What Is An Immune System
Before we talk about the role of probiotics and the immune system, lets first understand what exactly your immune system is. Your immune system is a smart, strong network within your body that keeps you safe from dangers like bad bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
The reason we say your immune system is smart, is because it is able to recognize your own healthy cells, and knows not to attack them. Scientists have found that the way your immune systems determines your own cells from attackers, is by detecting the protein within the cell.
One of the important components of your immune system is the lymph nodes. You may think of lymph nodes as being located in your neck and armpits, and while this is correct, did you also know that there are many lymph nodes in your intestines? In fact, your gut plays a substantial role in the health of your immune system. This is where the connection between probiotics and the immune system begins.
Do Vegan Probiotic Supplements Work
Probiotic supplements may provide the same benefits as probiotics obtained through food. Keyword: may. At the moment, researchers are still unsure of just how effective they are. Additionally, in the United States, probiotics are sold as dietary supplements, a notoriously unregulated market thats overseen by the Food and Drug Administration . Under FDA law, companies have the green light to make vague health claims that might not even be true. This, unfortunately, means that theres no guarantee that you get what you pay for when you buy a supplement. Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe, but experts generally recommend that you get your probiotics from food instead.
What Factors Affect Your Immune System
One factor that generally improves immunity is age, to a certain extent. This is because as you mature from a child to an adult, your body has a chance to be exposed to more threats. The exposure to these threats helps build your immune system, because each time your body has to fight off a danger, it learns from that experience.
If your body encounters that same danger in the future, it will be better prepared to attack quickly and efficiently. Although we generally have stronger immune systems as adults vs children, our immunity naturally starts to decline again as we reach an older age. While we cannot, of course, control our age – we can control aspects of our health and can find ways to supplement the immunity we have.
Recommended Reading: Green Tea With Ginger And Probiotics
Probiotics And Your Immune System
It doesnt matter if you eat foods high in probiotics or take a supplement, both will help to flood your body with more healthy bacteria, reinforcing the bacteria already in your body. The more bacteria there are in your intestines, the easier it will be for your body to fight disease and stop infections from spreading. Not to mention protect the lining in your intestines and increase your ability to absorb nutrients whats not to love?
With all the many health benefits of probiotics, the most impressive is how they can give you an immunity boost in a way no other supplement can. They essentially work from the inside out to protect your body, leading to a stronger immune system that is better able to defend itself against all illnesses that come your way.
Can Probiotics Boost Your Immune System
Fun fact: Did you know that there are about the same number of bacterial cells as human cells in your body? That means that there are a whole lot of bacteria living inside of you RIGHT NOW! You are half bacteria! This fact is actually quite amazing and extremely beneficial.
The good news is that most of these bacteria are necessary and even essential for optimal health. These helpful bugs are needed to digest your food, extract important nutrients, protect your body from other pathogens and also keep things running smoothly with your digestion. One important role they play is keeping you healthy by communicating regularly with your immune system.
In order to stay in tip top health, you need to also keep these little guys healthy. One way to do this is to be sure you have the right number of beneficial bacteria living in your gut. When the good guys are around, they help your immune system function at its best. Certain types of bacteria taken in supplement form or found in foods such as fermented products and some dairy are called probiotics. There are many health benefits of probiotics, but one in particular is the connection between probiotics and the immune system.
Read Also: Best Probiotic Yogurt For Toddlers
Certain Probiotic Strains Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy
Probiotics may help keep your heart healthy by lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
Certain lactic acid-producing bacteria may reduce cholesterol by breaking down bile in the gut .
Bile, a naturally occurring fluid mostly made of cholesterol, helps digestion.
A review of 5 studies found that eating a probiotic yogurt for 28 weeks reduced total cholesterol by 4% and LDL cholesterol by 5% .
Another study conducted over 6 months found no changes in total or LDL cholesterol. However, the researchers did find a small increase in HDL cholesterol .
Consuming probiotics may also lower blood pressure. A review of 9 studies found that probiotic supplements reduce blood pressure, but only modestly .
In order to experience any benefits related to blood pressure, supplementation had to exceed 8 weeks and 10 million colony-forming units daily .
Probiotics may help protect the heart by reducing bad LDL cholesterol levels and modestly lowering blood pressure.
A Lack Of Proper Hygiene:
A wide range of microorganisms, including viruses and bacteria, can be found all around us. If we do not maintain a strong immune system, these can cause many illnesses. Lack of good cleanliness is one of the elements that contribute to an immune systems weakness. The best approach to keep harmful microorganisms away is to adopt good hygiene habits such as hand washing, wearing clean clothes, and drinking pure water.
You May Like: Can You Take Probiotics While On Antibiotics
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.
What Are The Best Probiotics For You
Certain strains of probiotics might help improve your health, but the effect is not the same for each person. Dr. Will Bulsiewicz ZOEs U.S. Medical Director, board-certified gastroenterologist, and New York Times best-selling author describes it like this:
Probiotics are a bit difficult to predict because theyre a bit like a foreign exchange student arriving in a high school. The cliques are already established, and then this new person walks in and its possible that they change the dynamics, but its also possible that nothing changes it at all.
Because everyone has a unique gut microbiome, there is no universal approach to boosting gut health.
With the ZOE at-home test, you can learn what bugs are living in your very own gut. Using this, we will provide you with personalized nutrition advice to encourage the good bugs to flourish.
You May Like: Probiotics That Contain Lactobacillus Acidophilus
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.
Designed To Strengthen The Immune System
Immune Power is a natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory probiotic supplement designed to strengthen the immune system and rebalance the gut microbiome.
Our experts recommend you trial Fermento for at least 3 months to give your microbiome time to rebalance.
Backed by 200+ clinical studies
Also Check: Best Probiotic Weight Loss Pills
Why Should You Not Take Probiotics
Theres really no reason to take an over-the-counter probiotic unless it’s prescribed by your doctor for a specific ailment. There are risks: Starting probiotics or taking too many can cause an allergic reaction, gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, according to Cleveland Clinic. If you have a compromised immune system, introducing new bacteria to your body could make it harder for your body to heal, and even make you sicker. Dont take a probiotic unless it’s recommended by your doctor.
Another potential concern about OTC probiotics? Regulation of their sale in the United States is convoluted. They can be classified as a food, a drug, or a supplement. Any probiotic supplement you buy at the store or online is not FDA-approved. Cohen noted the murky regulation, or lack thereof, in an article in the September 2018 JAMA Internal Medicine titled Probiotic Safety No Guarantees.
Probiotics And Probiotic Functional Foods Legislation And Modern Challenges
According to the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization , probiotics are live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host .
For the last decades, there has been a rapid growth in the application of probiotics among both people and animals. They are used in the production of fermented products , as ingredients in adapted milk for babies and children, in bakery products or confectionery, or as material for the production of food additives. Another modern trend in agricultural science is the use of probiotics in animal breeding and poultry farming to reduce the disease rates with young animals, for maximum utilization of nutrition ingredients of fodder, and fast accumulation of muscle mass without treatment with hormonal preparations and antibiotics, as well as to increase the volume of additional products that animals and poultry give eggs, milk, etc.
Probiotic microorganisms belong to the Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Bifidobacterium, Pediococcus, Bacillus family, with the microorganisms from Lactobacillus family being most frequently used as probiotics.
Companies apply different approaches to create new probiotic formulas with preserved vitality of the strains and useful effects. Some Korean and Japanese companies divide probiotic products into four generations:
Probiotics from spring water
Don’t Miss: Why Do Babies Need Probiotics
Your Internal Ecosystem At Work
Weâve gone over a bit about the beneficial bacteria from the fermentation process, but remember that bacteria also inhabit your body. Your digestive system has millions of microorganisms essential for good health and a well-functioning immune system. All these microorganisms are known as microflora. Your microflora is in charge of preventing the growth of harmful bacteria by developing and promoting good gut health and producing essential vitamins.
Your body has had a strong bacteria barrier since birth, and its stabilization depends on various factors, including pH, body temperature, oxygen, water, and nutrient levels. Your blood, brain, and muscles are free of bacteria, but your skin and mucous membranes are colonized by various bacteria.
The first contact with essential bacteria is at birth, continuing during breastfeeding. Breast milk contains bacteria that produce lactic acid and boosts a babyâs immune system. There are also milk formulas that contain beneficial microorganisms and contribute to developing the gut mucosal barrier that protects your intestine from the colonization of harmful bacteria that could cause diseases.
Studies Suggest That Lgg May Help Promote The Immune System And May Help Reduce The Incidence Of Flu
A study of healthy adults investigated how supplementing with the LGG® strain affected the number of antibodies the body produced in response to a vaccine challenge.9 Compared to taking placebo, 29% more participants who took LGG®produced a number of specific antibodies that is associated with increased immune system function. This suggests that the LGG® strain may help promote immune responses by increasing the number of antibodies the body makes to fight against foreign invaders.9
In another study, children who consumed the LGG® probiotic strain for three months had a significant reduction in the incidence of flu-like sickness.1 The length of time that children experienced symptoms was also reduced, and they had significantly fewer days away from daycare due to illness, compared to the placebo group.1 Similarly, children who consumed LGG® for the length of a hospital stay had a significantly lower incidence of digestive system illness and flu-like sickness.10
Recommended Reading: Can Probiotics Help With Hormone Imbalance
Probiotics May Help Support Our Immune System
High-quality studies suggest that the Lactobacillus rhamnosus, LGG®, Lactobacillus paracasei, L. CASEI 431® and Bifidobacterium, BB-12® strains may support the immune system, and are associated with reduced incidence, duration and severity of flu-like symptoms and flu-like sickness in children and adults.1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
Read Also: Best Organic Probiotic For Infants
Why Immunity Probiotics Are Important For Your Health
We have more bacterial cells than human cells in our body. A lot more.
Our body is full of bacteria cells – we are a holobiont indeed! We have around 100 trillion cells in our body, which is a lot more than our human cells . Our friendly bacteria live inside us in a lot of different organs, from mouth to skin…but, guess what? The majority of these bacteria – up to 80% – live in our gut . Some bacteria are good for our health , others are harmful and usually responsible for various infections and diseases, .
Our immune system resides in our gut, too.
Our microbiome, which is the complex ecosystem of our bacteria, is not alone in our gut, many of our immune cells reside in our gut as well.
Our immune cells have the objective to find and kill pathogens – harmful bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In a nutshell, the mechanism is as follows: when immune cells find a pathogen, they generate antibodies that, together with phagocytes, kill the pathogens.
Did you know that our gut microbiome is the personal trainer of our immune system?
The connection between our microbiome and the immune system is evident.
On the one hand, our good bacteria can protect our bodies against pathogens. If we keep our microbiome healthy, it reduces the chance that pathogen will attacks us. That’s why nurturing our gut ecosystem with good bacteria strains and a balanced diet is one of the better ways to increase our immune response!
So, why probiotics are important for your immune health?
How Probiotics And The Immune System Are Connected
Probiotics include many types of good bacteria that provide health benefits when consumed. And while new studies continue to explore exactly how probiotics work, we do know two things for sure:
- As the body loses good bacteria, the body and immune system suffer. You can lose this good bacteria when you take antibiotics and from an unhealthy diet.
- Probiotics work to balance the good and bad bacteria found in your body. And with a properly balanced digestive system, the body works as it should.
Lets examine the process deeper. In your gut, there are hundreds of different microorganism types. In fact, some estimations figure the gut may be home to more than 1,000 microorganisms. These microorganisms include bacteria, viruses and yeasts, but bacteria or gut flora make up the majority.
Most of this gut flora is located in your colon or large intestine, which makes up the final part of your digestive tract. Your gut flora is necessary for many vital functions required for good health. For example, studies show that gut flora manufacturers several vitamins, including Vitamin B and Vitamin K.
Gut flora also transforms fiber into short-chain fats, such as acetate, propionate and butyrate. These fats feed your gut wall and are needed for metabolic functions. As the fats stimulate the immune system, they also strengthen the gut wall. Research shows that a strong gut wall can prevent unwanted intruders from entering the body and stimulating an immune response.
Also Check: Culturelle Probiotic Safe For Pregnancy