As a functional medicine specialist, my practicing philosophy is that I must examine the whole person and try to find the root causes of chronic ailments. Often, this course of investigation leads me to the gut. In fact, the gut is being increasingly connected with issues as diverse as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis.
If this surprises you, you're not alone. But it turns out that around 70 percent of the immune system lives in the gut and gut bacteria help your immune system’s T cells develop—teaching them the difference between a foreign substance and the body’s own tissues. This is an extremely important process that determines how and what your immune system responds to, and the success of this critical process is determined, in part, by the health of your gut. When there’s a mistake in the process, for instance, if there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, it can lead your body’s immune system to start attacking your own cells, the hallmark of autoimmune disorders.