The human digestive track has natural fungi living in it. It’s not entirely a bad thing. The fungus is beneficial unless it grows out of control. So, how does the immune system keep stomach fungus in check?
Natural Fungus in Your Body
Candida, a form of yeast, is a fungus that is already living in your body. More specifically, a small amount is in your intestines and mouth. Those small amounts help your body with nutritional absorption and digestion. However, a candida overgrowth can lead to infection and other serious medical complications.
Other good bacteria and fungi live in your body as well. When they are balanced, they work to control your metabolism and food digestions. This microbiome also has a close relationship with your immune system.
Microbes and The Immune System
The immune system keeps the microbe population in check. And, your immune cells make sure that the microbiome doesn’t grow out of control and become overpopulated. However, when the immune system fails at doing this it can lead to serious complications.
One of those complications is IBD, or irritable bowel disease. Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis may affect 3 million Americans. These are both forms of IBD.
When a special type of white blood cell, CX3CR1+ phagocytes, is working correctly and monitoring your gut population it engulfs and digests other cells. This is how it keeps the population in check. However, researchers have found that if the gut doesn’t have the necessary CX3CR+1 phagocytes, the host is much more susceptible to intestinal disease.
These findings of how the immune system keep stomach fungus in check may give doctor’s additional treatment options for people who suffer from IBD. And, that a patient may benefit from antifungal therapy. This therapy had not been a consideration in the past as possible treatments for IBD.