There is always plenty of well-intentioned advice to be had on strengthening the immune system – and never more so than now, as we battle the dreaded coronavirus, COVID-19. The professional – and not-so-professional – recommendations range from alternating baths and nasal irrigation to excessive vitamin consumption. However, many ‘experts’ overlook the absolute heart of the immune system: the gut. This is where over 70% of the cells that are responsible for an intact immune system are to be found.
The small intestine produces substances that fight pathogens. In the colon, meanwhile, special white blood cells known as lymphocytes recognise harmful viruses or bacteria and produce additional immune cells to join in battle if necessary.