The body has many mucosal tissues – the most extensive tissue system in our body. Both the lungs and gut have a mucosal lining to aid the transport of particles and to enable effective transport between the blood vascular and lymph systems and the gut. Our noses also possess mucosal linings, as do the sinuses – a fact that becomes clearly demonstrable when we have a common cold or similar infection. In the early embryo the primitive gut gives rise to lung buds that go on to form lungs and later sinuses grow from the gut derived membranes, into the bones of the face – making these lighter and providing a space for vocal resonance. This origin of the facial sinuses helps us to link sinus problems to gut problems. I have met a number of folk with “sinus problems”, who, after taking various decongestant and antibiotic prescriptions over the years, have suddenly found that excluding a particular dietary component solves the sinus problem, at last.
Common sites for cancer, in westernised countries, are also mucosal – the large intestine, breast, cervix, and prostate gland – and there may be some connection, waiting to be revealed. Papilloma virus appears to be involved with cervical cancer, Helicobacter infection is linked to some gastric cancers. The colon, or large intestine, has a very complex mix of microorganisms living within its lumen and may prove to be the most difficult place to investigate in terms of involvement of microorganisms in carcinogenesis, if any. The incidence of colonic cancers is clearly related to foods eaten and the presence, or otherwise, of atopic disease. Colonic cancer appears to be more rare among groups with little connection to modern agricultural economies.