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The FIRST STEP to a Strong Immune System
Dr Debby Hansen
Director of The Edison Institute of Nutrition, Federickton, New Brunswick, Canada
We all know we need a strong immune system in order to ward off pathogens so we don't get sick. But how many know
that there is a very close relationship between the immune system and the intestinal tract. If we are to
support immune function, we must start by supporting digestion, assimilation and elimination.
We have all heard the expression, "You are what you eat". Actually you are what you eat and assimilate.
But it is equally true that you are what you do not eliminate. If undigested food and waste products are not
eliminated from the body they accumulate, putrefy, feed unfriendly bacteria, and become reabsorbed. Every tissue and organ of the body will
feel the effects of these toxic substances. This is the underlying cause of the majority of today's diseases and ill
The Gastrointestinal Immune Connection
The gastrointestional (GI) tract is the major center of immune response. Gut Associated lymphoid Tissue (GALT) is
the largest lymphoid organ in the body. The small intestine contains 80% of the immune-producing cells in the body.
There are 400-500 indigenous species of micro flora in the large intestine, many of which are unculturable and therefore virtually unknown. There
are 100,000 billion viable bacteria in the GI tract. Bacteria should compose 33% to 50% of fecal matter. Normal bowel flora
is essential to the immune system, starting from birth. Two of the most studied beneficial bacteria are strains of
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.
When there are balanced numbers of micro flora, it takes 100,000 Salmonella enteritidis organisms to cause disease (food poisoning). Although
antibiotics can save lives, they can also destroy beneficial bacteria, suppress immune function,
cause serious intestinal symptoms, stress the liver and kidneys, deplete beneficial vitamins and minerals, and cause other side effects.
Constipation creates a disurbance of intestinal bacteria. Dangerous toxins are produced and absorbed, increasing the workload of all
excretory organs. Intestinal constipation causes cellular constipation. Cells, tissues and organs cannot reproduce, repair, and
eliminate wastes efficiently. Functional disturbance can occur in any organ system resulting in degenerative and chronic illness.
The most common cause of constipation are a low-fibre, low-nutrient diet, insufficient fluid intake, lack of exercise, drugs, a low functioning
thyroid, low stomach hydrochloric acid production, and ignoring the urge to eliminate.
Diarrhea is frequent liquid stools. The most common causes are viral or bacterial infection, food allergies/intolerances, parasites and
antibiotics. Loose and frothy stools may indicate intestinal malabsorption. Mucus in the stool may indicate irritation and possible
Bowel Transit Time
Constipation is thought by many to mean infrequent bowel movements that are hard, dry and difficult to pass stools. Contrary to this belief,
they may actually be formed and normal in appearance. Ideally we should have a bowel movement shortly after each major meal or three times a
day. However, even this is not always an indicator of healthy bowel function. Transit time through the bowel is also important.
We should eliminate the residue of each meal is 18-24 hours. In many cases, it is not eliminated for many days afterward.
Many people have the misconception that it doesn't matter how often you have a bowel movement as long as it is "regular". This belief has lead many
to conclude that as little as one or two bowel movements a week is "normal". It may be "normal" in the sense that it is "common" but it
definitely is not healthy. In fact it causes "autointoxication", being poisoned by substances produced within the body
. Others have the opposite mistaken belief that if they have two to three bowel movements a day, that they have diarrhea.
Do most people know when they are constipated? Dr. Bernard Jensen, a renowned authority on bowel health, reports on 300 autopsies performed
at the National College in Chicago. Health histories revealed that only 15 reported being constipated and some reported as many as 5-6
bowel movements a day. What did the results reveal? Only 15 were not constipated while the other 285 were. The bowel walls were encrusted
with material (in once case peanuts) that had obviously been there a very long time. Some had bowels that were 12 inches in diameter. Any
wonder why drug stores are full of breath fresheners and deodorants? The outside is a true reflection of the inside.
The best approach for those wanting to strengthen their immune system is to support digestion, assimilation and elimination with an individual
program. Holistic Nutrition Consultants trained at the Edison Institute of Nutrition are qualified to assess diet, health history, and
symphomology to create individualised programs to build healthy balanced bodies.
- The bowel functions best when there is sufficient water (6-8 glasses a day)
- High fibre foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, berries, raw nuts and seeds, legumes, and whole grains provide fibre and the nutrients
for healthy bowel function and repair
- Live culture ferment foods (yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut) supply friendly bacteria for the bowel. Probiotics
(acidophillus and bifidus strains) can be taken in supplement form to repopulate the bowel with friendly bacteria. This is especially important
after antibiotics use and for those who are allergic or intolerant to diary products
- Avoid refined sugar, refined flour, food additives and chemicals, alcohol, and smoking, all of which affect intestinal micro flora
- Fresh ground flax seeds and hemmp hearts are excellent ways to add extra fibre and essential fatty acids. Psyllium provides extra fibre and
absorbs harmful toxins. Be sure to drink plenty of water
- Digestive enzymes increase digestion, allowing nutrients to be absorbed, and reduce toxic by-products of poor digestion
- Ginger, chanomile, and peppermint teas are especially good for the GI tract, improving digestion, and promoting healthy function.
See below for a sample of Fortified Flax Hulls (1st pic) and Flax Hulls (2nd pic)
Each jar contains 180gm of fortified flax hulls or 150gm of flax hulls
The above information is provided for general
educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace competent
health care advice received from a knowledgeable healthcare professional.
You are urged to seek healthcare advice for the treatment of any
illness or disease.
The Food Standard Agency UK has not evaluated these
statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent