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The Importance of the Appendix


Why would nature give us (and retain) an organ that has no purpose? That was the question I asked myself when writing my book on the microbiome and health: The World Within. It seems illogical that something as intelligent as the body would retain a vestigial or redundant organ as modern medicine would tell you. Recent research on comparing different species' morphology has “found that species with an appendix have higher average concentrations of lymphoid (immune) tissue in the caecum. This finding suggests that the appendix may play an important role as a secondary immune organ.”[i] Indeed, it may serve as a reservoir for beneficial gut bacteria and removal would therefore be potentially problematic as it would reduce our capacity to keep our gut microbiome (the community of micro-organisms) balanced. This exciting new research is based on a comparison of different species and is not related to humans alone, but it does have implications for avoiding surgical removal in the future, if this discovery is supported by human studies.


Keeping yourself informed and your gut healthy (with a diverse gut flora) should help minimise problems and hopefully surgical removal should become something belonging to medical history. Ways to do this include:

  • reducing stress

  • exercising moderately to keep the gut moving

  • getting enough sleep

  • eating plenty of pre-biotic fibre and live bacteria (yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc)

p.s. there could be a similar fate awaiting gall bladder surgery – also not necessary if fat digestion is not compromised.


Natural medicine regards the body as intelligent and healing to be about removing whatever is in the way: toxicity, deficiency and poor emotional/nervous system regulation. Therefore paying attention to your lifestyle and making sure you have resolved past experience as well as present conditions is important. Please see my blog on Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) too.

[i] Smith, Heather et al (2017). Morphological evolution of the mammalian cecum and cecal appendix. Comptes Rendus Palevol,; 16 (1): 39.