• Dr. B

Innate Immunity: The Microbiome

Updated: Oct 22

Germs are not the enemy. Not all of them anyways.

In fact, we need germs to help support a normal immune system response. This is called your Microbiome and is part of your Innate immune system. It is the NORMAL bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses which are present on the surface cells of the body systems that are connected to the outside environment: your skin, digestive tract, urogenital tract, and respiratory system. These non-human cells actually outnumber the human cells in/on your bodies (about 5-10 times more microorganisms than human cells).

Function of the Microbiome:

  • Immune support- As you move through our world- touching things/people, breathing, eating things- pathogens (microorganisms that correlate to a specific disease or set of symptoms- the "bad" germs if you would) that touch the surface cells on your skin and within the digestive, urogenital, and respiratory tracts will be filtered out by the microbiome. This means that the microbiome is the first deterrent to infection, your first line of defense.

  • Digestion support- The microbiome is part of the final process of digestion, breaking down the smallest pieces of food after the stomach acid and enzymes do their job.

  • Exchange of information- There is information that gets passed from the organisms of the microbiome to our human cells which adjusts the genetics of the cell. This is part of the sensory system your body possesses to know the health/functional status of the body.

  • Hormone support- The organisms of the microbiome have the ability to release hormones (serotonin, dopamine, cortisol, etc) that aid in the overall hormonal balance of the body.

Development of the Microbiome:

  • Some of the microbiome is established before birth by passive immunity from mom through the placenta, but the majority of it is established during the birth process itself: from baby getting exposed to the urogenital tract microbiome of mom (the birth canal). C-section babies do not get this and therefore are at a disadvantage protection wise starting from day one in this world. Of course, if mom’s microbiome isn't healthy, neither will baby's.

  • Breast feeding gives baby a healthy microbiome due to skin-to-skin contact and antibodies that get passed through the breastmilk. Bottle fed babies do not get this- that's bottle fed both formula and breast milk if there is more pumping than actual breast feeding. The bottle eliminates skin-to-skin contact.

  • Also, as baby gets exposed to more germs in their environment when they grow (adaptive immunity), the consistency of the breast milk changes to better protect the child. Formula fed babies do not get this. Actual breast feeding is also necessary for this to happen as there is an exchange of information between the cells of baby and cells of mom with skin-to-skin contact.

Maintenance of the Microbiome (done on a daily basis for all of us):

  • Touching things- people, animals, things, surfaces, building parts, etc.

  • Breathing in air- inside and outside.

  • Ingesting things/putting hands in mouth- food, taking meds, objects (kids put things in their mouths to learn better), etc.

Disruptors/Destroyers of the Microbiome:

  • Subluxations- prevent nerve supply to areas where the microbiome is present, thus limiting your brain’s communication to those areas (necessary for the human part of the immune system to coexist and cooperate with the non-human parts).

  • Stress- being in fight or flight mode causes energy and chemical imbalances within the body that can destroy the good microbes of the microbiome.

  • Drugs/Medicines- prescriptions medications (especially antibiotics), over the counter remedies, recreational drugs (alcohol, smoking, etc), anesthesia, vaccines, etc... causes your body to redirect necessary resources to detoxification rather than pathogen elimination and health protection, creating imbalances within the body that can destroy the good germs.

  • Toxins- ingredients in personal care products/cleaning products, plastic use, pollution, vaccines, etc… again, causes your body to redirect necessary resources to detoxification rather than pathogen elimination therefore creating imbalances that can destroy the good parts.

  • Bad diets- processed food, sugar, pesticides, GMOs, not eating fruit or vegetables, not getting enough water, etc… causes imbalances within your body that can destroy the good parts by not providing the microbiome with necessary nutrients to do their jobs properly.

  • Wearing gloves for an extended period of time (at home and/or in public)- eliminates you touching things with your bare skin which eliminates you maintaining the skin microbiome.

  • Wearing masks for extended periods of time (at home and/or in public)- eliminates you breathing in some of the normal microorganisms that colonize the respiratory and digestive tracts.

  • Antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers- strip away all of the bacteria on the skin (not just the bad ones).

  • Excessive cleaning and disinfecting- strips the environment in your home and work (surfaces and air) of these necessary organisms. Not to mention most conventional and commercial cleaners have toxins in them so if you use them more often than you normally do, then this will give you extra shots of toxins.

  • Invasive pathogens- can trigger the diarrhea response, cleansing the entire digestive tract of good and bad microbes (Have you ever had food poisoning?).

If the microbiome of the body is not healthy or if there is dysbiosis (an unbalance of good and bad microbes of the microbiome), then opportunistic germs (like SARS-COV2 and the other flu viruses) can get past this first line of defense, which leads to an increased risk of infection by those bugs.

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