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Immune Health

Strengthen Your Immune System

Strengthen Your Immune System
precisionbiotics
Writer and expert7 months ago
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Mastering your immunity

Sometimes it feels like life just keeps getting busier – and in the fray, there can be moments when our bodies signal that they need a little extra care. Whether it's the burden of studies, a stressful job, or raising a family – sometimes the big things in life can make us feel tired, sick, or just not our best. But understanding the immune system can help us to feel better.

Our immune system is a complex defence mechanism that keeps us going, day in and day out. We’ve put together this comprehensive article to shed some light on how it all works, empowering you to take care of your immune health and nurture your body to maintain your well-being.

How does the immune system work?

If the body was a bustling village – your immune system would be the specialised force of guards at its gates. White blood cells are the main line of defence. They patrol your bloodstream in a way – seeking out germs and other invaders. Because white blood cells produce antibodies, they can fight off bacteria, viruses, germs, and foreign material [1]. Our immune response is able to protect itself from these harmful viruses, e.g. catching the flu and fight infections, this helps keep your immune system as strong as possible.

What do antibodies do?

Like any defenders, when antibodies identify an invader, be it germs or otherwise, they produce specialised proteins called antibodies. These little warriors lock onto the germs, tagging them for disposal.

Immunity and the gut

Understanding how our system functions, specifically, the gut which is a complex ecosystem of microorganisms, plays a pivotal role in immune health.[2] This bustling community is composed of trillions of beneficial bacteria – and the majority of the immune system is located there.[3]Probiotics, often referred to as "good bacteria," are essential members of this microbiome.

What we eat can impact our gut microbiome’s diversity – making certain beneficial bacteria dwindle or rise in number. Our gut microbiome diversity then affects our immunity.[4] Therefore, many experts tell us to focus on our diet if we want to improve our immunity.

By introducing probiotics through sources like yoghurt, kefir, or supplements like Zenflore® and Alflorex® by Precision Biotics, we can bolster the population of friendly organisms in our gut microbiome. A healthy balance of organisms in the gut enhances its ability to absorb nutrients, reduces inflammation, and helps the gut in supporting the immune system.[5]

Research has shown that probiotics can influence various aspects of immune function. They aid in the production of antibodies, heightening the body's defence mechanisms.[6]

A range of probiotics may also have a protective ​​function against pathogens, preventing them from settling in and calling your body home.[7]

What a weakened immune system looks like

Imagine a great immune system is like a solid oak front door, double-bolted. If your immune system is weak, it's like leaving this front door wide open for invaders to see. A weakened immune system invites in all sorts of unwanted guests – germs, in particular. This can lead to a host of problems, including increased susceptibility to infections, allergies, and even autoimmune disorders.[8]

One thing you might notice if you have a weakened immune system is that you feel drowsy almost all of the time – even when you’ve had enough sleep.[9] Your body may be trying to conserve more energy to fend off intruders, leaving you feeling a little lack-lustre.

A weakened immune system can also manifest as stomach upsets. If stomach pain and bloating are regular occurrences for you, this may be a sign of an imbalance of probiotics and harmful bacteria in the stomach – also known as dysbiosis. Considering how 70% of the immune system is located in the gut – your immunity could be compromised too.[10]

How to strengthen the immune system

Think of strengthening your immunity as giving your body an extra layer of protection – like wearing a warm coat in chilly weather. In this section, we'll discuss practical steps and simple choices that support your immune system, helping your body to stay resilient in the face of life’s many unexpected challenges.

1. A Balanced Diet: The foundation of immunity

Your diet is the fuel for your immune system's fire. That’s why it’s important to include a variety of nutrients – to keep it roaring, and keep you… rosy! A healthy immune system means a healthy you – and all of that starts with making sure you have enough healthy fats, prebiotic foods, and probiotic foods in your diet.

Healthy fats can be found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil. These fats are essential because they help build the membranes of your immune cells.[11]

2. Prebiotic Foods: Feeding your body’s protectors

But wait, there's more! Prebiotic foods like garlic, onions, broccoli and bananas act as food for good gut bacteria.[12] Considering the role the gut has to play in immunity – these are essential! With the these prebiotic foods have natural vitamin C, its very powerful at naturally strengthening your body’s natural defences. Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system. They do so by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals.

Certain foods such as blood orange contains five times the antioxidant activity of a regular orange with the same amount of vitamin C. With twice the vitamin C content of an orange and loaded with antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, kiwis are bite for bite one of the most nutritionally dense fruits in the world!

3. Probiotic Supplements: When your immune system needs some reinforcements

We can’t always have a perfect diet, with enough sleep, and zero stress – day in and day out. Sometimes, life throws us lemons, or cravings for fast food, or a stressful work week. That’s okay! For those days when your gut needs a bit of extra reinforcement, taking a probiotic supplement regularly will make sure things are kept in check. Alflorex® can be taken daily, and helps to support a healthy immune system through the ebbs and flows of our lives. It’s specially formulated to support your gut health and your immune system.

Probiotics are also found in foods like yoghurt, kimchi, and fkefir. They play a crucial role in fortifying your gut's defences as well as boosting immunity.

Simple ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle

In our busy daily lives, it's easy to overlook our immune health. Yet, incorporating a few simple practices into our routine can make all the difference. From regular exercise and restful sleep to staying well-hydrated and nourishing our bodies with essential vitamins, these practices form the foundation of a robust immune system. Let's delve into each one, discovering how they work in tandem to fortify our body's natural defences.

Hydrate

Your gut (and your whole body) needs water to thrive. Staying hydrated ensures the smooth operation of your digestive system, allowing good bacteria to do their job effectively.[13]

Drinking plenty of water is important, but when you want to mix it up, drinking kombucha is a great gut-friendly beverage to try. Kombucha is rich in probiotics, so drinking it is not only a great way to stay hydrated, but to get your probiotic fix as well!

Exercise

Regular physical activity doesn't just keep your muscles in shape—it's a vital part of maintaining a strong immune system. Exercise boosts the production of antibodies and helps your white blood cells circulate more effectively. An important role of our immune function is played by vitamin d plays an important role in immune function, and a deficiency in it is shown to increase your susceptibility to infection so exercising outdoors is essential for boosting immunity.

The influence of exercise on the gut microbiome has been examined in a number of scientific studies. If you exercise, it’s more likely that your gut microbiome composition will be heavier on the probioticgood bacteria side – than not. In other words – your gut will tend to have more probiotics as compared to the gut microbiome of someone who isn’t physically active.[14] People who exercise a lot – that is, full-time athletes – tend to have a unique gut microbiome composition as compared with the rest of the population, too.[15]

Rest and repair

Getting some R&R, or in other words, beauty sleep, does wonders for the immune system.[16]

Getting quality sleep is like sending your immune system for a spa day. It recharges, repairs, and gets ready to tackle the next day's challenges.

Cheers to a resilient – and immune – you

By understanding how your immune system works and providing it with the right building blocks and tools to function, you can make sure your body is set up to fend off invaders. A balanced diet, exercise, regular probiotic intake and good sleep form the foundation of a robust immune system.

So, raise a glass of kombucha and toast to a healthier, stronger you!

 

Sources
  1. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/white-blood-cells#:~:text=White%20blood%20cells%2C%20also%20called,help%20with%20other%20immune%20responses.
  2. https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2022/08/03/uncovering-the-links-between-diet--gut-health-and-immunity.html
  3. https://www.uclahealth.org/news/want-to-boost-immunity-look-to-the-gut
  4. https://www.uclahealth.org/news/want-to-boost-immunity-look-to-the-gut
  5. https://www.uclahealth.org/news/want-to-boost-immunity-look-to-the-gut
  6. https://www.theprobioticsinstitute.com/en/health-areas/immune-health/immune-defense
  7. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-take-probiotics#:~:text=Probiotic%20benefits&text=When%20the%20gut%20becomes%20unbalanced,hold%20and%20creating%20major%20disease.
  8. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/disorders-of-the-immune-system#:~:text=Your%20immune%20system%20can%20also,most%20people%20can%20fight%20off.
  9. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/march/weakened-immune-system
  10. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2020/march/weakened-immune-system
  11. https://www.ocl-journal.org/articles/ocl/full_html/2020/01/ocl200009s/ocl200009s.html
  12. https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-prebiotic
  13. https://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/gut-check-can-dehydration-affect-your-gut-microbiome/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CHydration%20plays%20a%20key%20role,Wexner%20Medical%20Center%20in%20Columbus.
  14. https://atlasbiomed.com/blog/how-does-exercise-affect-gut-microbiome/
  15. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220825-how-exercise-can-give-your-gut-microbes-a-boost
  16. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/how-sleep-affects-immunity
precisionbiotics
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