Cooperation Is Resilience
The microbiome and the immune system are one in the SAME. The immune system as we know it couldn’t exist without the microbiome.
Take infants for example they basically inherit the immune system of their mother, which gives them protection for maybe a few months.1 During birth, bacteria from the mother’s vagina is passed on to the baby. This helps to build the colony of bacteria in the infant’s gut that contributes to their maturing immunity.
Through the natural childbirth process, YOU are literally baptized in sacred microbes!
As an infant develops, their immune cells are trained and helped to maturity by the microbes in their inner terrain.2 This is how the immature immune cells learn to do what they need to do in their matured state. The microbiome teaches the immune system what to look for, how to look for it and how to respond to invaders or non-self entities.3
So a healthy mature immune system requires a rich and diverse inner terrain to not only survive living in the modern world, but to thrive.4 Interestingly enough, in adults overuse of antibiotics, lack of a diverse and nutrient-rich diet, intestinal permeability, poor gut health, etc., has resulted in a less resilient microbiome AND immune response, which is thought to be a contributor for some of the dramatic rise in recent years in autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. In the case of infants and young children, the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, aluminum, preservatives, etc. in vaccines (as adjuvants and other ingredients) has played a role in the huge increase of seizures, ticks, cognitive decline, epilepsy, and autoimmune disease.5
Some medications can change the composition of the microbiome forever therefore impacting immune health profoundly. This is why you want to pay close attention to what’s impacting your inner terrain.
The microbiome also acts as a “neighborhood watch” for the mature immune system. The 40 trillion microbes that cover the mucosal layer in your gut (super thin tissue that lines your gut) far outnumber the 200 million or so immune cells that are also required to survey and monitor this same area. So you have a diverse workforce all with one goal: keep the host (YOU) alive and thriving. It’s also no surprise that your gut microbes are also quite adept at inter-species communications: their job is to maintain this all-important cross-talk between the gut, brain, nervous system, heart, and pretty much every system in the body. Your gut microbes especially are like the old-fashioned telephone operators that will either put your call through to the right destination or disconnect it all together (sorry!).
Because the microbes are the first-alerts to the immune system and send signals to the immune system to send first-responders to the right spot, they help to facilitate communications directly to immune cells and therefore cutting through all the “noise” going on when all the inner alarms are firing due to an invader. Your microbes are like a 911 call being made to the immune system and better to have this direct link than have to get in your car and drive miles and miles for help (and maybe be DOA).
Microbes Influence Immune Energy
The immune system relies on the microbiome for some of the energy it needs to keep up its vigilance, monitor, and keep the body healthy. The only way the immune system gets the job done is by getting assistance from the microbes. So the key to lasting resiliency is diversity and a balanced internal ecosystem… not sterility.
I hope you are noticing a recurring theme about just how important microbes truly are to not only providing functions we rely on, but also being a main biological influencer.
The gut microbiota and mitochondria (the energy source in your cells) work together to either protect or damage your health depending on which way the scales are tipping. When the mitochondria in your cells aren’t producing enough energy you are at risk for many diseases including chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, and more. This would be like having a cell phone where the batteries are not fully charged so the screen dims, the signal gets low, and then,,, “can you hear me now?”.
Microbiota can influence the activity of mitochondria (remember microbes == energy) by regulating the production of free radicals. You remember these things… those pesky unstable atoms that float around in the body and damage cells, causing illness and aging.
We also now know that mitochondria of the cell can affect the microbiota’s ability to regulate the gut lining.6 The breaking down of the gut lining often leads to conditions like leaky gut and since 70% or so of your immune system lives in your gut, you could be headed for an autoimmune condition sometime in the future.
Without energy, good healthy microbes and the ability to remain resilient and strong from the inside-out, you are basically a corpse. (Oh, but what a different story we can tell around microbes, decomposition of the human body, recycling and evolution… but that is for another story).
We literally keep coming back to how vital a good internal ecosystem system is and that WE NEED cooperation between species to survive AND thrive. Just because on the surface you can’t see, touch, feel, or smell something, doesn’t mean it’s not there, providing some benefit, or in some way playing a very significant role. Part of understanding and cultivating a healthy terrain is being able to let go of what you don’t know and can’t control in order to let a higher force get on with it’s business.
1 Abbas AR, Baldwin D, et al. Immune response in silico (IRIS): immune-specific genes identified from a compendium of microarray expression data. Genes Immun. 2005 Jun; 6(4):319-31.
2 Gensollen T, I S Shankar, et al. How colonization by microbiota in early life shapes the immune system. Science. 2016 Apr 29; 52(6285):539-44.
3 Y. Belkaid, T. Hand. Role of the Microbiota in Immunity and inflammation. Cell. 2014 Mar 27; 157(1): 121-141.
4 N. Hasan, H. Yang. Factors affecting the composition of the gut microbiota, and its modulation. PeerJ. 2019; 7:e7502.
5 R Jiya, H Eun-Hee, et. al. Associations of prenatal and early childhood mercury exposure with autistic behaviors at 5 years of age: The Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH) study. Science of the Total Environment. December 2018;605-606:251-255.
6 Saint Georges Chaumet Y, Edeas M. Pathog Dis. 2015 Oct 23. pii: ftv096.
Disclaimer: the views and nutritional advice expressed in this publication are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical advice. No information provided should be interpreted as a diagnosis of any disease, nor an attempt to treat or prevent or cure any disease or condition. All information in this publication is for educational purposes only and Aine-Marie and Advesta Health encourages its clients and members to continue to work in a partnership with qualified medical professional. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider or seek medical assistance. Reading, sharing, or downloading this publication does not establish a doctor patient relationship with Aine-Marie or any Advesta Health employee or consultant including any of our licensed health practitioners, coaches, dieticians or nutritionists.