Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to boost your Immune System naturally with Probiotics

The time-course of an immune response begins w...Image via Wikipedia
Winter has arrived and most of the United States has already been confronted with lower than normal temperatures: the East Coast has just been bombarded with the blizzard of  '10 and the West Coast having been pounded with flooding rains.  Ready or not, the cold weather, the sniffs, sniffles and coughs are here to stay - at least for awhile. What can you do to strengthen the immune system to fight off any and all of the little opportunistic bugs that might come your way? Take heed that you don't have to fall victim.  Your immunity is in your hands.  Find out that you can do to protect yourself and family.

Probiotics and your immunity

The first step is to strengthen the digestive system.  Without the GI system working in tip-top shape, the immune system does not have the raw materials to fight the bugs out there. A good starting place is probiotics.

Probiotics exist naturally in the digestive system.  They maintain the balance between beneficial bacteria and the barmful bacteria.  This is caused microflora. There are over 400 types of probiotics that contribute to a healthy GI system by reducing the growth of harmful bacteria.  The largest group is lactobacillus acidophilus  This is the probiotic that is found in yogurt.  In building immunity, probiotics perform a number of vital functions:

  • Probiotics increase the number of lymphocytes in an individual's system which help to ward off harmful bacteria and germs.
  • They stimulate phagocytic activity, which is the WBC (white blood cells) ability to consume harmful disease causing material.
  • Probiotics help to kill viral cells and helps keep an individual from getting ill.
  • Probiotics help to restore the beneficial bacteria that are killed when taking antibiotics.  This therefore strengthens the immune system. ("Probiotics" http://www.webmd.com/)
To jump start your immunity it is a good idea to start out with cultured foods that are high in probiotics such as fermented milk, buttermilk, miso and tempeh. Also, the lignans which include flaxseed, carrots, spinach, cauliflower and broccoli.

If you choose to take supplements. Bifidobacterium infantis as well as lactobacillus are good for fighting disease.  Most probiotic supplements however, do contain a combination of probiotics. Before starting any new supplement, it is wise to check with your primary health care provider.
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