The body’s immune system makes various antibodies. Antibodies are cells that help to counter unwanted responses in the body or unwanted organisms. They help to clean the body up and keep the body healthy and balanced.
There are many different types of antibodies. For example, there are antibodies found in the bloodstream, breast milk, tears, and saliva.
The body’s mucous membranes produce secretory IgA antibodies. Mucous membranes are found in areas of the body that produce mucus. For example, the ear, nose, and throat have mucous membranes and contain a lot of secretory IgA. The whole digestive tract is lined with a mucous membrane and contains significant amounts of secretory IgA. Secretory IgA helps to “hold” onto foreign or pathogenic molecules that are in the mucous membrane and transport the particles out of the body.
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Don’t confuse secretory IgA with the IgA you can measure on a blood test.
If you have very low secretory IgA, you need to investigate further. That’s quite a concern because there’s a drain on the immune system in that case. You could have a problem with Candida or bacteria. A food allergy may also decrease secretory IgA levels. Healthy people will have a level of 130 to 170 micrograms per deciliter. I’ve seen some secretory IgA levels on stool testing be extremely low or even barely detectable. Low secretory IgA is often found in conjunction with leaky gut syndrome. I’ve also seen levels as high as 2500, indicating a very powerful inflammatory response in the body.
If your levels are low, I would suggest measuring secretory IgA every six or twelve months so you can monitor progress over time.
There are several ways to increase IgA levels. Probiotics are vital to increasing IgA levels. Digestive enzymes are also worth considering. Eating probiotics foods can also help improve your secretory IgA levels.
If you have very high secretory IgA, I recommend more extensive stool testing to determine if you have any inflammatory markers. If you do, it could indicate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or polyps. Also, look for mucus or blood in the stool as these are other symptoms of IBD.