Poor Gut Health Can Cause Autoimmune Disease
Did you know that 80 percent of your immune system lives in your gut?1 Additionally, your gut is packed with trillions of microbes that work for and against your immune system. In fact, there are 150 times more genes contained in those microbes than in your genome. This group of microbes is what’s known as your gut microbiome – a little ecosystem that influences your overall health significantly. Because of these key facts, gut health and autoimmune conditions are closely associated. It’s not surprising that these microbes and your gut health play a role in autoimmune conditions. Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system mistakes parts of your body for an invader and attacks healthy tissue. So, it makes sense that the home of your immune system needs to be healthy for you to avoid autoimmune disease. One of the biggest concerns surrounding autoimmune disease is that it’s on the rise. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, and lupus are only becoming more common. On top of this, women are 78 percent more likely to get an autoimmune disease than men.2 These facts make it more pressing than ever to figure out how to stop autoimmune disease and research is indicating we need to examine our gut health.
The Importance of Building a Strong Gut Microbiome
If you’ve ever wondered how all those bacteria get in your gut in the first place, the answer begins before you’re even born. We used to think that babies were born with sterile guts and the microbiome began forming from birth on, but recent research has found that there is bacteria present in the amniotic fluid, umbilical cord, and placenta.3 Then through birth and breastfeeding, you really start to build your gut microbiome. Actually, C-section births, being fed formula, and a mom who takes antibiotics during pregnancy are factors that can alter a child’s microbiome. Each of these events are suspected to contribute to higher rates of infections due to a weakened immune system and other conditions. To be healthy, you need a gut full of diverse and beneficial microbes. As Hippocrates wisely said, “All disease begins in the gut.” – and today we know that to be more true than ever before.
How The Gut Microbiome Contributes to Autoimmune Disease
Your gut microbiome is an ecosystem that thrives on diversity to run smoothly. Certain foods like refined carbohydrates and sugar can cause harmful bacteria to out compete beneficial bacteria and cause an imbalance called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can lead to a dysfunctional immune system.4 Other factors can influence and worsen dysbiosis include:
- Birth control pills
- Lack of prebiotics
- Not eating diverse foods
- Not exercising enough
- Smoking cigarettes
- Not sleeping enough
When you have dysbiosis, typically the immune system first becomes suppressed. This makes you more susceptible to infections and illness. If you take antibiotics for your illness it reinforces this problem. Over time if untreated, dysbiosis can lead to a leaky gut. Leaky gut is a condition where toxic material that would normally be eliminated, pass through your intestinal lining and into your bloodstream. Next, your immune system detects these particles and attacks them, which causes inflammation. When this cycle continues to occur, you can experience increasing chronic inflammation which can lead to autoimmune disease. Molecular mimicry is a mechanism where your body mistakes certain particles that look like invaders and attacks.6 For example, when you get leaky gut because you’ve had dysbiosis for a while and toxic particles wind up in the bloodstream, your immune system creates antibodies for that particle. The particles can look like tissues in the body, so the initial attack on the food eventually turns on a healthy body part. This is how poor gut health can contribute to the development of an autoimmune condition.
How To Have a Healthier Gut
Right about now you’re probably wondering what you can do to have a healthier gut. Here are seven ways you can improve your gut health and prevent a leaky gut.
- Eat a variety foods – One of the reasons gut health issues are on the rise is processed foods make up more of our diet and they aren’t as varying as they might look. If you check the ingredients on common foods in the grocery store, you’ll find that they are mostly different versions of a few things – your crackers, cereal, and cookies are actually very similar. In fact, 75 percent of our food comes from only 12 plants and five animals.7
Your gut health thrives on diversity just like any other ecosystem. To get a more diverse microbiome you need to feed those bacteria a diverse assortment of foods. These foods should also be healthy and include lots of fruits and veggies.
- Cut back on sugar and refined carbs – These are two of the worst foods you can eat for gut health. They feed harmful bacteria and mess with your health in general.
- Eliminate allergens and sensitivities – Allergens can contribute to leaky gut even if you don’t have a strong reaction. The most common allergens and sensitivities include gluten, dairy, eggs, and peanuts.
- Get better sleep – When you aren’t getting quality sleep, it can really mess with your gut microbiome. Even two days of partial sleep deprivation changed gut microbiome composition. Specifically, one study found only two days of sleep interruption increased the bacteria strains associated with weight gain and obesity.8
- Eat more prebiotic foods – Prebiotic foods are excellent nutrient sources for beneficial bacteria. Bifidobacterium and Faecalibacterium are two species of beneficial bacteria everyone could use more of and good prebiotic foods for these include onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, jerusalem artichokes, lentils, and beans.
- Drink less alcohol – Alcohol can cause dysbiosis and other gut health issues. Try to minimize your drinking or cut it out altogether if you’re looking to truly improve your health.
- Use Atrantil for gas and bloating – Getting rid of bloating is easy with Atrantil, simply take one capsule with a meal and you’ll not only experience fast relief – you’ll experience lasting relief because it addresses the root cause. Atrantil also is a great prebiotic in the colon, nourishing the microbiome.
The gut health and autoimmune disease connection is clear. When you take good care of your gut you reduce the risk you’ll get sick. Incorporate these simple steps and start reaping the benefits of good gut health now.