In addition to absorbing food and excreting indigestible leftovers, our intestines are also an important part of our immune system. Around 80% of the immune cells are located within our intestines. There is a lifelong and intense symbiosis between our organism and its bacterial inhabitants. However, this can be harmed by poor nutrition, constant stress, lack of sleep, and the intake of medication. As a result, the natural balance between “good” and “bad” intestinal bacteria can get out of control. Ultimately, our intestinal barrier and intestinal mucosa become permeable to toxins, allergens, and foreign germs – and the immune defence is weakened.
Certain intestinal bacteria (i.e., bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) produce butyrate (a.k.a. butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid) in the large intestines and is the main source of energy for our intestinal epithelium. If it is well supplied, it can perform its many functions. These include the targeted absorption of nutrients and the defence against toxins and pathogens. If butyric acid levels drop, changes occur in the intestinal mucosa – and the intestinal barrier is also weakened.