Gut Bacteria Modulate Your Immune System
It’s only been in recent years that scientists have come to recognize the importance of gut bacteria in modulating the immune system. More than 70% of the human immune system resides in the gut.
In addition, the intestinal immune system contains more antibody-producing cells than the rest of the body put together. As a result, fluid secreted from the digestive system (such as mucus and saliva) is as rich as breast milk in health-supporting and disease-preventing factors.
A poorly functioning immune system is at the root of many conditions that aggressively target aging adults. For example, too little immune response makes us vulnerable to the infections that claim the lives of so many older adults. Yet a poorly balanced (overactive) immune system can produce chronic inflammation—contributing to a litany of age-related disorders such as diabetes, cancer, and metabolic syndrome.
Probiotics help restore the balance of your gut microbiome, and can strengthen its ability to interact with your immune system in many ways. These friendly bacteria stimulate a healthy immune system, boosting populations of cells that seek out and destroy infecting organisms and cancers.
While probiotics promote immune balance and strength, scientists have found that a specific blend of unique probiotics is especially effective at blocking flu, cold, and other respiratory viruses.
Supporting the Body’s Secretory Immune System
Colds and flu are often treated with medications designed to reduce only the symptoms of these respiratory infections. These drugs can’t activate the body’s own immune response to fend off invading bacteria or viruses.
That’s what makes probiotics different. Probiotics provide defense against the common cold and flu by activating the body’s own immune response.
The immune system makes proteins called antibodies that fight bacteria, viruses, and toxins. One of the most common antibodies, called secretory IgA (immunoglobulin A), is found in mucous membranes. IgA acts as the body’s built-in security system within mucous membranes that line the nose and upper respiratory tract. When IgA levels are adequate, these antibodies can prevent cold and flu viruses from entering the body through the nasal mucous and respiratory tract.
Probiotics Block Virus Replication Cycle
Having adequate IgA levels is critical because these antibodies target both viral and bacterial invaders in the upper respiratory tract, deactivating them, and presenting them for destruction by the immune system. This IgA activity prevents cold and flu viruses from gaining a foothold and wreaking havoc on the respiratory tract. Once a flu virus infects cells, it can then replicate out of control.
To counteract this problem, researchers tested a unique oral probiotic blend designed to reduce the risk of respiratory infections by enhancing secretory immunity.
Secretory immunity is the production of specialized antibodies such as IgA in the mucous membranes lining the nose and portions of the windpipe and lungs. By increasing IgA secretion and breaking the virus replication cycle, we can prevent colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.
The ability of an immune-regulating probiotic cocktail to fight off microbes, including viruses that attack the respiratory tract, appears to be due to stimulation of IgA.
Several placebo-controlled, human clinical trials have demonstrated just how powerfully this unique probiotic blend works to prevent infection by cold and flu viruses.
Credit to: Michael Downey | www.everydayhealth.com