Probiotics and Gut and Immune Health

A Healthy intestinal track is vital to good health.  80% of your immune system is actually living right in your digestive tract.  Yes you read that right!  Like it or not, about one hundred trillion bacteria live inside you containing around 500 different species of live bacteria and they weigh around 2 to 3 pounds!  If you have poor/bad intestinal flora (bacteria) then your health WILL suffer since it comprises so much of your immune system!

If you have any health condition like allergies, asthma, fibromyalgia, anxiety, etc. then you need to look to your intestines as one the first things to addressed!  If you have ever taken antibiotics or suffer any intestinal issues like constipation, diarhea, IBS, or worse then you NEED to address the state of your intestinal flora!  No likes to talk about it but it is a vital part of your health and needs to be dealt with!

Use of probiotics for immune health and disease prevention is backed by tremendous amounts of solid evidence and unbiased scientific research.  Probiotics is a Greek word that literally means "for life"..the opposite of antibiotics.  They are indeed living bacteria (flora) that populate your intestines and help you digest your food, give off vital nutrients and vitamins to you in the process, protect your intestinal lining and protect you from the bad pathogens from proliferating and making you ill.

Our modern culture has lost the traditional ways of making sure we keep our intestinal flora properly balanced.  Fermented foods are part of nearly every traditional culture.  Things like saurkraut, KimChi, Yogurt, Kefir and other fermented foods helped to preserve food in the past and were also used to help peoples digestion and therefore contributed to the intestinal health of past generations and keeping immune systems healthier.

Our modern day fare of sterilized, pasterized, prepackaged, preservative laden, etc. food has the opposite effects on intestinal flora and disrupts the natural good beneficial bacteria count.

When a baby is born their Intestinal Tract is completely devoid of any bacterial flora.  Their intestinal flora starts to colonize from the moment their born and their best dose of beneficial bacteria comes from the flora rich breastmilk they recieve when they are nursed.  If bottle fed they will have a much harder time establishing the proper flora and supplemental probiotics should be given since in addition to missing out on the many other immune building componenets of breastmilk, the lack of good bacteria has been linked to many many ailments including allergies, asthma, and other chronic illness.

The aim of probiotic use in prevention of allergic conditions at the infant stage is to restrict the growth of damaging microorganisms, to strengthen the gut and immune defenses, and to stop “hypersensitivity reactions.” The groups of probiotics most often used are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.  Studies have shown these to regulate inflammation and oversee “the development of the immune system during the critical period of life when these functions are immature and inexperienced and the risk of allergic disease is heightened,” says Dr. Kuitunen.  Mixed strains have shown drastically better protection than single strain supplementation.  The mother should also supplement during pregnancy for greater protection.