Video transcript- Updated August 3-2020
I’m Dr Hagmeyer and in today’s video I’m going to cover;
- Why Secretory IgA (SIgA) testing is important for gut health
- What it means if you have Low Secretory IgA (SIgA)
- What it means if you have High Secretory IgA (SIgA)
- How treat Secretory IgA SIgA when levels they are high or low
- Natural ways to improve Secretory IgA (SIgA) levels
So What is SIgA and Why Is It So Important?
The immune system makes T cells and it makes B cells. B cells produce SIgA which acts as the first line of defense against the entry of foreign substances into the body. These foreign substances could be undigested proteins from foods you eat, bacteria, virus, parasites or molds. SIgA gives us insight into mucosal tolerance.
If you think about it, the body’s mucosal surfaces- the eyes, ears, nose, throat, sinuses, skin, vaginal tract, urinary tract and GI tract are all entry points for various disease causing pathogens.
Your body’s way of protecting these points of entry is done with the release of SIgA. SIgA attaches itself to invading bacteria, virus or other foreign substance and once attached it can trap the invader in the mucosal surfaces and from here neutralize the threat. So perhaps you had some testing done by your functional medicine doctor and your levels were Low- what exactly does that mean.
Low SIgA Levels
Low / reduced sIgA levels are by and large commonly seen in individuals with low immune system function and adrenal fatigue or exhaustion. Individuals with allergies, atopic diseases like eczema, psoriasis, asthma, chronic gut infections, Candida, food sensitivities, prolonged exposure to toxins, and autism typically have low SIgA.
I look at low SIgA levels as a sign of chronic stress in the body that has drained the immune system. A person with Low Levels of SIgA may have trouble overcoming gut problems or skin conditions, allergies and sensitivities until SIgA levels are corrected. Certain medications can cause lwo levels – including anti-inflammatories and antidepressants. It is interesting to point out that studies have shown and association between low SIgA and people suffering with depression.
It is important to understand that SIgA test doesn’t tell us the cause of the problem, it only provides clues that further investigation is needed. This is why you will need to work with a functional medicine doctor who can begin to investigate the causes behind the low SIgA.
Ok so what about High / Elevated SIgA levels?
You may be wondering about how you treat Elevated SIgA levels. When I see High levels of SIgA I start thinking that we have an activated immune response to some sort of infection, stressor or acute inflammatory response.
This could be an infection, this could toxins released into the body by gram Negative Bacteria such as LPS toxins-(which by the way are the same toxins that cause Leaky gut)
The elevated SIgA could also indicate a viral infection such as (Epstein Barr Virus or Cytomegalovirus) or some other kind of infection. Stool testing and blood testing can be helpful here.
Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s, Ulcerative colitis, Autoimmune IBS, or some sort of inflammatory response in the gut that has flared up.
How Do You Naturally Balance Your SIgA levels
The first step to balance SIgA naturally is to use an anti-inflammatory diet. This means cutting out sugar, dairy, and paying attention to your omega 3:6 ratio. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential fatty acids. When we consume too many many omega 6’s and not enough Omega 3’s we put our body in a pro-inflammatory state. An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables where we provide our body with plenty of antioxidants. For many people who truly want to get to the root cause of their inflammation, identifying food allergies and food sensitivities is a logical next step.
Bone broth can be extremely effective at helping the gut because of the impact it can have on Glutathione levels as well as because of all the great amino acids in that help to reseal and boost SIgA levels. But exercise caution if you have histamine intolerance.
It is important to provide the gut and the immune system with the key nutrients they need such as vitamin C, zinc, selenium, glutamine, choline, glycine, glutathione and essential fatty acids among other things.
Using non-denatured whey protein from grass-fed cows will boost glutamine and glutathione levels and is easily absorbed into the body.
It is highly recommended if the individual can tolerate it. If they have allergic reactions (IgE) to whey then use a hypoallergenic protein powder made up of sprouted hemp and pea protein An anti-inflammatory diet may serve as a complementary therapy for many conditions that become worse with chronic inflammation. These might include conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, asthma, eosinophilic esophagitis Crohn’s disease, Colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Diabetes, Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
Ways To Naturally Raise Your SIgA levels When Levels are Low
Always think about the ROOT cause- this varies from person to person- when treating low Secretory IgA levels, I often think of gut problems, adrenal problems, food sensitivities, parasites, vitamin deficiencies, daily stressors in a patient’s life, sleep and wake cycles and finally vitamin deficiencies- work with a doctor who understands the BIG picture- a doctor who focuses is Functional Medicine There are a few things that boost Secretory IgA levels naturally.
While you find the root cause of low SIgA, you can further boost overall immune health with compounds such as fat soluble vitamins D and K, glutathione precursors (NAC and Glycine), direct supplementation with liposomal glutathione, omega 3 essential fatty acids. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to improve low SIgA levels.
#1 Pure Bovine Colostrum like that found in Immuno G PRP is loaded with antibodies that support both High and Low SIgA levels. ImmunoG PRP™ is a pure bovine colostrum and is collected within the first 16 hours after birthing. It is a natural whole food that provides a rich source of IgG and PRPs (Proline-Rich Polypeptides). Fermented dairy from 100% grass-fed cows is loaded with acidophilus, bacillus and saccharomyces boulardii species of probiotics that all help to stimulate SIgA levels.
Key Benefits of ImmunoG PRP™:
- 2,000 mg of IgG (non-serum derived) per Serving
- High Levels of PRPs Support Enhanced Immune Function*
- Natural Source of IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, IgM*
- Helps Support the Immune System*
- Helps Accelerate Healing of all Body Tissue*
- Helps Increase Bone and Lean Muscle Mass*
- Helps Support Healthy Cognitive Function*
- Quickly Modulates/Balances the Body’s Cytokine Panel*
It also supplies protein, immune factors, growth factors, vitamins and minerals to ensure health and vitality naturally.*
Numerous scientific studies have shown that colostrum supports the human immune and cytokine systems.* Bovine colostrum is actually 40 times richer in immune factors than human colostrum and is biologically transferable to humans.*
#2 Beta Glucans- like the ones found in ImmunoMed 3-6. Beta Glucans have the ability to activate the immune system. ImmunoMed 3-6™ is a pure, high potency beta glucan, a gluco polysaccharide derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Baker’s yeast) and known as beta 1,3/1,6 glucan.* It has been shown to be a powerful immune modulator in numerous clinical trials.* In the body, it is ingested primarily through macrophage and dendritic immune cells.* It binds with specific receptors (CR3) on neutrophils, the most abundant immune cell in the body.
ImmunoMed 3-6™ is refined by a proprietary method consisting of yeast fermentation, hydrolysis of yeast walls and centrifuge collection to remove impurities.*
#3 on my list of ways to improve SIgA levels is with the use of soil based probiotics or spore forming probiotics. In the research I have done, I’ve found these spore forming soil based probiotics impart numerous benefits.
How Spore Forming/ Soil based Probiotics help your Gut
Benefits of Bacillus Coagulans (B. Coagulans):
1. Helps the good bacteria successfully colonize in your gut
2. Potent immune stimulator
3. Reduces oxidative stress in the gut mucosa and has
4. Long history of studied use in IBS, Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis
5. Reduces bloating and intestinal gas-
Remember prolonged bloating keeps the IC valve open and this allows for bacteria in large intestines to migrate into the small intestines.
Bacillus coagulans along with lacto and bifido species produces lactic acid, which has been shown to help protect the gut and boost immune resistance to viruses.
It has also been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
The other spore forming probiotic strain that I like to see is
Bacillus Subtilis (B. Subtilis)
1. Supports gut repair by increasing secretory IgA and improves N-Butyrate levels
2. Produces over 12 different kinds of antibiotics
3. Ferments Vitamin K in your gut
4. Has a positive impact on inflammatory and autoimmune markers
You can see based on the studies of these soil based probiotic- why I am so excited about them!
How Can I Naturally lower SIgA?
What do you do if you have high levels or Elevated SIgA or testing?. Here again we want to think about root cause. We need to investigate. High Secretory IgA is a sign of an Inflammation, infection or irritant and the immune system is running on high. Find the irritant! This is going to vary from person to person. From a dietary standpoint you still want to follow an anti-inflammatory diet that includes things like bone broth, fermented foods (unless you have histamine intolerance or MCAS), Colostrum, and elimination of immune system antagonizing foods.
If you also have SIBO its important to start a low FODMAP diet, low histamine, or AI Paleo protocol (contact our office for help). In addition to these dietary changes, I also suggest that you follow some sort of 4R protocol- Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate and gut Repair protocol or some variation. If you need help start here.
Point to Remember
1. SIgA- is a marker indicating the first line of mucosal integrity has been breached.
2. While it is not specific to any particular cause- it indicates that you have an immune system issue that you need to deal with. Further investigation is warranted.
3. Eliminating the food sensitivity/mold sensitivity, the cause of inflammation, or the infection should help normalize your SIgA levels-
4. SIgA testing along with more comprehensive testing should be done to rule in or out some of the potential offenders. (Infections, Food allergies, Food sensitivities, Mold, Altered Cortisol levels to name a few)
5. Correcting these levels can take time and consistency. 6-12 months or longer depending on the case.