Probiotics for Immune Support: How Does Gut Health Support Immune Health?
Probiotics for Immune Support
This year more than ever it’s important to rev up your immune system before the cold months arrive. One of the best ways to increase immunity is to support the microbiome. This is your gut, which is where one hundred trillion bacteria live, weighing in at approximately four pounds! These “good bacteria” are called probiotics. Their job is to help your digestive system function optimally so you can easily digest protein and lactose, and move food and toxins through the GI tract.
And . . . because the majority of our immune system is housed in the gut, maintaining a healthy microbiome is essential for overall health and wellness.1 So, many don’t realize, but you can use probiotics for immune support. It’s never too soon to support the trillions of bacteria in your gut in order to stave off the inevitable colds and flus that arrive with fall and winter.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the “good bacteria” or flora that populate the microbiome. The trillions of diverse cells, including good bacteria, bad bacteria, and viruses constitute our microbiota, and the genes they encode is known as our microbiome. All these cells interact with each other and with their host, and have a great impact on our health and physiology. In fact, the microbiome has been referred to as our “forgotten organ.” The microbiota are in a constant balancing act trying to make sure the probiotics outweigh the number of harmful bacteria.And, not only can you use probiotics for immune support, but also brain health. This phenomenon of gut health impacting brain health is known as the gut-brain axis.
How Do Probiotics Work?
These microorganisms help to:
1. Digest lactose, a large sugar molecule made up of glucose and galactose.
2. Digest protein. Probiotics support protease and peptidase activity and the absorption of amino acids in the digestive system.4
3. Regulate bowel motility and optimize GI tract function.
4. Aid in the absorption of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and manganese; and produce several types of acid (lactic, acetic and formic), which lower the intestinal pH and discourage harmful organisms that thrive in alkaline environments, especially yeast.
5. Since our immune system is housed within the digestive tract, maintaining a healthy gut is essential to overall health.
If your digestive system is compromised, it’s difficult to absorb the nutrients necessary for cellular growth and regeneration. Likewise, it is difficult to efficiently eliminate waste. Accumulated toxins can make you feel sluggish or mentally foggy. Worse, it can result in an inefficient immune system.
How Long Does it Take for Probiotics to Work?
That depends. If you have tourista, taking a probiotic will start resolving the issue pretty quickly. If your digestion works well, it might take 2 to 3 weeks for you to see a difference in how you feel. However, If your immune system struggles to protect you from colds and flu, it could take longer. Depending on the reason you’re taking probiotics, the time it takes for you notice a difference will vary between a few days to a few months. The key is to stick with it.
There are many studies showing that probiotics works to improve overall health.3 For instance, Japanese scientists conducted a 12-week study with 136 men and women who had colds or influenza-like respiratory illnesses at least four times in the previous year. The group that received probiotics had less than half the number of upper respiratory illnesses than the placebo group.2
What is The Best Way to Replenish Your Probiotics?
The best way to replenish your probiotics is to take a well-researched and trusted supplement, like GutProtect. In addition, you should eat fermented foods such as:
9. Natto (a fermented soy product like tempeh and miso)
Recipe for Tempeh Stir Fry
Makes 4 servings. Prep time, 20 minutes. Cook time 10 minutes.
Tempeh is a fermented soy product that’s made of cooked, dehulled soybeans that are inoculated with mold and packed and incubated until the beans are bound together by the mycelium. (Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus.) It sounds as little gross, but this process produces prebiotics, which feed the probiotics in your gut. It delicious and healthful, and is also high in iron and calcium.
- 8 ounces of tempeh, cubed into bite sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons of ginger paste or grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons of garlic paste or 3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
- 4 tablespoons of soy sauce or coconut aminos (or to taste)
- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of non-GMO cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon of nut butter
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil, avocado or coconut oil
- 4 cups of chopped veggies (broccoli, carrot, onions, green beans, etc.—your choice)
- Serve over rice or quinoa
1. In a blender, combine the ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, cornstarch, and nut butter. Or whisk together in a bowl.
2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil over medium heat. Add the tempeh and cook for about 8 minutes, tossing every few minutes so all sides are browned. Spoon in 2 tablespoons of the sauce and cook until the tempeh is fully coated and starts to caramelize. Remove to a clean plate and return skillet to the heat.
3. Add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and cook the veggies in the skillet until done. Then, pour in the remaining sauce and tempeh. Toss to coat everything and continue to cook until sauce thickens and everything is nicely coated in the sauce. Cook about 2-3 more minutes.
4. Serve over rice or quinoa.
Enjoy this tasty meal!