Secretory Immunoglobulin A (sIgA) for healthy gut, digestion and immunity

Joanna SochanAdrenal fatigue/ stress, Conditions & treatments, Digestive and gut health, Nutrition47 Comments

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Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) deficiency is a less known but a significant aspect of having good immunity and a well-functioning digestive system, to name a few. I have long been interested in sIgA’s role in health and wellbeing and would like to shed some light on this subject from my clinical experience.

The body’s mucosal surfaces such as those of the nose, throat, eyes and gastrointestinal tract (GIT) are a large point of entry for various pathogens and thus must be well protected by the body. The primary antibody/ immune system response to these irritants at the mucosal level is sIgA produced by the B lymphocytes (immune system cells) present in all mucosal linings. sIgA acts as the ‘first line of defence’ helping to protect against the entrance of foreign substances into the body such bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and food particles (via the damaged gut wall). The immune system responds to the protein component (antigens) of these invaders by producing large quantities of specific antibodies, including sIgA. These antibodies bind to the antigens on the surface of an invader (bacteria, for example) and prevent them from multiplying, thus halting the spread of disease in the body. This mechanism works well when the GIT is healthy and sIgA levels are normal.

SIgA production is both beneficially and adversely affected by a number of factors including stress, emotions such as frustration and anger, nutrition, pathogens and inflammation. In particular, chronic and repeated bouts of acute stress suppress sIgA over time compromising the gut and the immune function. Even a relatively short-term sIgA deficiency due to acute stress predisposes a person to the development of food allergies or to being susceptible to having pathogens in the GIT.

When sIgA is lacking, absorption of food particles and microbial antigens increases dramatically making the GIT increasingly susceptible to infection.  It’s known that people with food sensitivities – and especially food allergies – have low levels of sIgA making them particularly susceptible to gut damage and increase in immune response reactions. Low / reduced sIgA levels are commonly seen in individuals with low immune system, food allergies, bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine (SIBO), chronic Candida, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases and parasitic infections. Several studies link stress and negative emotions with low levels of sIgA. Secretion is adversely affected by stress which is mediated by cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. Therefore low sIgA levels are often present in adrenal depletion / adrenal fatigue/ adrenal exhaustion.

order Orlistat 120 mg online no prescription Pharma Life High / elevated sIgA levels may reflect an activated immune response to chronic infections including viral infections such as EBV (Epstein–Barr virus), CMV (Cytomegalovirus), HIV, and/ or inflammatory reactions. High level of sIgA may also indicate an infection of the digestive system or inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. It is thought that the initial response is an elevation in sIgA, followed by the depletion with continued exposure to irritants. Dysregulation of this immune function has been implicated in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Despite the importance of sIgA for health, it’s one of the least well-understood areas of immunology. Medical research suggests that sIgA deficiency can be the result of genetics i.e. it’s an inherited disease that is passed from parent to child. People can also have a partial sIgA deficiency which isn’t genetic and is caused by environmental or lifestyle factors such as poor diets, nutrient deficiencies, certain drugs (including anti-inflammatories), viruses, impaired immune function and excessive stress. The good news is that the environmental and lifestyle factors can be reversed by identifying and addressing the cause(s) via better diet, tailored supplements and lifestyle modifications, as discussed below. Symptoms

dig this Many people with sIgA deficiency are asymptomatic. It is not understood why some individuals with sIgA deficiency have almost no complaints while others are quite sick. Those who do have symptoms typically have recurring ear, sinus, or lung infections that may not respond to regular treatment even with antibiotics. Other problems include multiple food allergies, coeliac disease, asthma, chronic diarrhoea, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Since sIgA serves to protect the gut, lower levels can also lead to an increased risk of ‘ his comment is here leaky gut’ (or increased intestinal permeability) or dysbiosis/ SIBO. When sIgA is decreased and is unable to adequately fight invaders attacking the intestinal wall, the gut becomes inflamed and irritated resulting in the integrity of the gut wall becoming weakened allowing toxins or undigested food particles to enter the body via the blood stream. These food particles cause the body to react by creating other classes of immunoglobulins, primarily IgG, to protect the blood and tissues. A person with leaky gut may therefore have IgG reactions to many foods which can be detected in blood tests. Diagnosis

sIgA levels can be tested by performing a blood test measuring serum IgA, salivary or fecal sIgA tests. When measured via the comlete diagnostic stool analysis test, the reference range of sIgA is between 51 – 204mg/dL (Genova Lab range). How to normalise sIgA levels

Conventional medicine doesn’t offer any particular treatment; however, there is much you can do to balance out sIgA levels by following naturopathic medicine suggestions below:

    • get redirected here Embark on a comprehensive gut treatment to repair and seal the gut wall involving testing for and correcting gut flora imbalances, decreasing inflammation and restoring gut wall integrity.
    • find this Enhance the immune function – using herbs, supplements, lifestyle modifications and stress reduction.
    • segnali opzioni binarie 15 minuti Address any existing acute and/or chronic infections anywhere in the body – test the immune function, inflammation levels and other relevant parameters, and then embark on eradicating them with medications, supplements and herbs, as appropriate.
    • GAPS diet is highly indicated and effective for healing the gut, normalising digestion, addressing nutrient deficiencies and reducing inflammation, among others.

Feel free to post a comment below if you have abnormal levels of sIgA and would like to exchange ideas on potential natural solutions for this complex issue.

Be well and blessings
Joanna - signature-segoe-line


Joanna Sochan
Naturopath Herbalist Nutritionist

sIgA image source: Dolphin Microbiology Group website

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47 Comments on “Secretory Immunoglobulin A (sIgA) for healthy gut, digestion and immunity”

  1. Gary rutland

    Firstly your article that I have read on sLga is the first that makes sense.
    I can see that you are a herbalist, nutritionist and neuropath to which I’m hoping you will be able to help me with a condition leaky gut. I suffered with chronic fatigue ( brought about by doctors – massive doses of antibiotics and other life style issues – keeping it short)
    However have now had a stool sample tested and results confirm elevated SLga and leaky gut immune responses. I real hope that you live close by?
    If not do you do telephone conference calls?
    I would very much like to discuss my health issues with you further and request your contact telephone numbers if possible assuming you still practise?

    I await your response to this internal email
    Kind regards
    Gary Rutland

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Kerry

      Thank you for your question. I have now updated my post to include the sIgA reference range information.

      When measured via the stool analysis test, the reference (normal) range of sIgA is between 51 – 204mg/dL (Genova Lab). It’s good to have the results towards the middle of this range but any result needs to be considered for each individual and their state of health.

      All the best

  2. Lorrie

    Hello Joanna
    Just want to thank you for such an amazing informative site regarding health issues. I shall certainly save your site for future queries about my health.

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hello Lorrie

      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment, I truly appreciate it! I’m happy you found the information useful as I spend considerable time to research each article and make the information practical as well. You may consider subscribing to my monthly newsletter to keep up to date with my posts. Here is the link

      All the best

  3. Leonardo

    Hi Joanna, I had a comprehensive stool test done recently and it showed that my sIgA levels are very low and that I have a moderate Candida overgrowth in my gut.

    If I understood correctly, chronic Candida overgrowth and/or gut dysbiosis can cause a big stress on our immune system and thus reduce sIgA levels. Is that correct??

    I’m desperately trying to find out the root cause of my low sIga levels. I’m suffering with food sensitivities, chronic inflammation and IBS symptoms.

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Leonardo

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, low levels of sIgA are strongly associated with the gut not working well because of conditions such as leaky gut, parasites, candida, SIBO, among others. Also, there is usually considerable gut and/or systemic inflammation happening as well to which the immune system reacts too. Please read my article on the GAPS diet for more information on gut/the immune system connection here

      I suggest you look for a naturopath or other qualified natural medicine practitioner who is experienced in healing the gut and adrenals to embark on a comprehensive gut repair and adrenal boosting programs to start addressing the low sIgA levels. This is the first step to gauge what else may be going on healthwise.

      All the best

  4. Cassandra

    I have been ill for just over 1 year. Respiratory Issues. My SIgA was elevated at 693. Any suggestions and could this affect my respiratory?

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi there!

      Thank you for your question. Yes, sIgA is produced in mucosal surfaces throughout the body including the lungs. High sIgA indicates possible presence of chronic infections and inflammation that is present there plus the gut as well. Have you done any lab test to pinpoint what’s going on in the lungs? It sounds like there may be a chronic infection going on there keeping you feeling sick – could be bacterial or viral, sometimes both. The tests (done via your doctor or naturopath) should be able to clarify this and help to decide where to commence any treatment.

      All the best

      1. Heather

        Hi, Joanna.

        I recently received my Geneva results and my sIgA was 277 with a Reference range of <=885. Can you please make sense of this for me? Is this considered low or high on the Geneva test?

        I also had very high fecal fats.

        I look forward to your reply!!!

  5. Greg Hill

    I just discovered this web site, and am looking forward to exploring it further and maybe even subscribing.

    Anyway, I just thought you might like to know about and correct the fact that on the page at

    there is what is supposed to be a link to this page at “see my post on sIgA here”

    but instead it is a link to

    which does not work.

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Greg
      I’m glad you’ve discovered and like my website and hope you’ll enjoy the content! You may also consider having a look at my Facebook and other social pages where I regularly post natural medicine updates and tips.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know about the broken link. I’ve fixed it now!

      All the best

  6. Sharon Bruckerhoff

    I’ve been suffering for over 20 years with symptoms of IBS. chronic diarrhea and bloating and cramping. I’ve been treated by several doctors over the years without much success. 4 colonoscopies done without a real diagnosis. I recently started see a nutritionalist who had stool testing done by a lab. My SIgA level is 818. Is that level high enough that I should see a MD about it or is just diet change and supplements sufficient to take care of what’s going on in my gut.?

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hello Sharon
      Depending on what else was tested and the results, there can be a few natural options to follow and the nutritionist should be able to guide you how to decrease sIgA. You may consider to do the nutritional therapy for a while and see if it works for you – there are great supplements and herbs for the gut. If you decide to seek a second opinion by seeing an MD make sure that she/he is a functional/integrative type of practitioner who understands gut health.

      All the best

  7. diana

    Hi Joanna,

    Thank you so much for sharing all this info. I am a little bit confused. I just took a Genova Gi effects stool test, my results are elevated “Fecal secretory IgA at 1,268” , but the normal range is “<=885 mcg/g ". Your normal range is 51 – 204mg/dL . Can you please help with this. I am very confused, and would love to know what I'm dealing with.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Diana
      It looks like the Genova Lab has changed the measurement units for the test from mg/dL (as per my post) to mcg/g hence the different ranges for the test interpretation. So it looks to me like your sIgA levels at 1,268 are elevated on the new scale.

      All the best

  8. Seth

    Hi Joanna —

    Thanks for providing this service of consulting with people. I’ve had the Genova GI Effects test done and it shows I have high fecal secretory IGA (1,795 mcg/g). I often have symptoms which resemble histamine intolerance and SIBO, including pretty severe ear / nose / throat constriction / congestion and possibly overtaxed liver (yellower skin). My results also show high PP bacteria, low n-Butyrate, low diversity, absence of Verrucomicrobia, high bacteriodetes, low firmicutes, high klebsiella, and high citrobacter. Blood food allergy tests show low IgE and IgG (no allergies / leaky gut). My symptoms seem to be exacerbated by herbal antimicrobials, glutamine, and probiotics. Symptoms began after use of prescription antibiotics and subsequent probiotics / fermented foods. I do better with raw vegan fare. Considering going on xifaxin and nystatin (worked for me a year ago). Any thoughts as to what my clinical picture is and success stories for treatment in others with similar symptoms? My labs and responses to treatment seem to stump physicians.



    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Seth

      Thank you for your comment and detailed description of the labs. I suggest you look into possible excessive heavy metals accumulation to gauge which metals may be high and what are their side-effects. Also GAPS diet seems to be a good option here to re-balance the gut and drive out the nasty bacteria, have you considered it? Check out my post here to start with

      All the best

  9. sandrawhitcomb

    I have tested high Sig A on the Genova test and also have tested postitive for SIBO on 2 different breath tests 2 years apart. Could the SIBO itself be the cause of the high SigA? I’m going to see a gastro/immunologist this week as I also have CVID and get IgG via IV every 3 weeks. I am low in all 3: IgG, IgA and IgM, hence the CVID diagnosis. With the low IgA I still have tested to have high Sig A. I believe this doctor uses Rifaximin to treat the SIBO as one TX approach. I just wonder if the SIBO has caused that elevated Sig A test…… Any thoughts….thank you so much!

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Yes it can. SIBO causes gut flora imbalances, increases inflammation and loss of gut wall integrity, to name a few. So treating SIBO should help to balance sIgA levels.

      All the best

  10. sandrawhitcomb

    Could SIBO cause an elevated Sig A level? I have CVID with low IgG, IgA and IgM. I get IVIG every 3 weeks and have tested positive for SIBO on 2 different breath tests….but I do wonder if that SIBO is causing an elevated Sig A. Thank you!

  11. Jonathan

    Wonderful article!! Can you comment at all on the physiology found in a high sIgA from a Genova stool test and a low serum total IgA?

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Jonathan

      It’s a big topic to cover! Plus any analysis and conclusions need to be done on an individual basis taking into account what else may be going on/ contributing to the picture.

      All the best

  12. Kirsty

    I’ve just had a comprehensive stool test done and my sIgA levels were very low but no sign of leaky gut, Candida or parasites. My stool oh was 7.5.

    I am unsure of the cause as it is conflicting to have such low levels without sign of Candida leaky gut etc. How would I increase my sIgA levels?

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hello there

      Other main causes, apart from gut imbalances/ symptoms, of low sIgA include protein deficiency (not having enough or not able to digest protein properly), multiple nutrient deficiencies (especially zinc and vitamin A) and chronic illness. May be worth doing testing to check these three areas.

      All the best

  13. Bozena

    Hi Joanna,

    I have just received my son’s comprehensive stool analysis. That is why I was searching for an explanation of some results. The only problem I can see is secretory IgA 287 mg/dl and many fat stains. No parasides, no disbiotic flora. What would be the next step, what else shoul ai check (waiting for organix results and doctor visit schedulled for October but trying to find something in June/July.
    I wander if you could suggest? Son is 4.

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Bozena

      I would wait for the organic acids results to see what are the high markers there and then cross-check the two tests for clues/ further actions. Remember that CDSA test shows what’s happening in the LARGE intestine and organic acids test will indicate what’s going on in the SMALL INTESTINE (such as SIBO, dysbiosis, yeast overgrowth, clostridium bacteria etc) plus brain function, energy production, detox capacities including methylation, and B vitamins levels, among others – it’s such a great tool to identify root cause(s). You’ll need someone who can interpret the results correctly, though.

      All the best

  14. Jacqueline

    Hi Joanna,

    My son has a secretory Iga of 510 (as well as dysbiotic flora, +3 enterobactoer cloacae complex) from his comprehensive stool and does show some yeast in his OATs test (arabinose of 158). Would that be a reason for high SIGA? I am trying to figure out if he has leaky gut. Could someone have leaky gut with a high SIGA? He is 6 years old and on the ASD and I am trying to help him get what he needs to feel better.

    Thank you!

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Jacqueline

      In this case high sIgA could reflect an activated immune response to some kind chronic infections such as viral or bacterial infections and also inflammation in the gut that is caused by them. It is thought that the initial (acute) response to these infections is elevated sIgA, which later drops with continued exposure to irritants. From my experience dysbiosis and presence of harmful bacteria pretty much indicates that the gut wall is damaged and leaky gut is likely.

      Have you looked at the GAPS diet for your son? Here is the link to my post about it The diet or rather the GAPS nutrition protocol is used to repair the gut, eliminate parasites and/or harmful bacteria and normalise sIgA, among many others. It’s a long-term healing process (could be up to 2+years) that is done via specific nutrition changes and supplements but for many people is truly life changing.

      All the best

  15. Jacqueline

    Very helpful, Joanna!

    I read your link and do have the GAPS book. Have you found that the GAPS diet eliminates yeast/bacteria without the need for medication? I am also wondering if the SCD diet works in a similar manner? If my son had casein in his peptides, would you wait to introduce homemade fermented dairy? I am asking because it can feel very restrictive and he loves yogurt.

    Thank you very much,


    1. Joanna Sochan


      GAPS and SDC are similar and will both help with eliminating yeast and problematic gut bacteria in time. Sometimes antimicrobial herbs are used as well, depending on the person and their circumstances. It takes time to do it through the food alone but it is more a permanent solution as the yeast and bacteria are there because of the detox problems and accumulation of toxins in the body. As the toxins are removed via the diet, the yest will decrease and be kept under control by the immune system.

      Regarding fermented dairy products, they are best introduced gradually following the dairy introduction structure as outlined on page 124 in the GAPS book. Some people need to wait to after the introduction diet is over and then introduce dairy (gradually).


  16. Joyce

    Hi! I have just been told my IgA is increased 444, 44 above mark and Igg increased in a number of food items. My hscrp is also elevated to 7, instead of less than 1 to be normal but my ESR is normal. Is this heart attack/stroke risk of inflammation in gut? Used to have mild chronic gastritis fir years- could it be that? What should I do to know the source of inflammation? Thanks!

    1. Joanna Sochan

      I suggest doing a complete digestive stool analysis test to start with, to see what’s going on there. There may be simple answer(s) to your problems once you know the results.

  17. Renata

    Dear Joanna,

    I found your website quite interesting. I have been trying to find a solution for my son’s digestive problems since he was really young. He had colic, then reflux (vomiting for 4 months), then he developed Asthma. He is only 3,5 years old and I have tried all healthy food protocol. He takes probiotic, sauerkraut and vitamins every day. After a long search I did a stool test with him and found out his secreted IgA is <20, stool ph 6 and clostridium spec high. I was told he needs to improve the secreted IgA, but I would like to know exactly what he should take in terms of vitamins. I will try the GAPS diet, but it will be hard because I work full time. I would appreciate any help. Thanks.

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hello Renata
      To increase sIgA in this case I suggest doing a comprehensive gut cleanse treatment to eradicate the clostridium bacteria and then rebalance the gut flora and digestion with probiotics, prebiotics and other supplements as indicated. GAPS diet would greatly help in this process but you may need to look into contacting an integrative GP who specialises in gut work to help with eradicating clostridium which could be challenging to treat. Sometimes antibiotics are needed followed by a naturopathic treatment.

  18. Renata

    Hi Joanna,

    Thanks for your quick reply. I was told that the level of clostridium were not so much the problem, but to focus on the low IgA and low acidity. I will try to find someone to help, but I am not sure where to start.
    For myself I was told to choose between a naturopathic and nystatin treatment. Could you tell me the difference?
    Would you be available to talk on Skype?

    Thank you very much for clarifying the questions and for your time.

    1. Joanna Sochan


      Depending on circumstances, it’s possible to use both nystatin first followed by a comprehensive naturopathic treatment for optimal results. You’ll need to discuss this with your doctor/ naturopath, it’s not possible or appropriate for me to make any suggestions here.

      Where are you based?

  19. Karla

    My 13 year old daughter has been having multiple health issues including gall bladder attacks. Liver values and ultrasound were normal. DC wanted to rule out parasites(she was born in Guatemala). Diagno-Techs GI panel shows borderline low IgA of 15. No parasites and scant yeast. Stool culture shows Heavy growth of mixed Gm Neg and absence of Gram pos bacteria with no pathogenic bacteria noted. Chymotrypsin was also low. Gluten Ab (saliva) was positive even though she’s been on a gluten-free diet for over a year.

    Any input would be appreciated.

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Hi Karla
      It sounds like there is gut dysbiosis present (imbalances between beneficial and problematic bacteria), also flagged by lower sIgA. Dysbiotic bacteria can also affect bile consistency making it more thick and thus affecting gallbladder function. I suggest you talk to your doctor about undertaking a gut cleanse and repair treatment with gallbladder support supplements and nutrients such as lecithin, among others, to help to dilute the bile and help with fat digestion.

  20. Theresa

    My friend takes laxatives every day, can’t this make her sign levels high and can this cause her to have leaky gut issues

  21. Mary

    Hi, my daughter has Hashimotos and 3 very high cortisol, constipation, food allergies, we think malabsorption of thyroid meds and supplements, high ferretin (low iron), and now the Genova GI effects test shows a secretary iga result of very high 1270. Her doctor seems at a loss. Do you have any recommendations to help figure this out?? We are desperate. Thank you so much in advance!!

    1. Joanna Sochan

      I’m afraid I can’t offer specific advice via the blog but I’d suggest you look at inflammation levels in the body as well as the gut function which is almost always linked to Hashimnoto’s/ thyroid problems.

  22. Anilkumar Punjabi

    I did the BioHealth Laboratories GI Map Test & Its results came as to be Infected with H-Pylori & Low Levels of Candida , But at the same time i have very Low sIgA levels about 20 . Would this Pathogens/Bacteria cause this very Low Secretory igA levels & how this could be boosted & Improved . I have constant bloating & cramps after every meals which my Functional Medicine Dr has indicated due to this H-Pylori & very Low levels of HCL . Whats the recommended diet plan

    1. Joanna Sochan

      Yes, low IgA is connected with parasitic infections in the gut. I suggest you work with your functional medicine doctor to eradicate H.pylori and Candida to relieve/eliminate he bloating and cramps and increase HCl production via supplementation and diet. Also, talk to your Dr about your diet as it needs to be tailored for your condition.

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