Our gut is lined numerous bacteria, known as the gut microbiome. These bacteria play a crucial role in maintaining the health of the gut. Besides, keeping digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, constipation, bloating, and gas at bay, the gut microbiota helps boost immunity.
This beg a critical question though. How does the immune system allow bacteria in the gut? The bacteria that inhibit your gut are friendly by nature. Nonetheless, these are foreign agents and the immune system allows them to stay. Exactly how this relationship unfolds has remained a question for researchers until now when investigations are showing vitamin A as the answer.
The Gut Microbiome – What You Need To Know?
The gastrointestinal tract is home to several bacteria. Of these, there are both harmful bacteria as well as friendly ones. Your gut is healthy as long as the population of these good bacteria exceeds the number of the bad bacteria.
Poor eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, and other such factors contribute to the disturbance in the gut health as this tips the population in favor of the harmful bacteria. This is the reason why eating fiber and probiotics are encouraged.
Both of these ingredients increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. Once the population of the microbiome is healthy, your gut health will be at its best. As a result, digestive issues such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and other health concerns stay at arm’s length.
Moreover, these bacteria enhance the health of the immune system too. The exact way how this happens is not clear. However, researchers have claimed that the trillions of bacteria present in the gut help to control how your body responds to illness.
Vitamin A – The Answer To The Gut-Immune Health Relationship
Recent research headed by Shipra Vaishnava, an assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Brown University in Providence, RI, identified vitamin A as the answer.
The researchers learned that the moderate levels of vitamin A in the intestine prevents the immune system from becoming overactive. Such a finding is significant for helping with autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease.
The study took a mouse model to understand this matter. The researchers learned that the gut bacteria managed the host’s immune response with the help of a protein, which activates vitamin A in the gastrointestinal tract.
This protein is the retinol dehydrogenase 7 (Rdh 7). It gets its name from its function of transforming vitamin A to retinoic acid, which is the active form of vitamin A.
The findings of this study are crucial as they have learned that vitamin A is the key that explains the relationship between immune health and the gut health. This finding is particularly useful for patients with autoimmune disorders.
This is why, the lead of the study, Vaishnava, said, “This research could be critical in determining therapies in the case of autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as vitamin A deficiency.”