Over 70% of your immune system is in your gut. You rely on your gut to keep you safe from illness. But trouble can happen when your immune system under-delivers or over-delivers. And when your gut is not working its best, you're more vulnerable to immune disorders.
Instead of protecting you from illness, your body's immune system can be overactive and mistakenly attack your own tissues as if they were foreign substances or pathogens. This is autoimmune disease and there are a surprising number of illnesses within this category:
- alopecia areata
- autoimmune cardiomyopathy
- celiac disease
- Crohn's disease
- diabetes mellitus type 1
- Graves' disease
- myasthenia gravis
- pernicious anemia
- psoriatic arthritis
- rheumatoid arthritis
- transverse myelitis
- ulcerative colitis
An underperforming immune system is deficient. Acquired (non-congenital) immunodeficiency can be due to older age, malnutrition, drug use, medications, chemotherapy, pathogens and other reasons.
Some illnesses affect your immune system's ability to respond. Most notably, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome – AIDS. In AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects and kills your immune system's helper T cells, which reduces your ability to fight infections.
In this third type of immune system disorder, body tissues are again under attack. Responses can range from mild, as in allergies or asthma, to life threatening, such as anaphylactic shock.
While some genetic, pathogenic and environmental influencers can promote illness and disease, your immune system has considerable potential to resist the onset of health issues. From avoiding a simple cold or flu, to living a long life without major diseases, your immune responses play a key role.
The number of factors at work in this complex interaction of human body, heredity, diet, exercise, toxic chemicals and stress, tend to tax the limits of current science's understanding. So keeping your gut and the immune system that resides there as healthy, well nourished and ready to respond as nature intended, is simply one of the best things you can do.