texas doctor who, when my mom was two years old and had just finished a round of antibiotics shortly after they became widely available to the general public, told my grandmother to send my mom out in the yard with a spoon.  He said that my mom would use the spoon to dig in the dirt and then put it in her mouth —- a great way to get HSO’s.   Unfortunately the last forty years have seen antibiotics increasingly handed out like candy —– used for every sniffle, sneeze, cough, or illness —- real or imagined.  Part of the problem is that research tells us that approximately 90% of upper respiratory infections are viral in nature.  I am not going to go into a soliloquy on antibiotic use (nor am I going to tell you to break out the spoon and start digging).  However, I will leave you with our EAR INFECTION TESTIMONIAL PAGE as well as our numerous links on ANTIBIOTIC RESEARCH.  Start taking HSO Probiotics!

Unfortunately for many of you reading this, simply taking probiotics will not fix your health.  Your health-related problems have gone way beyond this.  Fixing your health will require some expense and effort on your part.  What?  You still think your doctor can fix this problem?  It was the antibiotics he / she repeatedly prescribed (and will continue to prescribe) that helped cause this whole mess in the first place!  If you want to have any real hope of fixing any number of Chronic Conditions, you are going to have to step outside the box and solve your GUT ISSUES.   And while Probiotcs are beneficial, make sure not to take them without reading THESE POSTS.


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