Probiotics For Family Immune Health
Different strains of probiotic suit different people and conditions. This might depend on their individual needs or on their stage of life. Whatever you needs, you should always choose a probiotic with plenty of good quality research behind it.
The elderly population naturally have lower levels of friendly bacteria than younger members of the family. A decline in immune function is another natural characteristic of aging, and the two together can result in significant changes in the gut microbiome. So, the elderly can certainly do with a helping hand. A strain of Bifidobacteria called Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12®, has been shown to improve immune function in the elderly. You can read more in probiotics for older people.
At the other end of the population, teenagers are another age-group who may benefit from specific strains of probiotic to support them through their growing years. It is well known that teenagers do not always prioritise sleep over fun, which affects the body in several ways including lowered immune health. Our article probiotics for teenagers gives more guidance on how to support teenagers through these important years.
Of course, the men in the family shouldnt be overlooked! Men have a need to support their immune function as much as any member of the family. Sometimes even more so if their lifestyle incorporates smoking, high stress and activity levels, and a poor diet. Our article probiotics for men tells you all you need to know.
Diet And Your Immune System
Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Scientists have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. For example, researchers don’t know whether any particular dietary factors, such as processed foods or high simple sugar intake, will have adversely affect immune function. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans.
There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E alter immune responses in animals, as measured in the test tube. However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed.
So, what can you do? If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs maybe, for instance, you don’t like vegetables taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may bring other health benefits, beyond any possibly beneficial effects on the immune system. Taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not. More is not necessarily better.
Probiotic Foods That Help Strengthen Your Immune System
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Probiotics are a bacteria or yeast that reside in our body to help improve overall health, mainly the digestive system. When we think of bacteria we usually think of something yucky, but the human body is actually full of good and bad bacteria and probiotics are among the good or helpful bacteria.
So why should we eat probiotic foods? Well because a great way to boost our immune system is by eating probiotics, and since 70-percent of the immune system is in the gut, it just makes sense!
To back this up a 2014 study found evidence to support the health benefits of probiotics, including immune health. The results showed that probiotics not only help to ease the symptoms of a common cold, but can also reduce the risk of acquiring the infection in healthy individuals. With that being said, here is a long list of probiotic foods that will help strengthen your immune system
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Are Probiotic Supplements Effective
In addition to naturally being found in many foods, probiotics are sold as supplements and added to other foods where they dont naturally occur, like orange juice and peanut butter. Mills says a balanced diet with foods that naturally feature probiotics may be the best bet.
Getting probiotics from food is something most people can easily do and may have an edge over taking supplements, Mills explains. Food seems to have the fastest effect on changing the gut biome. Plus, the fermentation of the food may make other nutrients more bioavailable.
Right now, probiotics efficacy is theoretical. Probiotics might have some effect on the immune system, whether its good, bad, or neutral to people avoiding diseases is unknown, says Pieter Cohen, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Theres a growing body of evidence that probiotics may boost immunity, but that varies with the type of probiotics, a persons health and other factors. Theyre usually not necessary.
If you take a healthy person, someone who doesnt have any health issues to begin with, no need to take a probiotic supplement. Theres no evidence that thatll improve your health, says Dr. Cohen. If youve been a little unhealthy lately, probiotics cant fill those gaps, he adds.
How Should People Take Probiotics
The requirements for a microbe to be considered a probiotic are that the microbe must be alive when administered, it must be documented to have a health benefit, and it must be administered at levels to confer a health benefit. A rule of thumb often cited is to take at least a billion colony forming units daily.
These are live microorganisms that will not provide the promised benefits if they don’t remain alive. The manufacturer and consumer must pay close attention to the conditions of storage at which the particular microorganism will survive and the end of their shelf life. The potency will indicate the number of viable bacteria per dose, and the purity has to do with presence of contaminating or ineffective bacteria.
The other thing to remember is that these microorganisms are not all created equally. In fact, the genus, strain, and species all need to be the same for the results that found in the study to be the results that one hopes to achieve when taking it. For example, with the strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, the genus is Lactobacillus, the species is rhamnosus, and the strain is GG. If any one of those is different in your supplement, you may not attain the same results.
Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
The Benefits Of Probiotics
Theyre especially helpful for diarrhea or constipation both of which are common for kids, especially during potty training. Probiotics may help ease some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease as well.
Children already taking antibiotics can benefit from probiotics, too. Antibiotics can cause stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, and probiotics can ease these side effects. But not all probiotics are effective while taking antibiotics, so talk to your childs pediatrician or pharmacist about which probiotic is best for your child.
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Stress And Immune Function
Modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship of mind and body. A wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress. Despite the challenges, scientists are actively studying the relationship between stress and immune function.
For one thing, stress is difficult to define. What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another. When people are exposed to situations they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person’s subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate. The scientist can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors.
Most scientists studying the relationship of stress and immune function, however, do not study a sudden, short-lived stressor rather, they try to study more constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as that caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or sustained challenges to perform well at one’s work. Some scientists are investigating whether ongoing stress takes a toll on the immune system.
Despite these inevitable difficulties in measuring the relationship of stress to immunity, scientists are making progress.
Helpful Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System And Fight Off Disease
How can you improve your immune system? On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? What if you improve your diet? Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?
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Do Probiotics Do Any Good
Dr Chris van Tullekan sets out to discover whether probiotic products are really good for our health, and whether theres a cheaper and easier way to get health benefits through our gut bacteria.
Every year, we in the UK spend about three quarters of a billion pounds on probiotic products, which contain live bacteria that are supposed to boost our health. Our guts especially our large intestine are full of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other living organisms. In fact there are more of them than there are cells in the rest of our body, meaning that what we think of as our own bodies are more bacterium than human!
Your instant reaction might be to want to get rid of all these foreign bodies inside us, but actually they are vital to our wellbeing. They help us absorb nutrients from our food, metabolise drugs, and educate our immune system. Our own personal mix of gut bacteria makes us the person we are, and changing what bacteria we have can affect our health.
The idea of boosting bacteria that we know are good for our health has been around for a very long time, but actual scientific research on whether it works or not is still in its relatively early stages.
Although the probiotic companies claimed such health benefits for many years, now they have changed their advertising in Europe as the European Food Safety Authority ruled that not all these pieces of evidence are yet there.
Exercise: Good Or Bad For Immunity
Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.
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Can I Get Probiotics From Food
You can absolutely increase beneficial microbes in your body from the foods you eat. Certain foods have probiotics in them and can benefit the health of your microbiome.
These foods can be introduced into your diet at any point of the day. You may even be regularly eating them now and not realize that they contain probiotics. You will want to check the food label for live and active cultures. A few suggestions for just some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet and some times to try them include:
For breakfast, try:
Probiotic supplements may be combined with a prebiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the microorganisms in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria. They help feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, pectin and resistant starches.
When you have a supplement that combines a probiotic and prebiotic, its called a synbiotic.
Garden Of Life Primal Defense Ultra
Garden of Life Primal Defense ULTRA has somehow managed to enter into this years probiotic supplement rankings in an impressive fourth position, easily beating off much of the competition.
- Available in bottles containing 90 capsules
- Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
- Contains a selection of 13 different bacterial cultures
- Provides up to 15 billion live organisms
- Formulated for rapid and comprehensive absorption
With a vast array of different bacterial cultures and as many as 15 billion live microorganisms provided in each capsule, this is quite clearly an amazing probiotic that will help to keep your digestive system running at full capacity every day of the week.
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Healthy Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System
Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system working properly. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
- Keep current with all recommended vaccines. Vaccines prime your immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in your body.
How Probiotics Are Good For You
They might lower the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause illness or inflammation. They can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.
Researchers are studying when and how probiotics might best help. There’s more research for some illnesses than others. They might help people with:
- Diarrhea, especially when it’s linked to specific antibiotics. Probiotics also might help with infectious diarrhea, especially in children.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some probiotics might keep ulcerative colitis in remission and prevent Crohn’s disease from relapsing and getting worse.
- Irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics also are being studied for many other conditions. There isnât as much research yet, but some people say that probiotics have helped them with:
- Decreasing inflammation, such as from rheumatoid arthritis
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How To Build A Healthy Microbiome
One way to foster healthy intestinal bacteria is to eat more of the foods these bugs like to eatnamely, fiber. Increasing your intake of plant fibers from vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds is like filling a bird-feeder with the kind of seeds that the beautiful songbirds you want attract like best. If you feed them, they will come!
And if we want to attract a lot of different types of songbirdser, bacteriathen we want to put out a variety of foods. That means you dont just want to get all your fiber from a single source, such as a fiber supplement. You want to get it fiber from lots of different kinds of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds.
Another way to nurture a healthy gut is to consume foods that contain beneficial bacteria. This includes things like yogurt, kefir, and other cultured dairy products kim-chi, sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables miso, tempeh, natto, and other fermented soy products and kombucha, which is a sort of fermented tea.
Now, to be honest, its not entirely clear how many of those bacteria actually survive their trip through the digestive tract and set up permanent housekeeping in the gut. But even if they are just passing through, they appear to be the ideal type of houseguest that leaves the place a bit better than they found it.
Which Are The Best Probiotics For The Immune System
Probiotics come in lots of different shapes and sizes: yoghurts, fermented drinks , and most recently, supplements. You can read here about the difference between fermented foods and probiotics. With 1 in 3 Brits now taking a daily nutritional supplement3, the probiotics industry is growing rapidly. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to find the one to best suit your needs.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember here is that different probiotics supplements do different things, depending on the strains of probiotic bacteria used in them. Scientists are particularly keen to understand which strains help to support our immune system best, and so there is more and more evidence growing in this area.
However, each member of your family may need a supplement which is suited to their individual needs. Read on to find out more about the different types of probiotic immune support.
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Probiotics For Dogs With Allergies
Our dog, Ginger, struggles with food and environmental allergies, and it is a constant battle. She is the reason I learned how to read food labels, and how to find as many natural remedies as possible.
Ive tried many different probiotics for her but need to be watchful for hidden ingredients as some of the probiotics contain proteins that she is allergic to. Even a probiotic marketed to dogs with skin allergies had a hidden pork ingredient!
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