Optimal health depends on balanced
What does the immune system have to do with health? Well…everything!
As the most obvious example, your immune system acts as your own personal army, standing guard and ready to protect you from harmful invaders. No doubt you’ve experienced the common cold or flu, so you know how important a strong immune system is when it comes to healing from an acute infection.
But did you know that over 90% of Americans suffer from immune dysfunction in the form of chronic inflammation or an autoimmune disorder?
Because approximately 75-80% of the immune system is housed in the gut, GI function plays a critical role in maintaining a balanced and healthy immune response. Chronic gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhea, reflux and bloating signal the presence of GI dysfunction, which increases your risk of frequent or chronic illness, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Sometimes, however, GI dysfunction isn’t as obvious, so it’s important to remember that if there is immune dysfunction, there is likely GI dysfunction in some capacity, as well!
Hormone imbalances can also adversely impact immune function. Insulin, cortisol, thyroid hormone, and sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) can suppress or alter immune activity. For example, excess estrogen, also known as estrogen dominance, can trigger Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune disorder), and high levels of insulin seen in insulin resistance can damage immune regulatory cells, increasing inflammation in fat tissues and further exacerbating insulin resistance.
However, the reverse is also true: the immune system impacts digestive function and hormone levels.
This becomes obvious when we think of autoimmune diseases such as Celiac, Crohn’s, or Hashimoto’s, where the immune system has gone awry and is attacking the body’s own tissues. Food allergies or intolerances are another example—an aberrant immune response to food exacerbates dysfunction in the GI tract, manifesting as constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or gas and bloating. As mentioned in the example above, immune dysfunction can also exacerbate insulin resistance.
Symptoms like allergies, anxiety, brain fog, depression, digestive issues (e.g., gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and reflux), eczema, fatigue, frequent illnesses, hair loss, headaches, infertility, joint and muscle pain, and sleep issues can signal an inflamed immune system that could be at risk of becoming autoimmune, if it’s not already.
What areas have the greatest impact on immune function?
What you put into your body, how you live your life, and how you respond to stress.
When you work with me, you’ll learn how to incorporate health-promoting foods, lifestyle modifications, and natural therapies that enhance nutritional status, improve stress management, regulate sleep and energy, support detoxification, and optimize overall function and physiology so that you can restore balance and health to your immune system!
Ready to restore your health?
Schedule your comprehensive Naturopathic Health Consultation today!