Our gut is a fascinating system. Far more than just our colon, it’s actually our entire digestive system, involving many large and small organs. But did you know that it’s also home to the majority of our immune system (about 70-80% of it)?
The immune system gut connection is a topic that has occupied doctors and researchers for quite a while, and we’re here to share the highlights with the help of our Senior Scientist, Arianne Vance. “While there are still many unknowns when it comes to the human microbiome, experts believe that the activity and composition of the gut microbiome is important to our overall health,” says Vance. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to support an environment for a happy microbiome and immune system. Hint: many of them are delicious.
How Does Our Gut Health Affect Our Immune System?
Our body’s collective microbiome helps support our entire body’s functions, including our immune system, but what does that mean? First, let’s look at what the microbiome actually is. “A huge array of microorganisms is found all over the human body, both inside and out,” Vance says. “In fact, it's estimated that there are between 500 - 1,000 different species of bacteria in the human body at any given time." (4) The human gastrointestinal (GI) tract alone houses several trillion microbial cells, making up the largest portion of the human microbiota.” All those bacteria combine to create a powerhouse supporting our gut health and immune system, and the more diverse the microbiome, the better.
A large proportion of the human immune system is located in the gut, so it follows that keeping the gut happy helps keep the immune system happy, too. “While there are still many unknowns when it comes to the human microbiome, experts believe that the activity and composition of the gut microbiome can impact overall health.”