One commonly overlooked aspect of immune function resides in a very unglamorous part of our bodies: our guts. Our gut bacteria modulates our immune function and does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to defending us against parasites, bacteria, and yes, even viruses. Let’s take a look at how Lisa Ackerman, MS, CNS works with clients suffering from gut issues, and how that is directly linked to your immune system:
The link between gut health and immune function was highlighted for me when I met with a highly active 56-year-old female who was always battling constant colds and mild infections. She felt like she picked up everything her granddaughter brought home from daycare, with multiple colds and even sinus infections a year.
Although it wasn’t her main concern, she was also struggling with GI issues like bloating and loose stools. She had been vegetarian for a few years but hadn’t pinpointed what was causing her lowered immune function or her gut problems. However, our gut health is imperative to our immune health so we focused on how we could improve her microbiome. Our microbiomes are full of beneficial bacteria that help to regulate our immune system and protect us from invading pathogens. With cases of dysbiosis or an unbalanced microbiome, our immune system can become dysregulated.
Here is what we worked on.
- Boost intake of vitamins B6, B12, folate, and minerals zinc and selenium to help with white blood cell production as well as for immune support.
- Maintain adequate protein intake to promote the function of immune cells, as well as to maintain metabolic health and muscle mass.
- Include supportive foods like coconut oil, tea catechins, and antioxidants from brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
- For gut health, we did a deeper dive into what was causing bloating and loose stools, and then removed the inflammatory triggers and repaired gut health by focusing on fiber intake, prebiotic foods, probiotic foods, and a wide variety of whole foods.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, 1 glass of red wine a day.
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night, with good sleep hygiene.
- Include strength training, regular exercise routine, and current cardio classes.
- Manage stress with things that fit into her lifestyle – regular walks with friends, a few minutes of meditation a day, and a yoga class a week.
- Mindful eating – carving out time and space to eat in a relaxed and distraction-free environment to promote digestion and a peaceful relationship with food.
By implementing these changes she was able to reduce her symptoms of bloating and loose stools, and she went into the next cold and flu season with a strong defense system. Nutrition and gut health are key to supporting our immune systems!
With the help of a nutritionist, you can conquer the seasonal allergies that many just accept as a part of spring! Please give our administrative team a call at 206-853-0534 or schedule yourself online here.
Interested in learning more? Schedule an appointment with Lisa to get support on your journey to holistic and kind health.
|Written by Starkel Nutrition provider, Lisa Ackerman, MS, CNS
Edited by Starkel Nutrition Marketing Assistant, Mairin McCurdy