The Vital Role of Mucous Membranes in keeping you healthy
Your immune system is only as healthy as your permeable membranes in all their varieties. The ones who create a physical and chemical barrier between you and the outside world are the Mucosal Linings and Cutaneous Lining or skin. The other two types of membrane are Serous and Synovial and when they're healthy, your body moves without internal pain or impingement. All of these membranes bear the tremendous task of keeping the outside world out of your bloodstream and keeping your inner cosmos "in". They also cradle and hold organs in place, and lubricate all your moving parts to keep you comfortable in motion everyday. When they're healthy and happy, they keep everything running smoothly... including your digestion, elimination and all your moveable joints.
Why they matter
In addition to all the important functions listed above, these semi-permeable membranes are your frontline of defense against invaders in the food, air and water you take into your body. They create a physical barrier of protection to your bloodstream where invaders would like to launch and permeate the entire body, where they can infect target organs anywhere your bloodstream flows.
Where are they?
Mucous membranes or "mucosa," line the inside of cavities that open directly to the outside world. They line the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, reproductive tracts and the urinary tract. The outer or epithelial layer of the membrane is an important defense mechanism that prevents the entry of pathogens and microbes into the body. The cells are tightly packed together, so fluid cannot leak out through the epithelial layer.
Specialized cells secrete mucous to keep the membrane moist. Mucus also traps dust particles and pathogens in the respiratory, or lung passage ways where immune cells mark them for extermination. Mucus also lubricates food as it travels through the intestinal tract. Got the idea?
Where are mucous membranes found?
The Permeable Parts of You
Love your guts
The largest mucous membrane extends the entire surface area of the gastrointestinal tract. Women have slightly larger surface area in their intestines than men, but either is said to cover half a tennis court in surface area if stretched out completely flat. That’s a pretty huge track of land inside you with potential for imbalance, inflammation and variation in permeability to occur, and that’s just the gut. Alterations in the permeability of this membrane produce food allergies when partially digested food particles enter the bloodstream half digested.
Under your skin
The skin covering the outside of your body is the second largest semipermeable membrane and also serves as a filter to allow skin to breathe but keep all the essential parts of you in, and larger particles from the outside world like pet dander, synthetic fabric fibers and surface microbes out. The fact that all of these membranes are semipermeable means they’re designed to allow some nutrients to pass, while locking other elements out.
You can see that if the spaces between cells in any filtering membrane become abnormally large, then larger particles will be permitted to enter and allergy to the environment (animals, pollens, fabrics, etc) develops.
Upper and Lower Respiratory Tracts
The next permeable membrane extends through the upper and lower respiratory systems including ears, nose and throat and the lower respiratory tract from the neck down. Breaches in the permeability of this membrane bring about respiratory allergies like hay fever and asthma.
Urinary and Reproductive Tracts
You can probably begin to name symptoms yourself for the inflammation created by mucous membrane imbalance in the urinary tract (UTI’s, cystitis) reproductive tract as well. Imagine all the pain and discomfort that could and would result from inflaming one or more of these vital barrier membranes? From frequent urination, stomachaches, burping and bloating, to achy joints, itchy skin, asthma, chronic sinus congestion ...and then all the organs in the body that are also lined with semipermeable "Serous" membrane.
We could generate 100 symptoms right now that each stem from an inflamed inner lining of...You! Read, List of symptoms created when permeable membranes are compromised.
Thank your mucous membranes today
So hug yourself right now and thank your membranes for doing what they do everyday to keep you well. You'd be in a world of hurt without them! And MAYBE, just maybe you're in a world of hurt right now WITH them...because they've lost their protective population of friendly organisms and are under assault by some non-native microbiota.
If that sounds like you, you're in the RIGHT place my friend. Our company exists because we at Tumtree have been where you are! We've each had our own walk with immune compromise. And we know how to make it right for those membranes that are inflamed and calling for your help and attention.
For a list of symptoms associated with inflamed mucousal linings of the body read