Tongue-to-Bum Part 6: Intestinal Immune System – Your Personal Secret Service - BodyMind Institute

Tongue-to-Bum Part 6: Intestinal Immune System – Your Personal Secret Service

By Dr. Terry Willard | Physiology

Jun 12

Average Reading Time: 6 min 57 sec

In previous blogs we saw our adventurous journey taking us from perceiving food and drink in our mind's eye, mindful eating (Part 1, Part 2), chewing our food in the mouth (Part 3), swallowing it to enter the stomach (Part 4). In the last blog, we saw the chyme entering the small intestine, a very exciting part of the journey (Part 5).

It is wonderful to see all the activity in this stalactite filled environment. Then all of a sudden you see a small figure with a dark cloak and a pointed hood – suspiciously resembling the villi stalactites of the cavernous small intestinal tunnel. He magically enters into your coach on the subway so you can have a conversation with him. He comes right up to you, standing before you; he bends forward into a deep bow.

“Hello Your Majesty. I am a member of the IIS. Your Intestinal Immune System. We are the extremely capable and highly trained system that works to lower and keep out bad organisms and unfriendly insults that can constantly blast at you.

Dr. Terry asked us to meet with you to discuss our role in your body and the potential security threats that you may inadvertently allow to compromise the integrity of your system. You were initially under the impression that you only had to deal with the challenges and obstacles of this less desirable path because you did not chew properly.

This is only partly true. There are many more habits that often creep in that make our job harder. We are up for the task, but if you could follow a few guidelines, it would make our job much easier and we can concentrate on making you feel better and enjoy the Majestic life you deserve.

This is a list of things that can slow down our process:

  • Eating too much processed foods, high in sugar, unhealthy fats, preservatives, coloring agents and additives. 
  • Eating a diet too low in fibers and healthy nutrients. 
  • Exposing yourself to food allergens, or other offensive dietary components. 
  • Allowing stress of a chronic nature in your life.
  • Not exercising enough, or even when you exercise too much. 
  • Acquiring Fungal (yeast), viral, or bacterial infections.
  • Getting food poisoning or foodborne illnesses. 
  • When you are overwhelmed by endotoxins produced by yeast, bacteria, etc. 
  • Having an imbalance in other systems in the body such as thyroid issues. 
  • Either too much, or too little, hydration of water. 
  • Brain inflammation. 
  • Allowing yourself to be excessively exposed to pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, bizarre chemicals such as xenoestrogens, and the like.

We realize that some of these are unavoidable, but keeping them to a minimum will really help us make you live longer with a strong, prosperous disposition. When you consider the total load of all of these stressors in modern life, it is no wonder so many people have digestive issues.

By taking care of us, your Intestinal Immune System, and not obstructing us in the course of our duties you have one of the best ways to assure healthy digestion and to create long-term health for your whole body.

How can you take care of us and give us the best working environment possible? I will gift you with a few tips that can help:

  • Protect your intestinal lining with choline (egg yolks), beta-carotene and/or vitamin A (dark green, yellow, orange vegetables; fruits; egg yolks), Vitamin C (citrus fruits), zinc (pumpkin or other squash seeds, clams, free range pasture raised chicken and some fish), fiber (fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds).
  • Eat adequate protein – but not too much. 
  • Maintain optimal stomach acids. 
  • Balance your fats (usually meaning more omega 3 from cold water fish or algae), avocados, olive oil, coconut butter, olives, nuts and seeds. 
  • Avoid food allergens and intolerances, such as wheat, dairy, corn, and soy. 
  • Reduce your toxic load, by eating organic food when possible and do a detox diet 2 – 4 times a year. 
  • Maintain a healthy diet. 
  • Reduce stress. 
  • Get enough good quality sleep. 
  • Suitable vitamin levels, especially vitamin A, to repair the mucus lining of the digestive tract.
  • Adequate glutamine and our favorite bone soup to help with connective tissue. 
  • Keep antibiotic and corticosteroids use to a minimum.

Your body has invested heavily in our secret service, with approximately 70% of the immune system residing in the intestines. I believe that I am not speaking out of place when I say that this only makes sense because the gut lining comes into contact with far more foreign organisms and molecules then any other part of the body.

When the secret service that is the Intestinal Immune System is functioning well, we sort through hundreds of trillions of molecules, microbes, and toxins, allowing important nutrients, phytonutrients, proteins, and fats into your body, while keeping invaders at bay or destroying them completely.

We do this 24/7 without complaint, as long as you enable us to do so without weighing down and obstructing our operations with the things that I mentioned. Remember, your health is dependent on your IIS, we are your personal security team.

It has been an honor to speak with you, I look forward to continue serving you. I will now return you to the journey that Dr. Terry is guiding you through.

You look around this shag carpeted cave, realizing that you never knew how important your secret service was. Up to now you have just taken it for granted and you vow to make a concerted effort to help out your secret service. You look up and see another gateway – The ileocecal sphincter.

You then see a small army of hooded figures like the one that was just speaking to you. You raise your hand in salute, and they respond in kind. You then proceed through the gateway. Once you do, you find yourself in the midst of a majestic and magnificent forest.

You can tell that you are still in some sort of tunnel, but it is completely different from the one that you just left. It is so much bigger! And instead of stalactites there are trees! Everything is so beautiful and an overwhelming feeling of harmony washes over you.

Then you see an elf-like creature springs out from behind one of the incredible trees. She too ends up in front of you and gracefully performs a deep and elegant bow in front of you.

“Greetings Your Highness, I belong to a group of defender and helper elves, and it would be my greatest honor if I could act as your guide through this Kingdom, the Large Intestine, and introduce you to its inhabitants – the Colony of the Colon.

To be continued in our next Blog . . .

Article by Dr. Terry Willard, Faculty Member here at the BodyMind Institute
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Wild Rose College of Natural Healing Website:

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About the Author

For over forty years, Terry Willard, Cl.H., Ph.D., has studied the medicinal properties of plants. He is recognized as one of North America’s leading Clinical Herbalists. He appears regularly in the print and electronic media as an exponent of responsible herbal use. He is the past-president of the Canadian Association of Herbal Practitioners, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild and in the Canadian Health Food Association’s Hall of Fame. Dr. Willard is the author of twelve books on the subject of Herbs including the pivotal Wild Rose Herbal Series – a series of three textbooks written to educate herbalists. Two of his books, Mind-Body Harmony and Dr. Willard Flower Essence: Emotional Alchemy and Spiritual Evolution, have been particularly popular with the general public.


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