How well our bodies are able to fight infections is down to the balance of the immune system. If we have an infection or imbalanced microbes (dysbiosis) in the gut this will tip the immune system away from being able to fight viruses or bacteria that infect cells (Th1 response) towards a differentiation which is needed to fight an infection in a hollow space (Th2 response). Hollow spaces being sinuses, lungs, gut, and bladder. This Th2 differentiation is associated with allergic conditions such as asthma, eczema, food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, histamine intolerance, mast cell activation.
Ideally, our immune system should have the flexibility to tip between Th1 and Th2 as needed (it can’t be both). However, if we have a chronic hollow space infection such as gut dysbiosis, this means you may become ‘stuck’ in Th2 dominance. As a consequence, you are unable to effectively clear viruses and bacteria which infect our cells resulting in a chronic infection as well as the allergic symptoms triggered by Th2 dominance.
We know that our gut lining is full of immune cells which survey everything that comes through the gut to see if it is friend or foe. So, keeping the gut lining in tip top condition is crucial.
Gut health – chest – how do the 5Rs apply?
- Remove – removing reactive foods which may trigger allergic symptoms such as an asthma exacerbation or wheeziness, removing dysbiotic (imbalanced) microbes in the gut that might be driving inflammation or autoimmunity which might affect the lungs – for this an individual may be guided by their practitioner or nutritional therapist through an elimination diet or tested to see which foods are reactive. A comprehensive digestive stool analysis is a useful tool for looking to see what the balance of microbes in the gut is like, whether or not there are raised markers of inflammation
- Replace – replacing stomach acid or digestive enzymes which may be deficient ensures thorough digestion of food and lowers the risk of developing food sensitivities or allergies as well as autoimmunity. Again a comprehensive digestive stool analysis is useful here to see how well an individual is digesting their food
- Reinoculate – reinoculating the gut with healthy bacteria/probiotics supports the immune system in the gut so we are better able to fight infections which may affect our lungs. Not all probiotics are the same and different strains of bacteria are chosen for their proven activity in a particular health condition
- Repair – repairing the intestinal barrier reduces the chance of developing food sensitivities or allergies and keeps microbes in the gut where they belong. We ensure that we remove factors that may be disrupting the lining of the gut and ensure there are plenty nutrients that are required for healing the gut lining
- Rebalance – this is about rebalancing ourselves and our lives, we know that stress is a driver for inflammation and chronic stress can impact on the function of our immune system. So finding ways to balance the stress in your life with breathing techniques can both benefit lung function and help with stress relief. Other things to consider include eating more mindfully and regularly returning to a point of relaxation so completing the stress cycle. I usually suggest to each patient that they collect self care tools into their virtual self care tool kit so that after an episode of stress they can pick the tool that fits for that moment in time that helps them return to a place of relaxation
If you would like to discuss anything in more detail, please book a discovery call with one of our doctors.