Probiotic bacteria are living organisms that can inhabit the gut and contribute to the health of the host. Our gut microbes (our microbioma) are responsible for thousands of different blood metabolites and play a crucial role in many aspects of human health, from digestive and immune health, protecting against pathogens and to potentially influencing mood and cognitive health. It is also well known that Probiotics may improve a person’s health by supporting their immune function from within the gut itself.
How do they do this?
One of the major mechanisms of probiotic action is through the regulation of host immune response. Without getting too technical, our microbiome, if in good shape, does 2 things:
- Improves host immunity by regulating the functions of systemic and mucosal immune cells and intestinal epithelial cells, as shown in this study. Thus, probiotics show therapeutic potential for diseases, including several immune response-related diseases such as allergy, eczema, viral infection, and potentiating vaccination responses.
- Promotes a range of beneficial nutrients such as short chain fatty acids (SCFAs such as Acetate, Propionate and Butryate), as discussed in this article. SCFAs are generated when the right fibre or Prebiotic is fermented in the colon. These SCFAs target specific organs and it is believed they can modulate a number of health aspects, including supporting a healthy immune system.
Can probiotics potentially support immune health by enhancing the effects of vaccination against the flu?
While more studies are needed there seems to be potential for a probiotic and prebiotic combination to enhance or support vaccination against flu. Two studies illustrate this potential:
- In one study, it was found that potentiating the effects of vaccination by probiotics has emerged as a possible benefit. This trial showed that taking probiotic/prebiotic combinations after administration of live-attenuated influenza vaccine increased protection rates against the virus with no side-effects reported for the participants.
- In another analysis, researchers found that the supplementation with probiotics or prebiotics before influenza vaccination increased the immunogenicity to specific influenza viral strains, including the H1N1, H3N2, and B strains.
Clearly more work needs to be done in this space to advance our knowledge as the science is not well advanced.
Why is a healthy gut important?
When talking about a healthy gut, people are actually referring to what is called a microbiome – more plainly defined as a vast collection of good and bad bacteria and other microorganisms. These ‘microbes’ are found in a “pocket” of your large intestine called the cecum, and they are referred to as the gut microbiome.
You may not know, but your gut is one of your body’s biggest immune defense systems. “A huge proportion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract,” says Dan Peterson, assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
What can you do to promote a healthy gut?
Wanting to know how to help boost your immune system via your gut? Eat a diet that’s rich in probiotics and prebiotics!
Eat foods high in prebiotics and probiotics
Probiotic and prebiotic foods are not only good for improved gut health, but they also help strengthen your immune system. Probiotic foods contain live bacteria, which help maintain the balance between your gut microbiota and your body’s immune system. Probiotic bacteria can be found in a range of foods – from milk to yoghurt, to cheese. They can also be found in fermented non-dairy foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented vegetables.
On the other side of a healthy gut is a diet rich in prebiotic foods. While prebiotic foods do not contain live ingredients, they do in fact help to improve your gut health and growth of healthy bacteria through their abundance of fibre and other healthy ingredients. For foods that are rich in fibre, go no further than fruits and vegetables! Opting for foods like beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds also helps feed your microbes a healthy dose of prebiotics, which in turn helps build your immune system.
Take a probiotic supplement
If you’re wanting to know how to help boost your immune system via your gut through other alternatives, try taking a supplement!
As you may know by now, your digestive health plays a significant role in sustaining your immune system. By strengthening your microbiome through the ingestion of probiotic and prebiotic supplements, the cells, proteins, and tissues in your gut will shield more effectively against any harmful bacteria and toxins.
TrueForm offers a great range of probiotic and prebiotic formulas that are rich in vitamins and minerals which assist in maintaining a healthy immune system and gastrointestinal system. Probiotic supplements from TrueForm are a great way to maintain your gut health, especially if you’re concerned about your diet and microbiome. Taking a supplement can benefit you in a variety of ways, from your digestive health to your immune function.
If you’re wanting to know how to help boost your immune system via your gut, don’t go past TrueForm’s extensive range of probiotic and prebiotic formulas.