Probiotics for Immune Health

Did you know that around 70% of our immune system lives in the lining of our intestinal tract? 70%! That means our immune system operates at optimal function when our gut is healthy. So, how do we balance our gut? Probiotics.

 
Many of us have taken probiotics at one time or another with limited benefit. Proper dosing and quality are crucial to their effectiveness. Their benefits are many and include increasing nutrient absorption, protecting the gastrointestinal tract, and reinforcing our immune system.

Read more about what you can do to Boost Your Immune System in 6 Easy Steps

 

So, Why Should We Care about Probiotics?

 
Reach in your pocket or the change tray in your car and pick up a dime. Scan the coin and take a moment to appreciate the thickness of it. This is all that stands between your immune system and any pathogens, food particles, and toxins you may encounter. A dime and your gut lining share the same thickness, 1 millimeter! 
 
Unfortunately, our gut lining, or mucosa, is not as tough as a dime. It is actually quite sensitive and permeable. 
 
Though the lining of the gut is very thin, the size of the gut is quite large. In fact, if your intestines were laid out flat, it would be the size of at least half of a tennis court!  
 
With the size and permeability of your gut in mind, consider what that means for nourishing and protecting it
 
If our gut is in disorder, we can feel sluggish, bloated, constipated, nauseous, nervous, and have diarrhea or pain. And, in severe cases feel feverish, inflamed, unable to eat, and dehydrated. Ignoring signs of gut dysbiosis for too long may lead to serious issues! So, what do we do?
 

How Do We Protect Ourselves?

 
Dietary intervention with quality foods is the gold standard in protecting our immune function. This is true of both gut and immune health. 
 
But, many of us are still susceptible to pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and more, even when clean eating and exercising are part of our lifestyle. Plus, the antibiotic Glyphosate (Roundup) is sprayed on all the non-organic crops across the country. So, the chances of succumbing to gut permeability are high across all ages and health statuses. For more on the damaging effects of Glyphosate and tips to guard yourself against it, click here.   
 
Even with the best of intentions, the cards seem to be stacked against us. The best defense we can give our immune system and gut are probiotics. Their cousin, spores, are also worth mentioning. Probiotics help defend, strengthen, and attack when our system is under threat. Acting on many fronts, probiotics have been shown to (1):
 
  • Increase cytokine production (immune response).
 
  • Decrease inflammation both from attackers and our own immune system.
 
  • Boost immunoglobulin (IgG) production which helps increase killer cells and anti-antigen B cells.
 
  • Increase IgA which protects the mucosal lining.
 
  • Increase interleukin 10 – an anti-inflammatory cytokine that helps regulate the immune response.
 
  • Fend off bacteria like E-coli, responsible for most UTIs, Streptococcus, and h-pylori.
 
  • Open the channel of detox pathways.
 
  • Improve elimination, lessen gas, and improve absorption of nutrients. 
 
  • Optimize brain chemistry for depression and anxiety improvement.

 

Even with the best of intentions, the cards seem to be stacked against us. The best defense we can give our immune system and gut are supplemental probiotics. Click To Tweet
 

What Probiotic Should We Take?

 
Many products claim to aid in gut health. But, manufacturing with low potency, or worse, exposure to heat while shipping or storing makes them far less effective. 
 
There are countless questionable claims about improving gut health. Yogurt that claims it can untangle knots in the intestines. Discount probiotics advertising an end to all forms of gastrointestinal troubles. Many of these products might offer minimal effects. But, nothing like you would achieve with state of the art probiotics.   
 
The challenge is finding what suits your needs. Speaking with experienced, trained individuals makes all the difference. You can also learn from one of the nation’s leading authorities on probiotics, Brenda Watson. Check out her interview with The Holistic Navigator here.
 

Things to Look for When Selecting Probiotics:

 
  • Guaranteed potency through the date of expiration.

    Many companies guarantee potency at the time of manufacture. If this is the case, there is no account for the die-off of the probiotics. For example, if a product has 10 billion CFU (colony-forming units) at time of manufacturing but is not guaranteed through expiration, you could lose half or more. Less CFU, equals less effectiveness. Again, it’s not what the label claims it has for a CFU count. It’s a question of do they survive. That’s why it’s important to pick the best brands so you’re not wasting money.

    For most people, choosing a probiotic in the 10-60 billion range is adequate. If you are on, or have recently been on, antibiotics, that would require more to help replenish your gut with healthy bacteria.

  • Refrigeration is not required but it may help.

    It used to be the case that probiotics should be refrigerated. Now, there are some fantastic shelf-stable probiotics. But, without proper packaging, it may be a waste of money. Some of the best shelf-stable probiotics are individually sealed in air-tight packaging. These are in individual foil packets so you don’t have to worry about the whole bottle being opened. For brands that don’t individually seal each capsule, the good ones will guarantee potency through expiration so as long as you follow the storage directions, you will get the CFU count you are paying for. 

 
If worried about the potency, a refrigerated probiotic may ease your concerns. Also, spores are not heat or acid sensitive. Spores are a different type of probiotic that can survive in the harshest conditions. Spores help nurture your existing probiotics in your gut to help grow new probiotics. Think of them as fertilizer for a garden. 
 
  • Delivery method.

    Look for words like “timed released,” “Enteric coating or shield,” and, “delayed release.” Probiotics are killed on their way down into our intestines. With the proper capsule, you are likely to get the best results. 

 
Take the necessary steps to improve your immune health by taking care of your gut. 
You can buy your probiotics here. We only carry the good stuff.
 

Want to Learn More?

 
Still have questions about this topic? Reach out to us today to see how we can help you achieve optimal health and vitality. Our experts are here to help you live your best life. But, please understand that we are not medical professionals. And, we cannot offer medical treatment. Please visit your medical professional for medical advice.
 
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References and sources are numbered and linked within the article.
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