The Immune System – Digestive Tract Connection

allergy The digestive tract plays a major part in immunity.  We don’t realize how critically important it is to our immune system to keep a healthy intestinal tract.  Our system is bombarded with invaders that enter through our food, water, and drink.  Our body wouldn’t leave us without a good defense mechanism and the digestive tract has an army to handle whatever enters it.

Peyer’s patches are collections of lymphatic tissue, like tonsils, and are found in the mucous lining toward the end of the small intestine.  Whatever food is left here doesn’t contain many nutrients, but it does contain a large number of bacteria.  Macrophages (immune fighters) are found in Peyer’s patches and are in a great position to capture and destroy these bacteria and keep them from entering the bloodstream.  This system is one of the most important parts of immunity.  The balance of good and bad bacteria, or microflora, in our lower GI tract is vitally important, not only for digestion, but also for our immune function and overall health.


I’d like to talk a little bit about hidden allergies and what your body can react to.  Your body can react to any substance it comes in contact with:

– Through the mouth (food, drink).  Most commonly dairy, wheat, corn, processed soy products, eggs, food additives, GM foods.

– Through the skin (personal care products, cleaners, laundry products, clothing).

– Airborne substances (air fresheners, perfumes, environmental pollutants).

We are all unique and we can react to absolutely anything, even the most innocent things.  You might need to do some personal investigation.  A journal may be useful, or professional testing may be required.

Your body can react in a number of ways:

*Common or well-known allergic reactions:

– Skin (rashes, redness, hives, itchiness, swelling)

– Digestive (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea)

– Respiratory (stuffy/runny nose, congestion, sneezing)

– Eyes (red, puffy, watery, itchy)

– Headaches

*Hidden, or not-so-well-known, allergic reactions:

– Brain fog, unclear thinking, lack of mental clarity, neurological issues

– Learning issues, concentration problems, behavioral challenges, hyperactivity

– All types of digestive complaints, bowel complaints

– All types of aches and pains, including arthritis

– Respiratory issues such as asthma (usually a reaction to dairy products)

– Emotional concerns (depression, mood swings, anxiety, panic, anger)

– Many health conditions or diseases may have their root in hidden allergies

(Note:  Always have any concerns thoroughly checked by your health care practitioner.)

Discovering your personal triggers may require investigation and testing:

*Elimination diets can be used to discover food sensitivities.  Hidden food allergies are often the exact food you crave the most.  This reaction is too complex to discuss here, but it works similar to an addiction.  Try avoiding your favorite food for 5-10 days and see how you feel.

*Consider professional help.  Allergy testing through scratch tests identifies one type of allergic reaction.  They don’t identify hidden allergies.  There are many alternative allergy testing techniques available (use of computers, muscle testing, kinesiology, blood tests).  Find a practitioner and/or method you trust.

*Remember, it can be anything you come in contact with, in any number of ways (ingest, inhale, skin contact) on a daily basis or only occasionally.

*Something else to think about:  Often people discover they react to the chemicals (pesticides, additives) in a food rather than the food itself.  For example, they may react to a conventional mango, but be perfectly fine with an organic mango.  Reactions may also be to processing methods or additives rather than an actual food.  More for you to investigate and learn about yourself!

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