Your appendix is a slimy sac that hangs between your small and large intestines. It has long been thought of as a worthless evolutionary artifact, good for nothing except a potentially lethal case of inflammation. But now researchers suggest that your appendix is a lot more than a useless remnant.
Your appendix is a storehouse for good bacteria that may be needed to repopulate the gut after a case of diarrhea. Past studies have also found the appendix can help manufacture, direct and train white blood cells.
Appendicitis, (inflamed appendix) can be fatal. According to the CDC, over 320,000 people are hospitalized each year, and up to 400 Americans die due to appendicitis.
Until recently, the appendix was believed to be an organ that served no purpose in your body, and for this reason alone, surgeons have routinely removed them. Recent research has discovered that this is not true.
As common sense dictates, there is a purpose for every organ in your body, even the ones that modern medicine can’t figure out, and your appendix is one of them.
If the good bacteria in your colon dies, which could happen as a result of cholera or dysentery for instance, it appears your appendix steps up to help recolonize your gut with good bacteria.
Modern society has become so vigilant against bacteria that many forget a very important point, bacteria in your body actually outnumber your cells by about ten to one and without them you would die.
For example, the friendly bacteria that reside in your gut have a number of very important functions, such as:
Digesting and absorbing certain carbohydrates. Without good gut bacteria, your body cannot absorb certain undigested starches, fiber, and sugars. The friendly bacteria in your digestive tract convert these carbohydrates into primary sources of important energy and nutrients.
Bacteria produce vitamins, absorb minerals and eliminate toxins. Probiotics help in the production of both vitamin K and B vitamins, and promote mineral absorption. They also aid in metabolism and the breakdown of toxins.
Friendly bacteria compete with the bad guys for room and board and help to keep bad bacteria under control. A deficiency of good bacteria can lead to bad bacteria getting out of control.
The good bacteria tell your body how much nutrition they need and your body responds by supplying just that much and no more. This results in excess bad bacteria being starved out. The helpful bacteria also produce a substance that kills harmful microbes.
Friendly bacteria train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately. This important function prevents your immune system from overreacting to non-harmful antigens, which is the genesis of or cause of allergies.
Beneficial bacteria have a lifelong, powerful effect on your gut’s immune system and your systemic immune system as well. These bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.
It’s also important to remember that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to maintain optimal health. A robust immune system is your number one defense system against disease.
Researchers have speculated that despite the beneficial influence of the appendix, most people living in the modern world don’t need it because you can easily repopulate the good bacteria in your gut.
I disagree with this assessment because your good bacteria is constantly being assaulted by antibiotics, chlorinated water, birth control pills, stress, sugar, and a host of other environmental factors. Gastrointestinal problems are in fact a very common concern for a majority of Americans.
Ideally, your gut should contain a ratio of 85 percent good bacteria to 15 percent non-beneficial bacteria, but the factors I listed above have actually caused this ratio to reverse in many people.
This is why I often recommend that you use a high-quality probiotic as an “insurance policy” to make sure your body remains balanced with good strains of bacteria, particularly if you don’t lead a perfectly healthy lifestyle.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that this is still just the beginning as far as what scientists know about the appendix. It may turn out to have other far-reaching but important effects on your body function than what is currently known.
After all, scientists have now discovered that more than 70 percent of all primate and rodent groups contain certain species with an appendix. If its purpose was so inconsequential, why would so many different species have it?
So far, at least one negative side effect of having your appendix removed (called an appendectomy) has been uncovered; an increased risk of Crohn’s disease. So please, don’t fall for the advice to have your appendix removed simply because “it has no purpose.”
Naturally, there are times when an appendectomy is warranted. If your appendix becomes infected or inflamed, failing to remove it could be fatal.
Just don’t agree to have your appendix removed for no other reason than you’re having an unrelated abdominal surgery performed, which happens more frequently than you might think.
Major warning signs that your appendix might be a problem include:
You have absolutely no appetite, even for your most favorite foods.
You have pain that started around your belly button and has moved to your lower right abdominal area.
You have pain when jumping up and down. First, jump up and down gently. If there is no pain, try jumping higher. This will move your peritoneal cavity and if it is irritated with an inflamed appendix, the movement will cause considerable pain.
If you have all of the above symptoms you should be evaluated at your nearest emergency room.
If you are a woman, you may benefit from receiving a CT scan or ultrasound prior to having an appendectomy. A study published in the journal Radiology found that in women who had this done prior to surgery, a healthy appendix was removed 7 percent of the time, compared with48 percent of the time when no scan was done.
A sensible diet can prevent most problems that you may experience with your appendix. Biting fingernails and popcorn shells are two of the most common causes of inflamed appendix. ShopFreeMart Pure Copper Concentrate, Pure Mag Concentrate, Siaga and Vitalize support a healthy appendix.
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