Health and Wellness: Does our Appendix DO Anything?

It feels commonplace to us when we hear about someone having their appendix removed. While Appendicitis is not uncommon, most of us can live healthy and happy lives without it. It is one of the few non-essential organs that are associated with our digestive system. Our appendix is located in the lower right quadrant of our abdomen and is placed at the beginning of our long intestine, which is our Large Intestine, which is about 5 feet long and 3 inched in diameter. With this stated, if anything, what does it do, and why is it there?

For so many years’ scientists thought that the appendix had no purpose, and this was also the belief that I was raised with. Scientists assumed it was a vestigial organ, (body parts we no longer need) which comes from a belief system that was created through Darwin and the theory of evolution, (which theory has scientifically been disproven now.) They even went as far as to say it may even harm our health, like wisdom teeth.
However, as always, the consciousness of science expands and more information comes forth. And so, as with our appendix, there is more to it than we previously thought!
The Role of our Appendixes
Our appendixes actually do serve a very important function. Our appendix plays the role in the health of our microbiome which both protects and cultivates the good bacteria. We depend on armies of microbes to stay alive; a microbiome that protects us against germs breaks down the food to release energy and also produces vitamins. That is certainly not anywhere close to a vestigial organ. In fact, understanding the microbiome in humans and animals and in our environment is just as important as the human genome!
Our appendix acts as a type of safe reservoir where good bacteria can take shelter and thrive. This is important because it ensures that our beneficial good bacteria colonies remain rooted in our digestive system, especially when we have digestive issues. We also have quite a bit of lymphatic tissue in and around our appendix. This could also suggest that our appendix may play a role in the support of our immune health.

The Good Bacteria VS Bad Bacteria
The bottom line is we need good gut bacteria to maintain good health. When our Microbiomes are weak and unstable the bad bacteria can take hold quite easily. This can cause our immune systems to become overactive which leads to harmful inflammatory conditions such as Celiac disease, Cholera, Gastroenteritis, Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, Dysentery and of course, Appendicitis.
5% of people will have appendix issues in their lifetime and it is also the number one most common general surgical emergency of removing the appendix in the U.S. Our gut bacteria are extremely important for many aspects of health. Many studies have now shown that disrupted microbiota can lead to numerous chronic diseases.
Maintaining Healthy Microbiota
The best way to maintain a healthy microbiota is to eat Polyphenols, which are plant compounds such as whole foods mainly from plant sources like fruits, veggies, legumes, beans, and whole grains, and stay away from processed sugars, and especially artificial sweeteners as they have negative effects on blood sugar levels. Eating less meat is also a suggestion.
While you can live without your appendix, it does provide a valuable service to your body. No matter what’s going on in your digestive tract, our appendix’s house our microbiome, ensuring that populations will stay balanced and abundant; ready for use when needed.
For questions or comments please contact me at Blessing.