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How Probiotics Help Your Immune System

Getting sick is something that many people actively avoid throughout the year, especially during the cold and flu season. While it’s impossible to prevent a “bug” from settling in, there are plenty of things we can do to reduce the chances of activating a virus or bacterial infection. One key contributor to a robustly responsive immune system is your gut (gastrointestinal system).

As much as 70% of the immune system is found within the gut, which explains in large part why an imbalance of resident bacteria here can affect resistance to virus activation and bacterial flourishing. Restoring colonies of probiotics that defend against viruses and bacteria is an immune-positive activity.

What is the Immune System?

The immune system is extremely complex -- essentially it is a network of specialized cells, organs and proteins that interact with one another with a single goal -- to protect the human body from bacteria, viruses and foreign substances. These pathogens, as well as parasites and fungi, are neutralized by the immune system in healthy individuals. The core of the immune system lies in the bone marrow where cells originate. Once “born,” these cells migrate throughout the body via blood and peripheral tissues, entering a system of vessels known as the lymphatic system.

When your immune system is functioning properly, you know it because you generally feel good. When the immune system is compromised in some way, however, the body is subjected to a variety of different responses – underactivity and hyperactivity of the immune system leads to development of numerous health issues and conditions. For example, common allergies are often linked with non-threatening immune dysfunction. Hence, restoring probiotic balance may help lessen allergic reactions.

Probiotics Help the Immune System


The Immune System and Your Gut

The gut, also called the “second brain” due to the large presence of the neurotransmitters it houses, acts as a barrier against antigens that come typically from food. It has a large influence on the functionality of the immune system, as does the microflora it holds.

With over 500 different species of bacteria residing in the gut, the microbiome is a delicate balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria, all of which influence overall health and wellbeing. It’s normal for bad bacteria to exist to some extent in the body — they typically make up 15% of the microbiome and are held in check by the good bacteria that support immune function. Sometimes, however, numbers of good bacteria can diminish allowing more room for the bad ones to proliferate. This imbalanced microbiome state compromises immune function and creates opportunities for issues ranging from mood disorders to irritable bowel to colds to develop.

Fortunately, bolstering the restoration of microflora balance in the gut by taking probiotics will help sustain overall well-being and resistance to developing health conditions and issues.

The immunity-boosting effects of probiotics begin in the small intestine, which contains numerous lymph nodes. In some cases, inflammation in the intestines actually serves a purpose to disarm harmful bacteria. When microflora balance is disrupted, this can cause harmful inflammation that may result in chronic infections and allergies.

Probiotics work to keep the gut healthy, adding significant amounts of good bacteria to the microbiome that cannot only reduce unnecessary inflammation in the small intestine but also modulate the immune system and enhance its functionality. Probiotics reach the gut where they help to replace important flora that are crucial to forming a barrier against microbes and pathogens in the epithelial tissues of the intestine. If gut flora is imbalanced, these tissues do not properly regenerate, leaving the immune system vulnerable and unable to perform optimally.

 

Probiotics for Immune System Health

While fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and miso can all help to add good bacteria to the gut, a probiotic supplement may be necessary for those who suffer from symptoms of microflora imbalance. There are numerous different strains of probiotics that are well-suited to bolstering the immune system. Below are several strains with tremendous scientific support validating their usefulness in promoting healthy immune function.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG  

There are few probiotics strains that have been quite as widely used and studied as L. rhamnosus GG, which is one of the go-to options improving immune system health. It has been shown to reduce the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in infants, and studies investigating its effects on allergies are currently underway. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is sometimes available in supplement form as an isolated strain, though it is more frequently combined with other strains for a more broad-spectrum approach.

Lactobacillus acidophilus

Another member of the lactobacillus family, L. acidophilus is most widely known among consumers. It first gained attention from research showing a potential relationship between supplementing with the strain and immune-related responses to vaccines and certain allergens. Though conflicting evidence exists, L. acidophilus remains one of the most commonly supplemented probiotics strains today.

Lactobacillus paracasei

Yet one more subspecies of Lactobacillus, paracasei, L. casei 431 has been shown to have a positive immune response when the body was challenged with vaccination in a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. This is good news for those people who may feel some symptoms after receiving flu vaccines.

Bifidobacterium animalis

One study found a potential link between B. animalis supplementation (specifically with a subspecies, lactis GGCC 420) and an increased cellular immune response. Another subspecies—B. lactis BB-12—has also shown promise in increasing immune response.

Probiotics – along with healthy habits – are undeniably a powerful tool to support optimal immune function, and research continues to reveal specific immune-support benefits.


About Innovia Nectar

Innovia Nectar is the first probiotic exclusively using innovative technology that guarantees an excellent probiotic shelf stability for 24 months. Unlike other probiotics, it’s designed with a micro-shot system that separates the powder probiotic from the plant extract- and vitamin-fortified liquid until the moment the packaging seal is broken and the two are combined. This unique system keeps the probiotic fresh, dry and stable until the moment of consumption.

SOFAR Americas, Inc. is owned by Italian pharmaceutical manufacturing firm SOFAR S.p.A., who has 45 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical and Nutritional field producing branded pharmaceuticals, medical devices and dietary supplements of the highest quality. Expertise, flexibility, and innovation are the guiding values and allow the design, development, production and distribution of the innovative products for the health and the well-being of the people.

 

 

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