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Grilled fish, cooked vegetables and fork on plate


Did you know that the gut lining, that houses approximately 70% of our immune system, is capable of regenerating every 4 days? If that is the case then why do people still suffer from gut symptoms such as food sensitivities, abdominal pain, bloating, acid-reflux, diarrhoea and many more?

The problem is that when we are stressed, constantly eat highly processed foods, drink alcohol, smoke and take certain medications these can all damage the gut lining and create an inflammatory reaction in the body. This inflammatory reaction ultimately prevents the lining of the gut from healing properly. It is comparable to a wound that forms a scab but keeps getting knocked or scratched and so it never gets a chance to heal.

Unbelievably, the gut lining is only one cell thick. The purpose of that is to allow nutrients to be absorbed easily. The body also has an ingenious immune layer that lines the surface of the gut known as Secretory IgA (SIgA). SIgA protects us against toxins, viruses and pathogens that may try to access the body. If this protective layer gets depleted then it can make us more susceptible to infections. It also puts the gut lining at risk of becoming permeable known as the currently fashionable “Leaky Gut”. If this happens then proteins, bacteria and many more nasties have the opportunity to get into the bloodstream and create inflammation, joint pain, food intolerances, headaches, rashes and other gut and brain related symptoms.

So how can we support the gut lining to help keep the immune system in topnotch condition?

Certain nutrients can help to protect and repair the gut lining and SIgA. One of the most significant is a certain type of beneficial yeast known as Saccharomyces Boulardii (SB). This beneficial yeast helps to raise healthy levels of SIgA and support immune health. However, if you think that you may have a yeast overgrowth it is best to work with a practitioner before adding in SB. More is not always better! Other nutrients to support good SIgA levels and the gut lining are Omega 3 Fish oils, L Glutamine and Vitamins A & D.

Certain polysaccharides known as beta glucans are found in the cell wall of mushrooms like button, Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake or a mushroom complex supplement. These beta glucans can also help to raise levels of SIgA and are known to help fight disease. So add in fungi or two for lunch or dinner to utilize their health benefits.

One other really important nutrient source for the gut cells is plant fibre. Gut bacteria ferment certain fibres to produce short chain fatty acids. These short chain fatty acids provide the energy fuel needed for the cells to repair and stay healthy. Ideal sources are high fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

So to give your gut the best start to the New Year try adding in a new high fibre food each day. Aim for something that you wouldn’t normally eat. Give your gut bacteria a New Year treat and provide them with the food source they need to help you attain optimal health and vitality.

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