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Gut and Immunity

by Beth Heller, MS

You may be surprised to think of your digestive system as part of your immune system, but our gut actually functions as our body’s first line of defense – eliminating bacteria and other bugs before they can infect our internal environment. When the digestive system is challenged, by such conditions as stress, illness or food sensitivity, infection and/or inflammation can result. Frequent bouts of diarrhea, constipation, intestinal bloating/cramping and heartburn can all be symptoms of an inflamed digestive tract. Chronic inflammation of the digestive tract can impair our body’s ability to break down and absorb the nutrients in the food we eat. In addition, gut inflammation may affect other organ systems, including the reproductive organs, which are in close proximity. These factors, taken together, are why we take a very close look at digestion and digestive symptoms as they relate to fertility.

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