Cold and flu season is upon us, and it’s crucial to strengthen our immune systems to stay healthy. One effective and natural way to give your immune system a helping hand this cold and flu season is by incorporating probiotics into your daily routine!
How Probiotics Can Help During Cold and Flu Season
Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial for your health, especially your digestive system. However, emerging research suggests that probiotics can play a significant role in supporting your immune system, especially during cold and flu season.
The Immune System in Your Gut
We know that the gut microbiome plays a critical role in modulating the immune system. Remember, the gastrointestinal system (or gut) is the first line of defense as 80% of our immune system resides in our gut! The microbiome orchestrates protective responses against pathogens and helps ensure appropriate immune reactions within the body.
For the gut microbiome to effectively carry out protective immune functions, there needs to be a positive balance of gut flora. This means having more of the beneficial microbes (probiotics) versus the pathogenic bacteria.
Studies show that probiotics can help balance gut flora. Having this beneficial balance of microbiota helps the gut produce protective substances that turn on the immune system to fight off bad bugs!
Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs)
Although we group “cold and flu season” together, there are some technical differences to address. Many infections people face during cold and flu season fall under the category of respiratory tract infections (RTIs). RTIs affect the lungs, airways, throat, and sinuses. Some commonly known RTIs include the common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, COVID-19, laryngitis, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Symptoms of the common cold and the flu can often be similar, but technically, the flu is not strictly a respiratory tract infection. The flu, or influenza, can impact multiple systems in the body beyond the respiratory tract. Most of the current research on cold and flu season and probiotics pertains to RTIs. However, a 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis did show that supplementing with probiotics before getting the flu shot increased the efficacy of the vaccination. This was compared to those who got the flu shot and did not supplement with probiotics.
Scientific Research for Probiotics and RTIs
Currently, the research regarding the potential benefits of probiotics in preventing and managing respiratory tract infections (RTIs) is ongoing. However, there are many superior studies that demonstrate how probiotics can reduce the incidence and duration of RTIs in healthy adults and children.
Looking at studies with children, a 2016 review of randomized controlled trials found an 11% reduction in children getting RTIs when supplementing with probiotics. Another study looking at children between the ages of 3 and 5 found that taking probiotics lessened fevers, coughing, and runny noses.
Fortunately, the research does not stop with children and includes the elderly too! In a 2015 study with healthy adults between the ages of 60 and 74 years, there was a significant decrease in respiratory infections for those taking a single-strain probiotic.
Help Battle Cold and Flu Season with Flourish Probiotics!
When looking for a probiotic supplement to help your immune system, quality is imperative! Each bottle of Flourish contains a wide range of living bacteria. It is delivered fresh in its natural liquid form and never freeze-dried into capsules.
This hearty liquid retains all the nutrients, beneficial metabolites, short-chain fatty acids, bioactive peptides, amino acids, enzymes, and minerals. All of these traits help Flourish probiotics safely make their way through the stomach to your colon so they can get to work!
The content in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Written by Kelsy Armstrong, Entegro Health