In celebrating the holidays with our loved ones while practicing our shared commitment towards wellness, we integrate both a useful common sense and broad understanding of our times. It’s now when we can discard obsolete practices, recall the essential truths, while benefitting from cutting edge information and scientific research. In the context of health, that means we need to be steadfast in understanding of the value and urgency of cultivating a strong immune system, considering what we now know about the microbiome in 2017.
Capability of handling the foreign particles and pathogens around us, while not over-reacting in autoimmune, allergic, or chronically inflamed cycles are signs of the strong immune system. Ever vigilant to the signs of tissue damage and consequent bacterial invasion, the tissues and cells of the immune system are located mostly along the gastrointestinal tract, where the microbiome bacteria mostly are located. The cell of the GI tract, therefore are very important. Enterocytes, or intestinal cells, are greatly affected by the products of metabolic activity of gut bacteria and viruses. It therefore behooves us to cultivate the healthy gastrointestinal lining and eubiosis (healthy ecology) among the bacteria in our gut. Eubiosis leads to harmony and a healthy immune system, by leading to physiologically healthy enterocytes and colonocytes (cells of the GI tract).
Everything we consume gets digested and absorbed by our gastrointestinal cells OR metabolized by the gut bacteria (which far outnumber human cells). Therefore, our actions and life circumstances provide opportunity to establish eubiosis. We can for example consume resistant starches, amino acids (such as tryptophan), hormones (such as Vitamin D), and vitamins (such as Vitamin A) which increase gut bacterial diversity, improve gut bacterial cell healthy and longevity, and therefore help create healthy immune system reactivity and responsiveness.
The future is here; the concept of the superorganism (our human individuality plus our gut bacterial ecology) is here, and our understanding of ourselves in that equation will determine our well-being and therefore vitality and quality of life.
Dushyant Viswanathan, MD
Jan 1 2017