The importance of a healthy gut has only gained prominence the last 20 years or so. Approximately 2300 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said, “All disease begins in the gut.” He was the first to make a connection between your gut and your immune system.
What we now know is what happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of our bodies total immune system cells are actually located in our upper gastrointestinal tract. And these cells impact our entire body and brain.
Recently I attended a health seminar and sat next to a Clemson biology professor who specialized in the gut. “It’s a new and exciting area,” she exclaimed. “We know so much more about the role of the gut in overall health.” This critical information grabbed my attention after my chemotherapy ended.
I can remember calling my naturopathic doctor at the CTCA Newnan and asking her, “What was done to protect my gut during chemotherapy?” Fortunately, she had my back on this one. They were giving me vitamin C infusions and L-Glutamine powder to protect my intestinal tract and stomach.
Many doctors and patients are concerned about the damage done to the gut following repeated antibiotic use. We all know that antibiotics can save one’s life. However, since they destroy both the good and bad bacteria in your gut, we must be careful to only use antibiotics when necessary. We should also actively rebuild the gut lining after antibiotic use.
If you thought antibiotics were not good for the gut, just imagine what chemotherapy does to the gut. It’s far worse. Another reason to put a cancer prevention plan in place. If you’ve been through chemotherapy, it’s important to rebuild your gut lining and eat foods that replenish the good bacteria. Eating a whole food, plant-based diet is a great way to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Taking a probiotic daily and eating fermented foods is another way to enhance a healthy gut.
As I traveled down the Yellow Brick Road in my cancer journey, I’ve learned that the gut and my immune system are intricately tied to each other. You might say they are connected at the hip. This tight connection between your gut and your immune system is one good reason to properly nourish your gut. A healthy gut promotes a strong immune system which helps secure your health. And whether preventing or trying to beat cancer, it’s all about the immune system.
How many of you knew that most of your immune cells are located in your gut? What practices can you share for keeping your gut healthy?
For Your Health,