Probiotics can boost your body's immune defenses. Known as your microbiome, healthy bacteria protect the body from pathogens and help you fight of illness before it takes hold.
Eighty Percent of Your Immune System Resides in Your Gut
The gastrointestinal tract contains 80 percent of all antibody-producing immune cells. Plus, the tiny bacteria that line the GI tract are a vital part of the body’s immune defense system in their own right.
Beneficial bacteria release antibacterial substances that protect against invading pathogens. They also increase levels of Natural Killer immune cells and lower inflammation that is associated with diseases such as cancer (1).
Recent studies have tested the effect of bolstering the immune system with probiotics. For example, probiotics raise immunoglobulin and T cells that fight off disease (2). They also suppress the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut.
Short-term probiotic supplementation of 3 to 6 weeks can enhance immune capacity in healthy elderly adults (1, 3, 4), raising phagocyte immune cells that kill pathogens. Probiotics also reduce cold symptoms in children and adults (5). In one study, the risk of catching the common cold was 2.6 times lower in elderly subjects who consumed probiotics versus a placebo (6).
Probiotics Support An Aging Immune System
Aging is a condition that can be positively impacted by probiotic use. Studies indicate that probiotics can slow or reverse age-related declines in immune function (6). One study found that a probiotic improved the immune response following oral vaccination in healthy adults (7). Supplementation led to a higher levels of antibodies and immunoglobulins, allowing for faster response to invading pathogens.
In a meta-analysis on the effects of probiotic supplementation in the elderly, probiotic use increased activity of several immune cells, enhancing immune function in seniors (6). A second analysis found that probiotic use reduced the risk of infections by 10 percent in older adults (8, 9).
Can I Benefit?
Anyone who wants GI support for the immune system may benefit from probiotics. Probiotics are especially important in malnutrition, such as undernourishment, obesity, and aging. They may be useful for individuals with metabolic syndrome, GI problems, or following a round of antibiotics. Probiotics can offset damage from alcohol, medications, or painkillers, including over-the-counter meds like Tylenol.
How To Get Probiotics:
A healthy microbiome requires a healthy lifestyle. You can get probiotics from yogurt and other fermented foods, however, these bacteria are not guaranteed to be alive or contain the species of bacteria that is protective. When supplementing, you need to find a product that contains live microflora bacteria. Many products are only guaranteed at the time of manufacture, which means that the majority may have died off by the time you get around to taking them. Instead, only buy probiotics that are guaranteed through the date of expiration.
Picking Probiotics For The Immune System
We offer several Probiotic options:
Mega Proflora provides a high dose of 100 billion CFUs per capsule for robust immune support. It is most appropriate for immune-compromised individuals or those who are already suffering an illness.
Proflora Excellence is a great daily use probiotic that provides 30 billion CFUs per capsule to support GI health and immune function.
Proflora Excellence SB contains the therapeutic yeast S. Boulardii that can be taken during a round of antibiotics to support the immune system during a GI illness.
Proflora Chewables is a tasty grape-flavored chewable probiotic that is great for kids who need immune support.