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Enhance Your Immune System

4 Of The Best Ways to Enhance Your Immune System: A Gut Health Perspective

Enhance Your Immune System through your gut health with 4 great tips from Nutritionist, Jane McClenaghan

If you want a strong and healthy immune system, it pays to look after your gut health.

The physical barrier of our gut lining, paired with the defence mechanism of white blood cells and a healthy balance of probiotic bacteria in our gut microbiome all work to defend and guard us against infection and disease.

Enhance Your Immune System with Nutritionist Jane McClenaghan

How does gut health impact our immune system?

The three-way communication between the lining of our digestive tract, our gut microbiome and the immune cells produced in our gut is a powerful combination that modifies and supports our immunity, to help keep us healthy and free from infection 24/7.

The lining of our digestive tract is made up of an epithelial layer and a mucosal barrier that protect us from invading microbes. This physical barrier is a first-line defence that keeps harmful viruses and microbes out, but still allows absorption of nutrients.

We have a thin layer of mucus covering our digestive tract from one end to the other. As well as acting as a physical barrier, it is packed with immune factors and antibodies to engulf and trap any invader before it gets a chance to cause us harm. This mucosal barrier relies on an abundant and diverse balance of bacteria within the gut microbiome.

Our amazing gut microbiome is made up of bacteria with different roles and influences on our immune system.

From bacteria like Akkermansia spp. that produce the important mucus barrier layer that’s packed with white blood cells, to microbes like Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp. that help to keep the mucosal barrier primed and ready for action by stimulating immune factors like SIgA,, or regulate inflammation in response to anything that threatens our defences, the diversity and abundance of bacteria that thrive within our digestive tract have an essential role to play in our immune health.

How can I balance my immune system through gut health?

Looking after our digestive health has positive consequences for our immunity. Managing stress levels, getting enough sleep, being outside in nature and eating a varied and healthy diet has a really positive impact on our digestive function and immune defence.

Here are some ideas of ways that you can easily support your immunity by looking after your gut:

1. Address the stress

Our gut immunity can take an immediate hit when we are under stress. From depleting levels of immune factors like sIgA, to increasing inflammation, the effects of stress are not good news for gut health or our immune defence. Mindfulness, exercise, being outside in nature, cutting back on caffeine and getting more daylight can all help with stress management.

2. Eat more plants!

Plant foods like fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wholegrains, bean and lentils, herbs and spices provide us with polyphenol compounds that help support a really healthy, abundant and diverse microbiome. It is recommended that we aim to eat a minimum of 30 different plant foods a week. How many can you eat?

3. Good Nutrition

Your immune system relies on good nutrition to work efficiently. Key micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, selenium and vitamin C are required for a healthy immune system, so eating a varied diet and adding in some foods for an extra pop of nutrition can make all the difference.

4. Linwoods Immune Support

Linwoods Immune Support is specifically formulated to help maintain a healthy immune system. Containing sprouted milled flaxseed, hemp seeds, milled brazil nuts and Ganeden BC30 probiotic cultures, this blend also provides a natural source of selenium, iron and zinc, which contribute to the normal function of the immune system.

References

  1. https://invivohealthcare.com/education/articles/immune-resilience-secretory-iga/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788425/ – Takiishi T, Fenero CIM, Câmara NOS. Intestinal barrier and gut microbiota: Shaping our immune responses throughout life. Tissue Barriers. 2017 Oct 2;5(4):e1373208. doi: 10.1080/21688370.2017.1373208. Epub 2017 Sep 28. PMID: 28956703; PMCID: PMC5788425.
  3. Belkaid Y, Hand TW. Role of the microbiota in immunity and inflammation. Cell. 2014 Mar 27;157(1):121-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.03.011. PMID: 24679531; PMCID: PMC4056765.
  4. Wiertsema SP, van Bergenhenegouwen J, Garssen J, Knippels LMJ. The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 9;13(3):886. doi: 10.3390/nu13030886. PMID: 33803407; PMCID: PMC8001875.
  5. Lukáčová I, Ambro Ľ, Dubayová K, Mareková M. The gut microbiota, its relationship to the immune system, and possibilities of its modulation. Epidemiol Mikrobiol Imunol. 2023 Winter;72(1):40-53. English. PMID: 37185024.

Jane McClenaghan is Northern Ireland’s most recognised nutritionist with over 20 year’s experience. Her company Vital Nutrition specialises in developing and delivering group sessions for corporate and community clients both online and in-person as well as running an online membership club and offering one-to-one consultations.

Jane Immune System

Jane’s knowledge in the subject area of health and wellbeing is unrivalled as indicated by her qualifications, reputation and experience.

Jane’s sessions cover a range of health and wellbeing topics from mental health to stress, female and male health, healthy eating on a budget, heart health, sleep, family wellbeing and much more.
Jane is also the author of two books on nutrition, she writes a weekly column in the Irish News, has a monthly slot on radio U105 and is a regular contributor to the BBC, The Belfast Telegraph and many other media outlets.

You can find out more and get in touch with Vital Nutrition here;

Vital Nutrition (vital-nutrition.co.uk)

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