What Else Can I Do To Prevent Colds and Flu?
While today is 93 degrees in the shade and winter seems far away, I’m sorry to report that cold and flu season is officially upon us. Many of you have taken the first step in protecting yourself by getting your influenza shot. But what else can be done to fire up your immune system and prevent illness?
You probably know that human immune system is composed of many parts that work together to keep you healthy. You may not know that bacteria living in your gut represent a major part of this system. In fact, it is such a big part that bacterial cells outnumber human cells in your body by a roughly 2:1 margin. While these bacteria are crucial in repelling foreign invaders, they can suffer when you’re stressed or exposed to high pathogen loads.
Can anything be done to regrow or extend these cells? Could supplements, also known as probiotics, make your immune system tougher? Scientists have been studying this for a while, generating some very encouraging results with many diseases. This time of the year, it is particularly relevant to learn how probiotics perform against the cold and flu.
In a recent study , researchers examined the impact of three potentially beneficial bacteria in helping stressed out college students’ immunity. The scientists measured the students’ cold and flu symptoms over 6 weeks to see how those receiving compare probiotic supplementation with a placebo (sugar pill). At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that two of the three bacteria did not help but the third (Lactobacillus bifidum R0071) significantly lowered symptoms vs. the placebo control group.