Did you know that probiotics can help prevent the flu? Flu season is in full swing. With the temperature dropping every week, staying healthy doesn’t just mean taking a few extra vitamin C tablets. Your immune system is your best defense against flus and colds. Adding in probiotics can help protect your body against foreign invaders in the environment.
Gut health is vital to your immune system and your body’s ability to fight off the flu or a cold. We often see that so many of our clients have GI tract problems. Without proper absorption, meaning more good bacteria, you can’t absorb all the good for you nutrients and vitamins. During cold and flu season, a healthy gut is your best friend. Your gut houses as much as 80% of your immune cells. Your gastrointestinal tract’s immune system, or your GALT, helps protect your body from foreign invasion and plays a huge roll in killing or removing invaders or illnesses. The bacteria that live in your gut also play a tremendous roll in helping your body fight and get over colds and the flu.
Probiotics: Your Best Defense for Fighting the Flu
Probiotics aren’t just great at preventing or treating lactose intolerance, milk allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and other gut issues. They could be the difference between a strong immune system and one susceptible to colds and flues. New research on certain strains of the helpful bacteria in probiotics show this often under-consumed supplement is your best strategy for boosting your immune system during cold and flu season.
In fact, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the Bifidobacterium bifidum strain in probiotics is particularly effective at fighting off colds and flus. Still, many of the strains of bacteria found in probiotics can help fight and alleviate cold and flu symptoms. For many of us that have to work, a shorter flu could mean the difference between a day out of work or a week.
Your Probiotic Questions Answered
Sure, probiotics are helpful at fighting off viruses, but that still doesn’t answer quite a few of the questions about the supplement many of us have. Here are a few common questions answers:
“Can I get probiotics through foods I eat in my diet?”
The best ways to consumer probiotics are taking a multi-strain supplement or eating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, Sauerkraut and Kefir.
“How do probiotics work in fighting off the flu?”
Probiotics help improve your white blood cells’ ability to engulf and destroy viruses. Probiotics can also help increase your body’s production of specific antibodies that can combat the antigens produced by the cold and flu viruses. Probiotics also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate symptoms and hypersensitivity reactions.
“What are other beneficial effects of probiotics?”
They help your immune system, probiotics help reduce and shorten both the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms. They help fight the bad bacteria in your body leading to lower immunity and digestive tract issues.
“Should probiotics be my only method of fighting off colds and flus?”
Not at all, but they help your body work more effectively. While taking probiotics, also increase your intake of Vitamin C during cold and flu season whether in supplements or through greens and berries rather than through citrus fruits high in sugar. Also talk to your practitioner about what supplements your body needs for improving immunity and overall health.
“What about antibiotics?” Instead of helping, antibiotics actually destroy many of the good bacteria your body needs to fight off illnesses. While they are helpful in the short-term the long term ramifications make your gut weaker and more susceptible to bad bacteria, yeast and often destroy the GI tract. If you have to take an antibiotic, add a probiotic to your diet to help your good gut flora continue to thrive.
“Are probiotics safe for children?”
Probiotics are completely safe for children. A Danish study found probiotics safe and effective in warding off flu symptoms and shortening its duration in children as young as 3 to 5 years old. In fact, probiotics are most effective at fighting colds and the flu in children.
Do you take probitoics already? How are they helping your immunity and overall health? Let us know! Stay healthy and happy this flu season.
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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