Finally! The Appendix Gets Recognition

Notable News – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that we don’t need our appendix and that it has no function. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand removing the appendix if someone has appendicitis (a potentially fatal inflammation of the appendix) but the appendix isn’t completely useless! Did you know that it actually plays an important role in digestive health?

Recently researchers have determined that the appendix acts as a safe storage area for good bacteria in the body—you know, the kinds that help with digestion and immune function? So after a case of diarrhea, or a bout of antibiotics, both of which wipe out populations of good bacteria, the bacteria hidden in the appendix can actually repopulate the colon and bring balance back to your digestive tract! 

It makes perfect sense, really. The appendix is a narrow tube that sits at the bottom of the first part of the large intestine (also called the cecum). A bacterial infection or antibiotics would easily bypass the appendix because of its small opening, so the beneficial bacteria inside would stay protected. But inside the appendix are still enough bacteria to repopulate the gut when needed… which is pretty important when you consider that chronic dysbiosis (or a lack of enough beneficial gut bacteria) can contribute to infection if bad bacteria reach the appendix and multiply. And what happens then? You guessed it! Appendicitis!

So take it from me, your appendix is important, and so is making sure you take probiotics every day to keep your digestive system in balance!

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