How do we tend the garden of our intestinal bugs so they stay healthy and thus so do we? Oxford University researchers have proposed a clever answer. They say that Mother Nature made good bacteria “sticky”. This way they stick together deep inside your intestinal tract, and don’t wander across the gut wall or “get lost”.

How does that happen? The immune system lives inside the gut “wall”. The gut immune system produces highly adhesive molecules. These are called immunoglobulins (specifically ‘IgA’). These are antibodies that coat the bacteria inside your gut and in essence, purposely make the good gut bacteria sticky.

I remember three decades ago taking a seminar from Sydney Baker MD. Dr. Baker said that the IgA antibodies actually “lick” the bacteria. And coat it. He called this coating “antiseptic paint”.

This licking process “informs” the immune system if what was licked was “good” or “bad” for your body. If it’s recognized as bad, the immune system mounts an attack. If it’s good, the bacteria get sticky from the licking process and healthfully hang together without being attacked.

I wrote about this in Healthy Digestion the Natural Way and now the upcoming Digestive Freedom.

We have vast communities of bacteria that live in every nook and cranny in our bodies, especially throughout our intestinal tract.

These bacteria are multi-taskers. They help digest food, boost our immune system to develop and maintain itself, produce special vitamins and protect us from pathogenic (nasty) bacteria. We need our good gut bugs.

Good gut bugs are diverse sets of beneficial bacterial species that improve our health and well-being. In contrast, bad gut bugs can ruin our health.

Dysbiosis, when you have more bad gut bacteria than good, has been show to trigger chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis (now considered a form of inflammatory bowel disease) and even increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety.

Often people with chronic gut issues, or chronic unwellness, are lacking several players in the necessary gut licking process.

As a practitioner, I can use herbs, specific nutraceuticals, digestive enzymes and sometimes detoxes, to reboot the licking process. Once in a while it also takes meds.

Often people, who felt they needed acid blockers to get rid of pain, now achieve less gut distress, not by blocking essential digestive juices but rather by protocols like these below.

Five steps to reboot IgA gut licking and good gut bugs:
1. DGL licorice to help heal the goblet cells that make mucus
2. Optimal amounts of vitamins A and B1 help heal boost antibody IgA production.
3. A healthy parasympathetic “tone” to the gut is dependent on various hormones, like oxytocin and a special form of estrogen (called estrogen receptor beta), which is up regulated by other hormones, nutrients and foods.
4. Identifying “reactive” foods and avoiding, at least for a while.
5. Identifying enzyme insufficiencies and replacing.

By using mucus, IgA, hormones and nutrients (all which lean on a good diet and adequate digestive enzymes to digest that diet) helps keep beneficial bacteria sticking and clumping together in connecting communities deep inside you. This helps keep YOU all the BEST that YOU can be!

Kirstie McLoughlin, Jonas Schluter, Seth Rakoff-Nahoum, Adrian L. Smith, Kevin R. Foster. Host Selection of Microbiota via Differential Adhesion. Cell Host & Microbe, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.02.021