The immune system needs a super hero!!!

Posted by Melissa Callaghan on



The immune system needs a super hero!!!

As a Naturopath, I am always asked,

"how can I boost my immune system?"

My answer is always the same: Let's start by improving your gut health!!!

Our gut is home to about 38 TRILLION microbes, that's more trillions than the United States national debt. 

The gut contains 150 times more DNA than we have in our whole body. 

It's just a little bit important and yet we constantly think "she'll be right" and throw more junk at it.  Then we wonder why we get sick.

Our body has a mutually beneficial relationship with our microbes and our microbes have a huge impact on functions within our body.  They help our body stay balanced, they influence our metabolism, our nervous system (depression & anxiety) AND they also influence our (drum roll) immune system. 

Our immune system helps to defend us from disease by monitoring our body and responding to anything that is foreign and thought of to be a danger to us.  Then is jumps into action and fights it off. 

Our immune system and out gut flora both coexist to defend us against pathogens. As a result our immune system and our gut flora need to work to together to support us. 

They are joint defenders of our body. 

How do they do this?

The immune system promotes the growth of BENEFICIAL microbes and a HEALTHY microbiome helps build our defender IMMUNE CELLS.

Our gut microbes help boost our immune system and they also need to eat but what do they eat?



According to an article published in 2018 in the Jornal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, titled "Food design to feed the human gut microbiota".  The higher the diversity of food available then the higher the diversity of the microbiome.  Having a diverse microbiome is associated with a reduction in inflammation in the body as well as a reduction in diet induced obesity. 

The biggest recommendation this article has stated (and if you are one of my patients then you already know this), is a diet high in plant based fibre, along with plenty of water.  When I tell my patients this the most common response I get is "I don't like those foods" or "those foods don't like me" (gassy). The reason for this is that over a period of time you have become depleted in the microbes that eat fibre mainly due to not eating enough of it to keep feeding them and just like any other living thing if it doesn't get fed it dies. As a result of becoming deficient in the microbes needed to break down fibre you are also deficient in the same microbes you need for your immune system.

By changing how you eat you will in turn change the ability of these foods to be digested. I explain this by saying that in the first couple of weeks of a person becoming completely plant based they could light a room with the amount of gas coming out but it does settle quite quickly once you begin to build up the numbers of the beneficial microbes. 

Our ancestors could eat up to 100g fibre/day yet in our Western way of eating we are barely getting 15g fibre/day and the minimum is 25g.

Why is it so important?

SCFAs = Short chain fatty acids

SCFAs have health promoting abilities such a anti inflammatory and immune-regulatory functions.  Depending on the health and diversity of your microbiome and the amount of fibre you are consuming will determine the amount of SCFAs that are produced. 

In a research paper (2016) it showed that people with high levels of SCFAs where those who ate a plant based diet as well as omnivores who mainly followed a Mediterranean diet. 

Key takeaway = Plant based fibres are critical to support immune system health

PS - these fibre rich foods are also full of other nutrients that are connected to improving mental health. 

Who am I?

I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body. Major areas for improvement include gut, thyroid, kidney, skin and liver health. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, & irritable bowel conditions. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation. Patients experience amazing results which are seen in their blood tests with improved thyroid markers, cholesterol, and liver markers.  As well as lower blood pressure and see relief from improved gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones that mean you need to know where every single toilet is before you leave the house.

Melissa Callaghan ND, BHSc, BTeach
Clinical Naturopath

Appointments can be made for in our Brisbane clinic as well as through our video chat software. I help people all over the country and post their products out to them. I can help you too.

To book an appointment click here 

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