The immune system gut health connection has recently taken center stage, and for good reason.

Did you know that 80% of your immune system cells live in your gut? Without a healthy gut, you cannot have a healthy functioning immune system. The opposite is also true, without a healthy immune system your gut health will be less than ideal.

Let me share a bit more about the connection between your gut health and your immune system. I’ll explain why gut health immunity matters, and how a leaky gut can increase your risk for autoimmune disease.

If your gut isn’t operating at its best, there is hope. You’ll also learn how to heal the gut and how to regulate gut health so you can enjoy better energy, immunity, and more.

Let’s begin by reviewing your immune system. 

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Why Your Immune Health Is Important

Your immune system is an extensive network of cells, tissues, and organs. This system protects your body from disease-causing bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. When harmful invaders enter a healthy body, the immune system releases antibodies. These antibodies get to work, attaching to the pathogens and eliminating them from your system.

Your immune system consists of two parts: The innate and adaptive systems. Let me tell you what each one does. 

gut health and immune system – infographic – Amy Myers MD®gut health and immune system - infographic - Amy Myers MD® health and immune system – infographic – Amy Myers MD®

Innate Immune System

The innate immune system is your body’s first line of defense because it keeps germs from entering your body. This system consists of your skin, mucous membranes, immune system cells, and proteins. It is sometimes referred to as the “nonspecific immune system” because it responds similarly to all germs and foreign substances.1

Let’s say you get a wound. When bacteria enter the body through a cut or abrasion, your innate immune system quickly detects and destroys them.

Your innate immune system is also responsible for triggering an inflammatory response. The inflammatory response releases substances to the infected area that widen the blood vessels. This causes the area around the infection to swell and heat up to protect other cells in your body.2

Adaptive Immune System

The adaptive immune system is your body’s second line of defense. This system consists of T-cells, B-cells, and antibodies, such as white blood cells. Your adaptive immune system takes over when your innate immune system cannot destroy germs.3

Your adaptive immune system gets programmed at birth. Not only that, but it can also remember foreign invaders once it encounters them.

Here’s what I mean. When your adaptive immune system gets introduced to a virus, it copies the code from the virus. This enables it to recognize it quickly if it sees it again. The result is that pathogens are eliminated before they cause more damage. 

So you see, acute inflammation is a weapon that protects you from severe and immediate stressors. Once the threat is gone, the inflammation subsides.

In contrast, a weak immune system cannot defend itself from harmful invaders. This can cause chronic inflammation, which is often the root cause of autoimmune disease. This is where the gut health and immune system connection begins.

Immune System and Gut Health: The Gateway to Wellbeing

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve heard me say that the gut is the gateway to health. You cannot have a healthy immune system without a healthy gut. As I mentioned earlier, your gut is home to nearly 80% of your immune system.3

Your immune system and gut health are allies in the fight against harmful invaders. When your gut is healthy, your immune system functions optimally. It can even tell the difference between different types of bacteria, keeping the good and defeating the bad.

A balanced gut microbiome is key to a healthy immune system. Dysbiosis occurs when the balance of bacteria in the gut gets thrown off. This puts your immune system on high alert. This can trigger attacks against everything in its path, including healthy cells. Before you know it, you have developed full-blown autoimmunity. 

When this happens, your immune system goes rogue and see its own tissues as a threat. These false threats could be your thyroid, skin, joints, nervous system, pancreas, or other organs. Regardless of which part of your body is under attack, the root cause is your immune system. 

In order to prevent, treat, and reverse your autoimmune disease, you’ll need to address your gut health. Doing so will help get your immune system back under control. 

Another thing to consider is SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and Candida overgrowth. When your gut microbiome has more bad than good bacteria, it becomes unbalanced. This creates an opportunistic environment that can lead to all kinds of digestive issues, including leaky gut. 

What is Leaky Gut & How to Heal

Because your immune cells interact with your gut microbiome, the food you eat can either help or harm your gut health and immune system. This is because the nutrients (or lack thereof) can either strengthen or weaken your cells, tissues, and organs.

Leaky gut occurs when the tight junctions that hold your intestinal wall together become loose. This can set you on the path to chronic illness.

Let’s think of your gut lining as a drawbridge. Your gut is naturally semi-permeable. This lets teeny-tiny boats (micronutrients) pass through your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream. It’s the way your body absorbs the foods you eat. External factors, such as food, infections, stress, and toxins, can break apart the tight junctions in your intestinal wall. This leaves the drawbridge open. If left unchecked, you develop a leaky gut.

When your gut is leaky, toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles can escape into your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these “foreign invaders” as pathogens and attacks them. Poor gut health can increase inflammation and can cause you to feel the following symptoms:

Symptoms of Leaky Gut - Infographic - Amy Myers MD

How to Heal a Leaky Gut

To reduce inflammation and promote overall vitality, it’s crucial to optimal both your immune system and gut health. If you’re wondering how to heal the gut, I recommend starting with the proven 4R approach.

  1. Remove: The goal is to eliminate inflammatory foods that can contribute to leaky gut. This includes gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and sugar. You’ll also need to ditch gastric irritants such as caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Finally, get rid of any gut infections you may have. Including those caused by SIBO, Candida overgrowth, or parasites. The Immunoglobulins in Gut ImmunIG™ work around the clock as a biotoxin binder to expel antigens and toxins—prohibiting them from crossing the gut barrier.
  2. Replace: Replace the bad with the good. Adding digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid (HCL), and other leaky gut supplements to your regimen supports optimal nutrient absorption and digestion. It will also assist your body’s intestinal repair and inflammation responses.
  3. Reinoculate: Restoring good bacteria for your gut is critical to re-establishing a healthy microbiome. I recommend 100 billion CFUs while dealing with symptoms. Once symptoms improve, transition to a maintenance dose of 30 billion CFUs.
  4. Repair: Providing your gut with essential nutrients to help reduce inflammation is vital. My number one weapon against leaky gut is Leaky Gut Revive®. It contains powerful gut-repairing ingredients such as l-glutamine, aloe, deglycyrrhizinated licorice, arabinogalactan, slippery elm, and marshmallow root. 

Individuals with significantly weakened gut health who need a powerful option to restore gut homeostasis. If that’s you, you’ll want Leaky Gut Revive® MAX. It’s my two-pronged approach to heal leaky gut and support a healthy immune system.

Learning how to regulate gut health takes time, patience, and consistency. Taking the 4R Approach empowers you with a clear path toward better gut health immunity.

Support Your Immune Health

Vitamin D is essential for supporting a healthy immune system. Many immune cells have receptors for Vitamin D, including macrophages, dendritic cells, monocytes, T-cells, and B-cells. As such, Vitamin D plays a significant role in modulating both innate and adaptive immune responses. Studies also suggest that vitamin D plays a role in preventing cancer and autoimmune disease.

Unfortunately, deficiency in this critical nutrient is more common than we think. Studies show that around 42% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Postmenopausal women, those with poor diets, adults over 65, and those with minimal sun exposure are at a greater risk for deficiency.

Moreover, new research suggests the previously recommended levels of vitamin D are too low. The rate of true vitamin D deficiency is likely even higher.4 That’s why it’s one of the four supplements I recommend for everyone to take.

How to Increase Your Vitamin D

One of the best ways to naturally increase your vitamin D levels is by spending time in the sunlight. But as beneficial as sunlight is, sun exposure does come with risks. Too much sun exposure can lead to early aging, a weakened immune system, and skin cancer. In some cases, it can even lead to eye damage.

You can also get vitamin D from food sources like wild-caught salmon, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Mushrooms should be avoided if you have Candida overgrowth or following a FODMAP diet

If your vitamin D3 levels are below the recommended range of 60-90 ng/mL, I recommend that adults take 5,000 daily IU of a high-quality Vitamin D3/K2. Children can take 2,000 IU. Both drops and capsules are available in my store.

The Final Word

The connection between your gut health and immune system is truly a fascinating one. You cannot have a strong, healthy immune system without a healthy gut. 

The best way to support your immune system is to heal the gut of anything that has compromised it. Once healed, you’ll need to regulate gut health to continue enjoying the benefits of a healthy immune system. 

My number one tool for a healthy gut is Leaky Gut Revive®, which also comes in a delicious flavor Strawberry Lemonade. For maximum support of your gut health and immune system, I recommend combining Gut ImmunIG™ and Leaky Gut Revive® for a powerful gut-nourishing and immune-supporting duo.

Maintaining optimal vitamin D levels, ditching inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy, and eating an organic diet full of whole foods can support gut health and immunity. It’s a recipe that puts you on the path to optimal health.