During cold and flu season it’s important to consume foods that enhance your immune system. Keeping your immune system healthy ensures that your body is able to fight viruses and other foreign invaders known to cause illness. Supplementing with vitamin C may work, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. In fact, the latest research is showing that probiotics may be helpful in not only preventing but also reducing the duration of certain immune-related conditions.
Research published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport suggests that probiotics are a good choice in fighting unwanted illness and boosting immunity. In their study, scientists found that subjects had roughly 40% fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic supplement.
Approximately 70-80% of your entire immune system is in your gut. The lining of the small intestines is full of lymph nodes. When necessary, inflammation in the intestines creates a pathway for the immune system to carry out an attack against invading viruses and bacteria. However, when inflammation is present but not needed, illnesses such as allergies, flu and chronic infections can occur. Probiotics offer a beneficial defense against the effects caused by this unwarranted inflammation.
Probiotics also keep the gut healthy, to ensure proper functioning of the immune system. Epithelial tissues in the intestines form a barrier against pathogenic microbes and other harmful substances. This tissue is dependent upon gut flora. If gut flora is insufficient, then the lining does not regenerate.
Probiotics can also modulate the immune system, enhancing the body’s natural immunity. This modulating effect helps alleviate excessive inflammation in the gut, thereby boosting immune function.
Probiotics in the GI tract help to reinforce the barrier function of the intestinal lining, lowering the chance of bacteria in the intestines entering into the blood stream. This function may decrease infections and immune related reactions, thus supporting the health of the immune system.
Probiotics are a must-have this cold and flu season. Unfortunately, many people are going without notable consumption of probiotics. Fermented foods are one of the largest food sources of probiotic bacteria, but most people aren’t interested in kimchi and raw sauerkraut. The easiest way to receive beneficial bacteria is through a high-quality probiotic supplement, particularly one that combines a number of different strains.