© 2013 Victoria Bowmann, PhD |
The human immune system has two components: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system is the body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens. This system is functioning at birth. It takes several weeks for an infant to develop a working adaptive immune system. When an infectious organism challenges the immune system, it develops substances that render a person immune. This is a function of the adaptive immune system. During pregnancy, the GI tract of the fetus is sterile. At birth, newborns have a hyper-permeable gut. Infants pick up many of the species of bacteria that make up their gut flora from family members within a few weeks of birth; which can also include pathogens. However, hospitalized infants are also exposed to, and more frequently colonized by, the variety of species from the hospital environment and its staff. Once the infant develops the adaptive immune system, it starts producing antibodies. Essentially, each and every person that interacts with a newborn babe will contribute to the adaptive immune system. Our breath, the contents on our skin will be transferred to the infant and cause a slight challenge to the individual. In this way, we slowly and safely begin to develop immunity to things in our world. It is interesting to note that a nursing mother’s body adapts to the exposure of her baby and provides immune support in her milk. The small intestine has specialized lymphatic cells called Peyer patches. These bundles occur usually only in the lowest portion, near the junction of the ilium and the colon (large intestine). They are round or oval and are located in the mucous membrane lining of the intestine. While the small intestine is lined with villi, those little projections that are involved in the digestion and assimilation of nutrients, the Peyer patches look like elongated thickened areas that are free of villi. Generally there are 30 to 40 patches in each individual, however then are less prominent as one ages. One of the most successful ways to support this part of the lymphatic system is two fold: providing proper nutrients in the way of food and water as well as keeping the system supplied with a healthy microbiota, which is the bacteria of the large intestine. The microbiota is required for the development and homeostasis in healthy adult life. Changes to this balance contribute to many health disorders and diseases such as inflammatory bowel disorders (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), obesity and even frailty in aging. While it is individual, one shares a commonality with others, which brings greater diversity with age. From a natural or holistic point of view, there is a simple approach to keeping support for the lymphatic system strong and reducing the possibility of disturbance to the large intestine. Probiotics, lactobacilli and bifido-bacteria, can be introduced into the system by ingestion or rectal retention. Many are destroyed by the digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acids of the stomach when taken orally. While the rectal retention might seem intrusive to many, it can bypass all the digestive functions of the upper gastrointestinal tract and deliver the probiotics where they most belong in a very effective way. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is support and care of our digestion will have a profound affect on the working of the immune system. Gentle and deliberate actions can show favorable response to the vitality of one’s body as well as mental outlook. Ann, a 73 year old female, was referred to my office by her physician. She has been suffering with Clostridium Difficile for 3 months and was non-responsive to multiple rounds of medication. She had suffered the loss of her son to colorectal cancer two months prior and grief was deeply felt. Following a holistic protocol, within 30 days she called to say, “I feel wonderful. I don’t have to live around a bathroom. I just sent my doctor a note thanking him for referring me to you.”
About Victoria Bowmann, Ph.D
Dr. Victoria Bowmann received her PhD in homeopathy and natural medicine from Westbrook University as well as a doctorate in homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy. She is also a licensed massage and certified colon therapist in the state of Arizona. Bowmann is a regular contributor to several national publications, has been interviewed on television and radio, and has delivered numerous presentations internationally. She has personally trained physicians and colon hydrotherapist and wrote a widely used training manual on GI Health and reflorastation. Her private practice is located in Phoenix, Ariz., and Bowmann lives by the motto, "Happiness is a choice."
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