Keeping your immune system strong when you have type 2 diabetes: go with your gut
How the novel strains in Pendulum Glucose Control contribute to a healthy immune system.It’s been said that the gut acts as a second brain. Not one that contemplates philosophy or achieves higher thinking, but one that influences our immune system, our fight-or-flight syndrome and, of course, our very complex digestive system.
It’s no wonder that the trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms living primarily in our digestive tract, appropriately called a microbiome, play such a role in our overall health. Each person has a unique gut microbiome, similar to a fingerprint. Diet, lifestyle, environment, and stress all influence the microorganisms that live in our gut. The good news is that you can proactively do things to improve your immune system through your gut microbiome!
The link between the gut microbiome and the immune system
The gut microbiome aids in building a strong and healthy immune system. Aging, high stress, a sub-optimal diet, and other factors can weaken the gut, and ultimately the immune system.
Research has shown diet and the gut microbiome help regulate how our immune cells behave. Butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid in your gut, signals to the immune system when immune defenses need to ramp up. When there is not enough butyrate production in the microbiome, the immune system is compromised.
Additionally, your gut lining also affects your immune system. A strong gut lining is vital to ensure that small molecules in the gut don't “leak” across the gut lining into the bloodstream, which can cause heightened inflammation and compromise your immune response.
The connection between our gut microbiome and our immune system has received increased attention lately with the COVID-19 pandemic. This disease, caused by a new type of coronavirus, primarily affects the respiratory system. However, our gut microbiome may play a key role in how our body — and ultimately our immune system — reacts to the disease.
For people with type 2 diabetes, a healthy immune system is especially important during this time.
Recently, the World Health Organization stated that people with diabetes and related health complications are among those most vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19, along with people who are elderly. Those who do not manage their diabetes well and experience fluctuating blood sugar levels have a harder time fighting off viral infections, including COVID-19. In addition, viruses can cause an increase in inflammation in those with diabetes, which can lead to more complications.
Important ways to protect yourself from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, include washing your hands frequently, staying at home and practicing physical distancing, and avoiding touching your face. (If you have symptoms, such as coughing, fever or difficulty breathing, call your doctor immediately.)But many people don’t know it’s also important that those with type 2 diabetes be vigilant about managing their disease, and paying attention to gut health can help.
Ways to strengthen your gut microbiome
The gut microbiome helps regulate glucose levels, which is crucial to people with type 2 diabetes. You can help strengthen your gut microbiome in the following ways:
- Stick to a healthy diet
To improve your diet, consider eating more fiber, fruits and vegetables, and less sugar and artificial sweeteners. This could allow more beneficial bacteria to flourish in your gut. A food diary could be helpful to prevent mindless eating and increase your consumption of healthy foods and beverages.
- Get ample sleep
How much you sleep may also play a role in your gut and immune health. Cytokines are a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation. These proteins are produced and released while you sleep. Poor sleep habits can lower the amount of cytokines produced, which reduces your body’s ability to respond to pathogens, like the flu and other diseases.
To link the two together, studies have found a relationship between sleep, the gut microbiome, and the immune system. Sleep deprivation can influence the delicate balance of microbiota in the gut. Cytokines may facilitate a critical interaction between sleep physiology and gut microbiome composition.
- Maintain your physical and mental well-being
Exercise and reducing stress are other easy ways to improve gut health. During this troubling time, increased stress, lack of exercise, and poor sleep and eating habits are not uncommon. But reduced mental and physical health caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can also play a role in lowering your immunity. It’s also no surprise that loneliness, a potential result of physical distancing required to prevent COVID-19 transmission, can also result in psychological stress. These issues can hurt the body’s ability to fight infection. Meditation, yoga, and walking can lower stress. Keep in touch with friends and loved ones through video or phone calls.
- Use probiotics
Several studies have shown probiotics can alter the microbiota, especially in people who have underlying conditions and a weakened gut. Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, which provide a specific health benefit when consumed. They can also help support your metabolism.
These supplements can be helpful for people with certain medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes.
Medical Probiotics, such as Pendulum Glucose Control (PGC), can also help improve gut health. PGC is designed specifically for the dietary management of type 2 diabetes and has been shown to help manage healthy A1C levels and blood sugar spikes. Studies have also revealed that it can restore the body's natural ability to produce butyrate, which metabolizes fiber.
Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid critical to digestive health, a healthy metabolism and healthy blood glucose levels. Over 5,000 research studies have shown that butyrate plays several important roles in the gut. It’s a major fuel source for cells lining the large intestine and is involved in improving immunity and reducing inflammation. Butyrate also plays a role in stimulating GLP-1 (a hormone produced by the gut) secretion, which helps maintain a healthy balance between insulin and glucose levels.PGC combines novel strains of probiotics (beneficial bacteria) along with a prebiotic (food to fuel the bacteria). By pairing targeted strains of beneficial bacteria together, including Akkermansia muciniphila and Clostridium beijerinckii, among others, along with a prebiotic made from chicory inulin, the gut gets the good bacteria and growth it needs to strengthen the body’s immunity. And having a healthy immune system is not only beneficial to you for this current moment in history but also for your future health.