Better Body Clinical Nutrition


Enter Text


Monday, April 1, 2024 4:30 PM

Article by Dr. Ronda Nelson 

Intestinal Safehouse – 
One of the most interesting things about the appendix is its role in maintaining a healthy intestinal microbiome. The lymphatic tissue contained with the appendix and cecum are able to stimulate the growth of certain types of beneficial and protective gut bacteria. It appears that the appendix acts as the literal heartbeat of the intestinal microbial community, serving as a reservoir or gold mine of beneficial gut bacteria. Current research refers to the appendix as a “safe house” for healthy gut bacteria. 

In a 2012 study, researchers found that individuals whose appendix was still intact had only a 10% recurrence of Clostridium difficile (an inflammation of the colon by the bacteria Clostridium difficile) as compared to those without an appendix who were almost five times more likely to have a C. diff recurrence. This would certainly support the belief that the appendix is a repository for bacteria that can enhance intestinal immune function and help protect against gut infections. 

Common Causes – 
Inflammation of the appendix, known as appendicitis, occurs in approximately 15% of the population. Common causes can include impacted fecal material, epithelial debris, bacteria or even pinworms which block or obstruct the opening or lumen of the appendix. When this occurs, the appendix becomes inflamed or infected, requiring the need for surgical removal. 

Protecting the Protector – 
Increasing dietary intake of fiber and reducing refined carbohydrates will increase microbial population, improve the frequency of elimination, remove intestinal debris and prevent pathogens such as pinworms to live in the large intestine, taking advantage of the host. As well, enhancing the gut microbiota using fermented foods and probiotics can also have a dramatic impact on protecting the appendix from becoming dysfunctional. 

Although this organ is quite small, its role in immune health and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is significant. Especially exciting is the possible role in modulating autoimmune disorders through early education of the immune system. It is important to keep your appendix and gut microbiome in good condition by consuming plenty of fiber and reducing carbohydrate consumption. 

Jocelyne’s Note – If you have had your appendix removed, there are supporting supplements that can be recommended to support your immune system. Mention it at your next visit and we will test which products work for you.
  • Click on the subscribe button below to sign up for our monthly newsletter