The health of one particular part of the digestive tract, known as the gut lining, is especially important to prevent disease and promote wellbeing.. The gut lining is the largest surface inside the human body. It is also the largest surface vulnerable to external elements, such as bad bacteria, fungi, yeast or other microorganisms, which enter the body through food and water. The gut lining is the only thing standing between potentially deadly organisms, known as pathogens, and a healthy human body.
Organisms living in the body play a major role in health and the development of disease. Not all of these organisms are dangerous; many actually play a beneficial role in the human body. Large numbers of unhealthy organisms can cause disease, but adequate numbers of healthy organisms can help the body function well.
There is a symbiotic relationship between the microbiota in your digestive system, and the body – the microbes help with fermenting and absorbing undigested carbohydrates, for example, while the body provides the organisms with a rich and hospitable place to live.
It is important to keep microbiota in balance. A person can get sick when their immune system does not kill enough dangerous pathogens but they can also get sick if their body kills off too many of the beneficial organisms. The gut lining plays an essential role in sorting the bad organisms from the good ones, which makes it an important part of the immune system.
THE GUT LINING
A single layer of epithelial cells, known collectively as the gut lining, separate the clean environment of the body from potentially dangerous substances passing through the digestive tract. The gut lining is permeable, which means it allows important nutrients and fluids to move from the intestine to the rest of the body through the bloodstream. It also acts as a barrier tissue to prevent toxins and unhealthy bacteria from entering the bloodstream.
An unhealthy gut lining can develop an unhealthy balance between permeability and barrier protection. An over-protective gut lining can prevent the body from getting the vitamins and nutrients it needs from food, while an unhealthy gut lining can allow pathogens to enter the bloodstream.
This massive interface between the outside world and the gut lining makes the gut the body’s largest immune organ. In fact, 70 to 80% of the immune systems cells are found within the gut.
Poor health can develop when imbalances occur in the gut lining. One notable example is called “leaky gut”, also known as intestinal permeability, a situation where the gut lining allows potentially toxic substances to leak into the bloodstream.
CONNECTING JUNCTIONS AND LEAKY GUT
The cells of the gut lining are held together by “connecting junctions.” Some junctions, known as tight junctions, connect the gut cell to all of its neighbors. Tiny holes between the junctions allow nutrients and fluid to pass but prevent larger molecules from passing through the thin gut lining.
Tight junctions work best when they remain tight, but these junctions can loosen to allow holes to widen and become permeable. When this happens, unscreened molecules pass into the bloodstream, where they can travel throughout the body.
HELPING PREVENT LEAKY GUT
Broken tight junctions lead to large openings that allow undigested food particles, microbes, antibodies and toxins to pass through the gut lining and enter the bloodstream.
However, the best defense is achieved by maintaining a healthy gut lining. A positive step is regular use of a high-quality probiotic such as Natren HEALTHY TRINITY®. Beneficial bacteria work with the cells of the gut lining to protect them from destructive elements, and helps them to protect themselves against external attack by way of a chemical “cross-talk” communication.
Proper communication between the gut lining, probiotics and the immune system keeps the body safe from exposure to infections from pathogens, and improves overall health and wellbeing – helping preserve the function of the gut lining as a way of letting nutrients in, and keeping the bad guys out!
NATASHA'S HEALTH TIP
"The gut lining is one of the largest surfaces inside the human body and works hard to make sure the right nutrients and water get in but the wrong bacteria and viruses stay out. Keep your gut healthy with Natren’s probiotics!"