The Immune System and the "Gut Connection"

According to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, the immune system protects the body from foreign substances, cells and tissues by producing an immune response, specifically including the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, and special lymphoid tissue as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow.

The gut in an average adult is comprised of about 30 feet in length, including the small and large intestines. Furthermore, the normal bacterial population in the human gut is equal to the total number of cells in our entire body. This complex "army" of bacteria is made up of more than twenty trillion cells; the total weight being approximately 2.2 pounds.

The human immune system is like having an entire military force ready to recognize "invaders" and then proceed to issue orders of attack to destroy the enemy in order to preserve health. The immune system basically has three assignments:

Identify alien substances such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemical toxins.
Develop a strategy to destroy each specific type of invader; one plan of action does not apply to all invaders.
Maintain a "built-in" memory to recall the specific type of invader next time it presents a threat.
THE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
Additionally, the immune system is also an internal communication system comprised of a network of integrated cells to protect it's host, you. When there is a "loose connection," messages sent to the army's central command center are mis-interpreted--it's ability to differentiate between the host (you) and the invaders ceases and it begins to destroy healthy cells and tissues as evident in autoimmune disorders.

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CAUSES OF IMMUNE SYSTEM MIS-COMMUNICATION?
[check] Lack of healthy, organic food to nourish immune protection.

[check] Lack of the correct balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

[check] Being subjected to excessive, prolonged stress--physical, emotional and psychological, eventually manifesting as a stressed immune system unable to provide maximum protection. It's been likened to depleting the army's ammunition little by little, and then when it's needed for a battle, little, if any, remains to be used for defense.

[check] The intestinal toxicity exceeds the liver's ability to neutralize--causing autointoxication, toxemia and immune system disorders.

[check] The host consumes excessive prescription drugs, specifically antibiotics, which attack the "good" and "bad" bacteria--leaving the host vulnerable when an invasion occurs, especially to infections like yeast.

Recent research confirms that approximately 80 percent of the immune system is based in our gut--a theory held by many integrative and complimentary health professionals for many years.

THE WORLD WITHIN US
According to Michael Rosenbaum, M.D., "In the gut, material from the outside environment literally enters the interior of our body as food and water. They can contain all manner of pathogens. Our trusty immune system is there in the gut to protect us from this outside world inside us."

THE LIVER AND THE "GUT" CONNECTION
There exists an intimate connection between the large intestine and the liver through the hepatic portal vein.

When toxins are formed in the intestines and then get into the bloodstream, they must first pass through the liver for filtration. When toxins are being "dumped" into the liver, faster than the liver's ability to neutralize, autoimmune and chronic disorders develop including, but not limited to:

• Fibromyalgia

• Chronic fatigue

• Irritable bowel

• Lupus

• Arthritis

• Scleroderma

• Skin disorders

• Migraine headaches

• Food allergies

• Multiple chemical sensitivities (environmental illness)

• Cancer

• Candida (yeast overgrowth)

• Lymph disorders

• Liver disorders

• Depression

• Psoriasis

Colon cleaning is the "norm" in many European and Asian cultures, however, in North America it's a subject no one cared to approach until they became victims of a digestive or elimination disorder. Is it any wonder that 63 million Americans are victims of digestive disorders, many precipitated by a toxic colon?

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IMPORTANT FOR EFFECTIVE CLEANSING?
In order for a colon cleanse to be effective, it must contain a complex of synergistically balanced nutrients that will remove the accumulation of colonic plaque to prevent compromising the liver, lymphatic system and eventually the immune system. This same cleanse should not contain aggressive herbs like cascara sagrada and senna for stimulation, but rather contain assertive herbs to gently stimulate elimination after the fiber blend has "scrubbed" the walls of colonic plaque from the colon.

The product I use and recommend is a blend of botanicals, essential oils, enzymes, probiotics, fiber and alkalizing minerals from predigested goat-milk whey. These natural proven ingredients help the body with intestinal cleansing, peristalsis and colon detoxification while supporting liver and gallbladder health. It is strong enough to remove colonic plaque yet gentle enough in reduced dosage for long-term maintenance.

The five synergistically balanced blends that combine to make an effective cleansing formula include:

? Activated Fiber Blend—
Arabinogalactan, psyllium husk powder, flax flour, apple fiber powder, inulin Frutafit™, rice bran solubles (includes a prebiotic as a food source for friendly bacteria, contains short-chain fatty acids that fuel colonic cell growth, contains gluten-free fiber and bioactive mucilage to stimulate elimination and over 100 soluble antioxidants including vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid, known to reduce blood glucose and cholesterol).

? Colon Cleanse Blend—
Slippery elm powder, marshmallow root powder, fennel seed powder, fenugreek powder and turkey rhubarb root (ancient ingredients that are expectorants, demulcents, emollient, diuretic and anti-inflammatory). They support peristalsis, soothe inflammation of the alimentary canal, prevent gas-muscle spasms-constipation and contains high saponin, believed to inhibit absorption of cholesterol).

? Alkalizing Mineral Blend—
Beet juice powder, fermented goat mineral whey and goat mineral whey (contains magnesium and other alkalizing minerals that support proper pH and colon hydration).

? Superfood Blend—
PB Greens II and whole alfalfa leaf (predigested blend of wheat, oat, barley and alfalfa juices containing 14 strains of beneficial microorganisms and live enzymes).

? Essential Soothing Botanical Blend—
Turmeric powder, hyssop, ginger root powder, rosemary powder and whole yucca powder (ingredients that act as an alkalizer and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant known as an antispasmodic, contains wild oregano concentrate containing 31 known anti-inflammatory components, 8 antioxidants and 4 known COX-2 inhibitors, ingredients for analgesic effects and protein digesting enzymes).

WHY SHOULD WE USE A COMPLETE CLEANSE?
Because our modern lifestyle, consisting of over-processed and refined foods, chemical additives, lack of beneficial bacteria in our foods, chemical farming and chlorinated water, pesticides and herbicides and overall bad dietary habits, are responsible for the build up of mucoid plaque in the gut. This plaque adheres to the colonic walls in layers, creating a warm, dark, moist environment--a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, Candida (yeast) and parasites. Most victims of these disorders do not make the connection that a toxic colon and other organs of elimination that have been compromised, are a large contributing factor to their condition.

Tragically, chronic and degenerative diseases, many of which haven't been heard of until recent years, are increasing at alarming rates. Diseases such as Crohn's, colitis, gastritis, diverticulitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivities are fast becoming common place, highlighting the importance of supporting multiple organs of elimination with a complete cleanse, not just the colon.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A COMPREHENSIVE CLEANSING PRODUCT?
After a cleansing program you should experience a better sense of wellness, less fatigue, more stamina, less allergic responses to food and environmental allergens and quite often, the benefit of reduced overall pain because of the release of stored toxins.

Complete cleanses should not qualify as laxatives but rather, contain natural ingredients to gently stimulate elimination while supporting other organs of detoxification such as the liver, gallbladder and kidneys.

Oftentimes, with many colon cleansing products, individuals experience abdominal gas and bloating, this is a normal part of the cleansing process as toxins are "stirred." However, discomfort does not have to be experienced if herbs such as slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, rosemary and fennel seed are included--known for their ability to limit and counteract these effects.

It is generally recommended that if you haven't performed a colon cleanse, or it has been more than six months since you've done so, you stay on the cleansing routine for an initial 90 days. Be sure to check with a health professional for an appropriate protocol specifically for you. Comprehensive cleansing has never been easier--just swallow a few caplets with a full glass of water in the evening to "jump-start" you on your way to reducing your overall toxic load naturally.

WHAT ELSE ENHANCES CLEANSING AND DETOXIFICATION?
•. Drink plenty of water, preferably half of your body weight in ounces (example: body weight of 150 lbs. should drink 75 ounces of water).

• Reduce your intake of red meat during initial cleansing (usually 90 days).

• If available, have some freshly squeezed green juices (especially wheatgrass juice) to add enzymes and assist in greater absorption of nutrients from the "live" foods that make up the juice.

• Decrease consumption of coffee (no more than one cup per day). If you drink decaf make sure it's organic, water-processed to avoid chemicals used to remove caffeine.

• Decrease refined sugar and simple carbohydrates.

• Daily elimination of 1 to 3 times--once toxic matter is loosened, it needs to be eliminated to prevent irritation of the colonic lining and potentially cause toxic substances to re-absorb. • Reduce or eliminate consumption of cow dairy products to lessen the mucous and phlegm formed by these products that inhibit removal of colonic plaque.

Resources:

To locate a retailer of CapraCleanse™, the complete cleansing formula caplets used and recommend by Dr. Gilbère, or other unique products manufactured by Mt. Capra Products, call toll-free 800-574-1961 or fax 360-748-3099, or visit their Web site at www.mtcapra.com

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By Gloria Gilbere, N.D., D.A. Hom., Ph.D.

Gloria Gilbere is internationally respected as an authoritative influence in the discovery of the causes, effects and drug-free solutions for leaky gut syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and chemically induced immune system disorders. She is author of I Was Poisoned By My Body (Lucky Press, 2001), Invisible Illnesses (Freedom Press, 2002) and her latest book, Nature's Prescription Milk (Freedom Press, 2003). Visit her Web site at www.drgloriagilbere.com Listen to her radio show onwww.healthylife.net

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