The immune system is an amazingly complex group of cells, organs and tissues that work in tandem to keep our body's defenses intact and protected against harmful pathogens and invaders.
The immune system consists of primary and secondary lymphoid organs. Primary lymphoid organs; comprised of bone marrow and thymus, produce immune cells (B and T lymphocytes or white blood cells) which move through the bloodstream to reach secondary lymphoid organs. Secondary lymphoid organs; comprised of the lymph nodes, lymphoid tissue, spleen, tonsils, Peyer's patches and the appendix, all play a distinct role in maintaining an effective immune response.
MALT the body's first line of defense
Mucosa-associated lymphatic tissue (MALT) is a system of small concentrations of lymphoid tissue located in various sites of the body and can be found in the gastrointestinal tract, thyroid, lungs, eyes and skin. MALT plays a large role in regulating mucosal immunity as these surfaces provide a barrier between our bodies and the external environment.
Take for instance one of the biggest mucosal sites - the gut. It has the ability to transport many foreign antibodies through the ingestion of food. The immune system inherently has a vigorous response to kill off any pathogenic organisms gaining entry through the gut while retaining food antigens that foster a positive or negative immune response. The gut flora and MALT communicate through cytokine activity to harmonize the appropriate immune response for pathogenic organisms versus friendly organisms.
GALT building good bacteria
Consisting of both isolated and aggregated lymphoid follicles, gut associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) contains up to 70% of the body's immune cells. Aggregated lymphoid follicles surrounded by follicle associated epithelium (FAE) form the interface between the GALT and the microenvironment. FAE contains M-cells that transport antigens and bacteria toward underlying immune cells that either activate or inhibit an immune response.
GALT is the largest lymphoid tissue of the human body. Beginning at birth, GALT is exposed to microbial antigens occurring in the initial intestinal colonization from vaginal delivery's. This is why it is highly valuable to have normal delivery versus C-section.
A stable colonization of bacteria is typically reached in children at approximately 4 years of age. These bacteria are essential for the development and functionality of a fully functioning and healthy immune system and promotes tolerance towards safe food and microbial antigens.
Photo by Nature Reviews : Immunology
What actions need to be taken to improve MALT & GALT response? What we can do to help your MALT & GALT:
1. Identify and remove offending agents (i.e. sensitivities, toxins, pathogens)
2. Remove source(s) of inflammation
3. Promote mucosal health throughout your gut
- Intestinal microflora weighs about 1.5 kgs
- Approximately 50% of fecal mass is bacterial biomass
- Microflora produces about 2 liters of 'gas' per day
- Acquisition of resistance to antibiotics occurs in the intestine
Enhancing Immune Function with Probiotics
The best way to prevent infections and disease is to ensure that the body's defense mechanisms are functioning optimally and are able to protect against foreign bodies (pathogens). An abundant amount of research has been reviewed lately in the quest to quantify the benefits of probiotics and studies have shown promising results.
The use of probiotics stimulates gut reaction by producing vitamins, amino acids and carrying out formation of bile. Probiotics help to create a defensive barrier within the host as they compete with other microorganisms for attachment sites amongst gut tissues.
At any given point, there are anywhere from 100 trillion viable microbes in the human intestine. Specifically, the gut micro biome provides vital biochemical pathways that allow the body to metabolize indigestible foods like starches, gum, cellulose, pectin's, sugars and alcohol. Once the body is able to metabolize and release toxins from the system, absorption of nutrients will be increased resulting in improved cellular function.
Make sure you have a good Probiotic:
- Must be considered totally non-pathogenic
- Contain species indigenous to the target host
- Able to survive intestinal transit and stomach acid
- Capable of immunomodulation in-vitro
- Possess clinically documented health properties validated by a thorough Quality Assurance program
- Colony forming units (CFU) or viable cells are listed on label
- Formulation should keep well during processing and storage
When in doubt, consult our office!!
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