With summer ending and the winter season not far behind, doing everything we can to keep healthy should be at the top of our list. We could all use extra support for our immune system health as we head into the fall and winter season. We hear quite a bit about vitamin C, exercise, hand washing and even echinacea, but one important component of immune system health that may actually surprise you is probiotics.
Probiotics are probably best known for their role in digestive health, but emerging science shows they are powerful components of immune system health as well. Since 60% of our immune cells are located in the digestive tract it makes sense that keeping those cells functioning well is vitally important for staying healthy. Adding a probiotic to your daily supplement routine may be a missing piece for optimizing your health this fall and winter season.
Which Probiotic is Right for Me?
Probiotics appear to be popping up everywhere in our lives – you can even find probiotic butter and chocolate bars if you look hard enough. Probiotics have been around for centuries in forms such as cheeses, yogurts and other fermented foods. Probiotics in dietary supplements are growing in popularity and are available in a variety of forms such as: probiotic liquids, powders, tablets, and capsule form.
Not all probiotics are created equal. Different probiotics are created for different needs. Some are beneficial for digestive health while others may support immune health. Rarely a product covers both. Before you choose a probiotic you should do your homework and review the information available on the particular strain or strains of probiotic contained within. You can usually find information on the probiotic’s company website. This should tell you more about:
• The strain used in the product.
• How much of the probiotic each serving contains.
• The research that was done to confirm a health benefit from the probiotic (immune health, digestive health or other)
For example, one unnamed brand we found contains a special blend of three powerful friendly bacteria – L. gasseri, B. bifidum and B. longum. Friendly bacteria promote the production of B vitamins, break down and rebuild hormones, protect us from environmental toxins, and help to maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
This probiotic blend requires no refrigeration and claims it:
- Maintains digestive and intestinal health
- Stimulates/enhances immune system
- Maintains healthy cholesterol level
- Alleviates gas
Stock up on probiotics before that fateful temperature drop!