Immunoglobulin G and the Immune System

Immunoglobulins, or antibodies, are known as the defender proteins of the immune system. Immunoglobulin G is the most abundant antibody found in the human body and one of its key roles it to defend against bacterial and viral pathogens. This molecule is absolutely essential for immune health.

Brief overview of the immune system

The immune system can be categorized into two types: innate immunity and adaptive immunity.

Innate immunity is what you’re born with and it’s the first line of defense in the immune system. Skin, enzymes, stomach acid and mucous are all key players of the innate immune system. It is non-specific, meaning it doesn’t protect against specific threats.

On the other hand, adaptive immunity is more complex. It is a type of immunity that is acquired throughout life and it targets specific threats to the body. When the threat is recognized, the body manufactures antibodies to target that threat. After the threat is eradicated, then the body “remembers” that threat for future events (a hallmark of adaptive immunity).

We can therefore define immunity as the ability of our immune systems to defend against threats (i.e. microbial, viral, etc.).

The link between gut and immune health

About 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut. In fact, research has shown that the gastrointestinal tract is the largest immune organ. There is a very important mucosal lining around this GI tract that protects the digestive system and keeps everything in “intact”. This lining is like a surveillance system. It protects against microbial and viral invasion.

This mucosal layer surrounding the gut is similar to other parts the body such as the mouth or nose that also have a mucosal lining. Research has revealed that there is a high level of communication between this mucosal layer of gut cells, the gut microbiome and the immune cells. This communication is essential to immune function as it helps immune cells respond to foreign invaders when they are present.  This specific crosstalk occurs between the gut microbiota and the immune system cells in order to promote defensive responses against pathogens and aid in proper immune system regulation.

Research has now established that the health of the gut microbiome dictates immune health with gut dysbiosis predicting an increased susceptibly to certain diseases. Therefore, gut bacteria are responsible for proper immune function. A healthy microbiome can be defined as a population of beneficial bacteria that lives in the intestines and crowds out pathogenic, inflammatory bugs in a competitive manner. This is why diagnosing leaky gut syndrome is such an important aspect of health. All the medications, chemicals and toxins, and even the Standard American Diet have impacted the microbiome for many individuals, with significant impacts on the immune system, as well.

Concentrated immunoglobulins play a role in immune modulation and they strengthen the gut-immune barrier. They play an important part in ensuring that the gut microbiome is healthy and stable.

What is the role of immunoglobulins in immunity?

Immunoglobulins are the proteins produced by the immune system. They are found in the blood and in the gut barrier lining. Again, these are some of the body’s key immune defenders. They are critical for clearing pathogenic bacteria, viruses and toxins out of the body. They recognize and bind antigens (defined as foreign substances that induce an immune response) that are present on bacteria, viruses. Immunoglobulin antibodies have antigen binding sites that allow for the trapping and binding of viruses, bacteria, fungi and toxins so that the body can recognize and destroy these invaders.

These antibodies have a high degree of specificity for invaders, which allows them to destroy the specific invaders effectively and efficiently. Immunoglobulins are also key for reducing inflammation, a hallmark effect of the immune system.

There are five immunoglobulins that are produced for immune health. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is the most abundant immunoglobulin in our bodies. It makes up about 75-80% of the immunoglobulins in our blood.

These immunoglobulins can come from bovine serum, colostrum and milk-derived sources.

Why is all of this relevant?

A novel 2018 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition revealed that previous research has indicated that bovine IgG can protect against upper respiratory tract infections through a variety of mechanisms. One major way is due to their ability to bind to human pathogens and neutralize the infection of cells. 

This specific study found that bovine IgG (like that in our Gut Repair) can bind a wide array of pathogens and allergens including viral respiratory infections.  For example, bovine IgG has been found to bind to RSV and influenza viruses (and prevent the infection of cells with these viruses).

The study proposes that this is why earlier research alluded to the benefits of raw milk consumption in the first year of life. The immunoglobulin-rich raw milk correlated with a decreased risk of upper respiratory infections.

Lastly, bovine immunoglobulins have been shown to reduce the severity of respiratory infections, another bonus.

What we recommend for the immune system:

To boost immune function and keep the gut-immune barrier healthy during these times, we recommend a good immunoglobulin support supplement, a high-dose probiotic and other key immune supplements.

Our Gut Repair powder does just that. Take 1 tablespoon per day for prevention. Take 2 tablespoons per day for acute care.

Be well.

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