It has been said close to 80% of our immune system are coming from the gut, or more specifically, little critters in our colons. Probiotics, literally means For-Life in Latin, are microorganisms when consumed (as in a food or a dietary supplement) maintains or restores beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract. These microorganism, usually in amount of trillions, are key elements to help us fight off foreign objects, bacteria, viruses and maintain general health. However, the increased consumption of meats, fats, processed carbohydrates, preservative, and antibiotics can alter our bacterial population(1-3). Also, let’s not forget the overuse of antibiotics as well (4). As a result, our delicate microbiome (beneficial intestinal bacteria) is becoming disrupted and imbalanced, which results in a condition called dysbiosis. Research have shown dysbiosis is associated with almost every known disease process, from flu, obesity and
cancer to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergic reactions, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and even mental health issues such as depressions (5,6).
Research have shown probiotics can enhance nonspecific cellular immune response characterized by activation of macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of various cytokines in strain-specific and dose-dependent manner. In other words, they can detect and destroy foreign objects such as viruses and bacteria. It has also shown taking probiotics could improve the gut mucosal immune system by increasing the number of IgA(+) cells and cytokine-producing cells in the effector site of the intestine (7).
Dr. Wu DC’s Comment:
Fall is here which means lots holidays are coming your way. In translation: lots parties and foods. While it is good to catch up with your friends and family to have a great time, let’s not forget to take care our little friends inside our gut as well. Wine, cheese, and other delicious foods are pleasant to eat but might be damaging our microbiome therefore it is extremely important to replenish them while you can. There are many different kinds and strains of probiotics and it’s quite confusing. Here are the most investigated probiotics cultures for their immunomdulation properties: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus casei Shirota, Bifidobacterium animalis Bb-12, Lactobacillus johnsonii La1, Bifidobacterium lactis DR10, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii. While it’s difficult to have all of them in one capsule but more is merrier.
I take 20 billion cutlures once in the morning and once before I go sleep with empty stomach. The reason taking it with empty stomach is because foods in stomach will release stomach acid which could potentially reduce the quantity of them.
Back in the days if you told me taking bacterias would help with my immune system I would said you are out of your mind. Apparently times have changed so is the science. Time to take care little fellas in our gut so we can have better immune system and health in the upcoming cold season.
- Van Den Abbeele P, Verstraete W, El Aidy S, et al. prebiotisch, faecal transplants and microbial network units to stimulate biodiversity of the human gut micro biome. Microb Biotechnol. 2013;6(4):335-40
- Brown K, ADeCoffe D, Molcan E, et al. Diet-induced symbiosis of the intestinal microbiota and the effects on immunity and disease. Nutrients. 2012;4(8):1095-119
- Pendyala S, Walker JM, Holt PR. A high fat diet is associated with endotoxemia that originates from the gut. Gastroeneterology. 2012;142(5):1100-1 e2.
- Carding S, Verbeke K, Vipond DT, et al. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota in disease. Microbial Ecology in Health and disease. 2015;26:10.3402/mehd.v26.26191
- Daulatzai MA. role of stress, depression, and aging in cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Current To Behave Neurosci. 2014;18:265-96
- Sun J, Chang EB. Exploring gut microbes in human health and disease: Pushing the envelope. Gene & Diseases. 2014;1(2):132-9
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(7):938-56. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.619671.