The Body’s Six Immune Centers – Digestive/ Detoxification Center
Think before you munch. Digestion begins in the mouth with the salivary glands and wraps up in the small intestine. But it is a long, complex journey. Immune cells in the mucosa of the digestive tract in the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and gallbladder must all be well fed and functioning to keep you protected. The liver and pancreas are also digestive organs, as is the gallbladder. Even the nervous and circulatory systems interact with this immune center. Most digested molecules of food, for example, are absorbed through the small intestine. The viability of the specific cells involved in this process is essential to the next step: passage into the bloodstream and distribution to the rest of the body for storage or further chemical transformation.
The many steps in the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, water, and salts depend on how well immune cells in the eight organs of this system are working. The well-being of the immune cells in turn ensures that the hormones controlling digestion from the mouth to the pancreas and the hormones stimulating and inhibiting the appetite are in good working order.
In the liver, Phase I and Phase II enzymes defend the body against toxins. These two enzyme systems are central to your body’s ability to defend itself against bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxic chemicals. Because of the wide variety of chemical reactions these enzymes undertake, they are major players in the fight against disease and illness. Nutrition has a significant role in the activation of these enzymes, says Dr. Paul Talalay, John Jacob Abel Distinguished Service Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Laboratory for Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. According to Dr. Talalay, when Phase I enzymes are activated, they seek out toxic substances to make them water soluble and easier to usher out of the body. When Phase II enzymes are activated, they detoxify the toxins produced by Phase I enzymes, render them inert, and remove them from the body. Highly reactive molecules called free radicals are sometimes produced by this drama and can be tamed by antioxidants in your system. Many foods can tamp down oxidative damage, including cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, as well as foods high in antioxidant vitamins A and C.
Digestive Center Conditions: Acid indigestion, heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), halitosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colitis, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, constipation, ulcers, hepatitis, diverticulitis and diverticulosis
Digestive Center Super Immunity Foods: Tomatoes, broccoli, nuts and seeds, yogurt, berries, squash, apples