Off the back of working with a lot of chronically-low immune people this week, I wanted to revisit the link between stress, fatigue and the immune system.
Of all the people I have seen this week with recurring infections or susceptibility to ‘catching everything’, the number one thing they had in common was just how full their lives are.
Over-committing your schedule, anxiety, lack of quality sleep and poor time-management.. Outside of poor nutrition, these are the front runners for a beeline for illness.
You see, when you are under the pump, your body cannot produce as much of a substance called Secretory IgA. Secretory IgA, or sIgA, is literally the glue that holds the mucosal membranes together, and is found in high concentrations in the secretions of the gastrointestinal, genitourinary and respiratory mucosal linings.
The most recognised function of sIgA includes its role in ‘immune exclusion’ in which it prevents viruses, bacteria and other antigens adhering to and penetrating epithelial mucosa. SIgA may also inhibit inflammatory processes that damage the mucosa and preliminary evidence suggests that it may play a role in inducing an antigen specific immune response by a non-inflammatory mechanism. A sIgA deficiency may lower resistance to infection.
The gastrointestinal, genitourinary and respiratory mucosal linings represent extensive surfaces for potential assault by microbes. Secretory IgA (sIgA) is found in high concentrations in the secretions that bathe these mucosal cells where it acts as the chief antibody in the first line of immune defence. It is a very stable molecule which is resistant to degradation and therefore functions well in the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract. SIgA is thought of predominantly as a first line of defence as part of the innate immune response. bacterial toxins and enzymes, adhering to and penetrating the luminal epithelial mucosa.
Whilst there are certain nutrients which are required to build sIgA, the predominant driver for adequate levels is Adrenal Sufficiency.
If you are somebody who is chronically unwell, or finds that they are susceptible to almost every virus going round, it might be worth taking the simple saliva test to measure your sIgA levels.
For more information about this test, please contact me at the clinic.
(Example of a test result below)