“The immune system’s main function is to manage our relationships with our resident microbes. It’s more about balance and good management than defence and destruction.” Ed Young from I Contain Multitudes.
The gut frontier is where immune cells interact with bacterial cells and decide whether they are beneficial and leave them in peace or whether they are potentially pathogenic and require elimination.
This ‘training’ starts at birth and much research is emerging showing how important this exchange is for the development of a well calibrated immune system.
Immune cells need to distinguish bacterial friend from foe and in the process not identify the body’s own cells incorrectly as enemies. The majority of immune cells are located in the gut as this is where the action happens!