The Women's Journal

Gut Imbalances Can Weaken Your Immunity

By  |  0 Comments

Path Rooks jfm16

Dr. Heather Rooks, DC

It was Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, who first said, “All disease begins in the gut.” What he meant was that our gut is intrinsically linked to our immune system. In fact, more than 70% of our immune system is IN our gut!

This may be hard to imagine, but the walls of your entire gastrointestinal system are home to organisms known as microbiota, or gut flora. We have more bacteria in our gut than anywhere else in our bodies. You have about 1.5kg of bacteria in your body!

Many of these cells make up your immune system. Scientists now know that gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is the main type of tissue lining the gut, representing almost 70% of the entire immune system. It’s also known that about 80% of our white blood cells (which are our main immune cells) live in this tissue.

Where Does Gut Bacteria Come From?

Your gut bacteria begin to develop immediately after you’re born, thanks to both the birth process and the breast milk you receive from your mother. Of course, these bacteria change as we grow and develop. The health of your gut bacteria is influenced by everything you face in daily life – diet, age, gender, stress, your environment – and everything you touch or smell.

Scientists have now found that our gut bacteria paint a very accurate picture of your overall health and wellbeing. Many of the digestive problems you have are often linked to much more serious conditions affecting the gut. This can include food allergies, behavioral disorders, mood changes, autoimmune disease, arthritis, chronic fatigue, skin disorders and even cancer.

What Is Gut Imbalance?

When our gut bacteria are “in balance,” it means we have plenty of beneficial bacteria flourishing and bad bacteria is kept to a minimum. An imbalance, on the other hand, means that we have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which is threatening the ability of beneficial bacteria to do their work. This is also referred to as “dysbiosis.”

How Does Gut Imbalance Affect Your Immune System?

Your gut has a million jobs to perform every day in order to keep your body healthy. These include digesting the food you eat, absorbing nutrients from that food, fighting off pathogenic bacteria, flushing out toxins, and producing vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Your immune system can’t function without the work your gut bacteria does in detoxifying and nourishing your body.

Studies have shown that the bacteria in our gut interact with our immune system cells. This interaction has developed as our diets and lifestyles have evolved over time. The bacteria have the tricky job of both fighting off harmful pathogens and creating the right conditions for healthy organisms. We need our immune system to recognize and kill the pathogens that make us ill, while at the same time allowing beneficial bacteria to flourish so they too can do their job.

But when pathogens and yeast get out of control, they throw everything out of balance. It’s much more difficult for the immune system to function properly because the good bacteria are weakened by the powerful pathogens.

How Can You Re-Balance Your Gut Bacteria?

One of the most important factors in gut health is diet – after all, you are what you eat! Everything that enters your gastrointestinal tract will have an impact on your gut bacteria. Along with diet are some important supplements such as probiotics and lifestyle changes. We highly recommend testing gut function through stool testing to assess levels.


If you eat wholesome, natural foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and lean protein, you’ll reap the benefits of a healthy gut. But if you regularly eat foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat, or you take a lot of medications, your gut bacteria will be weakened – and so will your immune system.


Taking probiotics and eating/drinking fermented foods is crutial. Fermented foods include both dairy and vegetables, such as yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut and kimchi.

Avoid Rx Antibiotic Overuse

Balanced bacteria means a healthy immune system. Good health begins with a good balance of healthy bacteria. Our bodies can only function properly if the right fuel is being produced by our gut – and the right fuel is only produced if our gut bacteria is in good shape! Our gastrointestinal tract is so much more than just a place for our food to go – it’s also the place where most of our immune system does its work.

For HELP WITH AND TREATMENT to restoring the balance to your gut flora (and improving your immune system!) check out our specialized gut flora testing and balancing programs as part of our OPTIMAL HEALTH programs.

Dr. Rooks is skilled and experienced at finding and addressing the root physiological, biochemical, hormonal and neurological imbalances causing the poor health status of people today. In the current health tragedy most people find themselves in, she has found an emphasis in Metabolic disorders like weight gain, pre diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, digestive disorders and Hypothyroidism, but she works with all kinds of conditions.

Dr. Heather Rooks, DC  

PATH Integrative Health Center

Suite 3, 98 Wilmington-West Chester Pike (Rt. 202)

Chadds Ford, PA 19317         


Call today for a complimentary consultation

[email protected]


rooks ad jfm16