Probiotics for a healthy and balanced immune system

According to a medical journal published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health addressing probiotics and immune health, the advantageous effects of probiotics are demonstrated against many diseases.

This article will address the connection between immune system health and probiotic bacteria. There are many benefits that the good bacteria have on the human body [link to What Is A Probiotic And How Would It Affect Children's General Health?] , in this article we handle the different types of strains and how they help you and your children achieve a healthy and well-balanced immune system.

Why Probiotics?

Probiotics are live non-pathogenic microorganisms – commonly known as good bacteria. Many of which are in the human gut, where they live in a symbiotic relationship. Probiotics are known to help with issues like the common cold, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and more. Studies reveal probiotics to have therapeutic potential for diseases, including several immune response-related disorders, such as viral infection, eczema, allergies and increase the likelihood of vaccination responses.

Probiotics address both disease prevention and treatment. However, some clinical results regarding the application of the bacteria are in the early stages and are being researched.

Why Is Gut Bacteria So Important?

Essentially, we are more bacteria than human.

The human body is packed with microorganisms, made up of trillions of bacteria, yeasts, and viruses. The human gut alone contains tens of trillions of microorganisms (collectively referred to as 'intestinal flora' or 'gut microbiota'), with at least a thousand species of bacteria.

For every one cell, an additional nine bacterial cells are residing in the body, which theoretically makes us only 10% human.

While each body hosts a unique composition of gut microbiota, each person's microbiota performs the same physiological functions, including assisting in the production of vitamins and maintaining a smooth-running digestive system.

Having the correct amount of vitamins and minerals in your child’s system is essential as deficiency can cause various health risks. Vitamin D, for instance, is crucial for children’s growth. Read more on the importance of vitamin D here [insert link to The Importance Of Vitamin D For Healthy Growth].

Did you know that 70% of the immune system resides in the intestines?

The gut is an essential player within the body's immune system. Its job is to bar anything harmful from entering and absorb all the goodness from your diet and supplements.

How Do Probiotics Help The Immune System?

How can we be sure that microbiomes can sustainably do their job and keep our children's immune system healthy?

By making sure there are more good bacteria in the gut than bad (a state called symbiosis) you are helping your child maintain a healthy immune system.

In the case by which there are more harmful pathogens than good (dysbiosis), health will decline. Therefore, a healthy gut makes for a healthy immune system [insert link to Facts On How To Maintain A Healthy Immune System] and vice-versa.

There are various methods of maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria within the gut, including a healthy diet and frequent exercise. Taking a probiotic is an easy way to stay on top of your and your family's health.

Which Probiotics Are Good For The Immune System And How Do They Help With Preventing Diseases?

Research reveals specific strains of bacteria to positively impact immune function, in turn reducing the probability of your little ones catching a cold.

Which probiotic strains give the immune system the 'boost' it needs?

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus Gg ("LGG")

Studies put forward that LGG affects gene activity responsible for gut adhesion and motility (the ability of fluid and organisms to move), the effect of which promotes positive interactions between the gut and the 'good' bacteria already residing within.

This strain is closely associated with healthy immune system functioning. Plenty of studies link it to a reduction in risk of respiratory tract illness and infections, promoting gut health as a whole and reducing digestive upsets.

Lactobacillus Paracasei (“L. paracasei”)

Like the previously mentioned strain, studies suggest that L.paracasei promotes a healthy digestive system and boosts immune system functioning. One study linked the strain to a reduction in the duration of flu symptoms by three days.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus ("L. acidophilus")

  1. acidophilus dons the packaging of nearly every brand of yoghurt - and for a good reason.

This strain of bacteria assists with the digestion of lactose (a sugar found in milk) and a myriad of studies have revealed a correlation between it and the prevention as well as the reduction of abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhoea, in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

Additionally, studies have linked the consumption of L.acidophilus to the prevention and reduction of cold symptoms. In the study, 326 children partook in the strain over six months which reduced coughing by 41% and fever by 53%.

Lactobacillus Fermentum ("L. fermentum")

An isolated microorganism strain that is effective in treating allergies in children.

Graph of Lactobacillus Fermentum

Source: Google Patents

Bifidobacterium Longum (“B. longum”)

This probiotic strain is non-pathogenic and is often added to food products. B. longum BL-G301 is present in the human gastrointestinal tract and it is considered one of the earliest colonizers of the gastrointestinal tract of infants. Its production of lactic acid prevents the growth of pathogenic organisms.

Lactobacillus Plantarum (“L. plantarum”)

This probiotic strain is commonly found in the human gut, saliva, and certain foods. It's present in foods such as olive brine, kimchi, sauerkraut and sourdough bread. L. plantarum LP-G18 harbors anti-inflammatory properties that are known to help with autoimmune diseases.

These are revealed by studies to be just four of the most effective probiotic strains in the battle to maintain and boost the immune system. If you are looking to increase your probiotic intake, there are daily supplements for children and adults.