Immune Health Begins in the Gut
You know how important a healthy immune system is to keeping you well. But have you ever wondered exactly where your immune systems is? If you know a bit about physiology, you might answer the spleen, the lymph glands, or the bone marrow. All these answers are right. But the motherlode of the immune system is in your gut.
Wait, did you say my gut?
Yep, that’s right. Your GI tract houses up to 80 percent of your immune cells. It’s their main base of operation. And the immune cells in your gut work in close collaboration with the beneficial bacteria they shack up with in a couple ways.
First, your good gut bugs produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) when they ferment fibre. These SCFAs support your immune response. Second, your beneficial bacteria can also trigger the release of cytokines, which are like tiny conductors that help your immune cells coordinate a response to immune challenges. That’s why keeping a healthy population of good bugs helps support immune health.
How can you make sure you’ve got a healthy population of gut bacteria? Well, first stock the cupboard with their favourite eats: fibre-rich fruits and vegetables and whole grains. If you eat those things, they get a share, too. Next, invite them in the door by taking a high-quality probiotic, tailored to your specific needs.
Probiotics aren’t one-size-fits-all?
Nope! The composition of your gut bacteria naturally changes as you age, and so should your probiotic. All of Flora’s refrigerated probiotic blends contain a core group of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, including L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. rhamnosus, and B. bifidum. However, they’re formulated for different life stages, from littles to seniors.
- infantis, as the name implies, is a common and important strain of beneficial bacteria in the guts of babies and toddlers. Or at least, it used to be. Most babies born in developed countries now lack this strain. Scientists believe antibiotics, C-sections and formula feeding may have wiped out this crucial species. However, researchers at UC Davis have demonstrated it’s possible to successfully reintroduce it. That’s why B. infantis is included in Flora’s Toddler’s Probiotic.
- fermentum is featured in our Kid’s Probioticbecause it helps promote free, easy breathing and skin health in school-age kids.,The skin benefits were especially notable in children under age twelve.
Got special health concerns? Flora’s got your bases covered: Super 8 Plus Probiotic helps maintain healthy yeast balance, Super Bifido Probiotic provides maximum support for the large intestine (colon), and Super 5 Probiotic supports oral health.
Does this stuff really work?
Science says: Yes! A meta-analysis of 12 randomized, controlled studies found that probiotics — specifically those in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families — supported both adults and kids in missing less work and school due to upper respiratory woes and helped them get back on their feet faster when they did feel under the weather.
In even better news, L. acidophilus and B. bifidum work well together. A study of 69 school-aged kids who took a blend of these two probiotics had fewer sniffles and missed less school than their peers who took a sugar pill.
Which all adds up to one inevitable conclusion: Immunity is dependent on gut health, and gut health is dependent on healthy gut bacteria. So, take your probiotics!
 Vighi G, et al. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Sep;153(Suppl 1): 3-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/
 Yehya NA. UC Davis Health. 2019 Nov 4. https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/b-infantis-reduces-intestinal-inflammation-in-infants/2019/11