It is generally accepted nowadays that probiotic microorganisms are helpful for digestion, but people are just beginning to understand that these ‘friendly microorganisms’ can support the immune system as well. For example, one great way to maintain your children’s health in the back to school period is by supporting their gut with a high quality kid’s probiotic.
The gut can be seen as the gateway to a healthy body. When we have good numbers of friendly bacteria in the gut, we perform our digestion with ease, effectively absorbing vitamins and minerals into the bloodstream. But that is not all probiotics help with!
Probiotics in the gut provide a ‘Barrier Effect’ against pathogens.(1) When the body has a healthy balance of ‘friendly bacteria’ or probiotics, these can help to protect the body from ‘bad bacteria’ or pathogens, by coating the gut wall lining and competing with pathogens for space. When probiotics limit the ability of pathogens to adhere to the gut wall lining, this automatically limits the bad bacteria’s ability to grow, as bacteria need to bind before they can multiply and proliferate.
Probiotics also stimulate both the body’s innate immune response & acquired immune response. Statistically over 70% of the body’s immunity is based in the gut, and our friendly bacteria play a significant role in the gut and in working with the body’s immune system. Specific strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 have been shown in-vitro to stimulate the growth of white blood cells such as macrophages and in turn lymphocytes, which attack foreign microbes and cancer cells. Probiotics have also demonstrated abilities to stimulate the production of useful antibodies such as Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin A (IgA);(2) which plays a critical role in the mucosal immunity.
Prebiotics (the food source for probiotics) such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS) enhance the production of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria as well as to significantly inhibit the growth of cancerous colon cells.
So in a nutshell, probiotics & prebiotics help to support your immunity by fortifying the body’s natural defences, out-populating harmful bacteria, and by promoting the production of immune cells in the body.
OptiBac Probiotics For your child’s health (For children from 6 months to 12 years) is a probiotic & prebiotic made especially for children, and has been clinically trialled for its benefits in immunity. This supplement was found in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to decrease the risk of common childhood infections by 25%.(3) The study was conducted only on children who had suffered recurring digestive and immune infections throughout the previous winter; hence showing even greater potential for supporting immunity in children. Three month daily supplementation with For your child’s health was found to significantly lessen the risk of infections, and reduce days missed from school. It is also worth noting that the types of infections reduced were not only gastrointestinal, but also ear-nose-throat (ENT).
It’s also important to support your own gut health as well as your children’s. OptiBac Probiotics For daily immunity is a blend of both super antioxidants and probiotics. Vitamin C, Grape Seed, Green Tea and Pine Bark Extract are all natural & organic ingredients which help support your immunity by inhibiting the production of free radicals which can harm body cells & compromise immunity. Additionally, the probiotics help the body to absorb the antioxidants into the bloodstream.
Alternatively For daily wellbeing EXTRA Strength provides a high strength daily probiotic dose, containing 20 billion micro-organisms per capsule. The daily wellbeing EXTRA Strength and the daily immunity can be safely taken together throughout the winter months for added immune support.
Looking after your gut means looking after your immunity too – Easy!
Written by Lou Bowler, BHSc (Naturopathy)
1. Isolauri, E., et al. (2001) Probiotics: Effects on immunity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol.73, No. 2, 445-450s, February 2011.
2. Perdigon, G., Alvarez, S., Rachid, M., Aguero, G & Gobbato, N., (1995) Immune System Stimulation by Probiotics. Journal of Dairy Science. Vol 78, Issue 7. Pp 1597 – 1606.
3. Cazzola, M. et al. (2010) Efficacy of synbiotic supplementation in the prevention of common diseases in children: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study; Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease 0ctober 2010 Vol. 4 no. 5 pp.271- 8.