Tags: Digestive Problems | probiotics | immune | health

Probiotics and Their Effect on Immune Health

By    |   Thursday, 08 Oct 2015 03:35 PM

The microscopic organisms living in your gut play a critical role in immune health, and scientists are researching the impact of probiotics on maintaining and healing a wide variety of health conditions.

"Asked about their immune system, most people might think of white blood cells, lymph glands or vaccines," Dr. Natalia Shulzhenko, assistant professor and physician in the Oregon State Univeresity Department of Biomedical Sciences, said in a news release. "They would be surprised that’s not where most of the action is. Our intestines contain more immune cells than the entire rest of our body. The human gut plays a huge role in immune function."

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In a study published in Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology, Shulzhenko reported on a theory about how microbes "cross-talk" in the body, alerting other cells to health problems and stimulating the immune system.

The theory is just one consideration of researchers looking to fully understand how gut microbiota play a part in how the body's immune system responds. Numerous studies in humans and animals have found that probiotics, beneficial bacteria introduced to a person's system through foods or supplements, may change the gut's living organisms to help treat disease.

It's challenging to determine a clear cause and effect relating to the immune system and bacteria in the body, but the question is being considered from a variety of angles. One group of researchers took gut bacteria samples from a tribe on the Brazil-Venezuela border that is little touched by Western civilization. They found, according to NPR, a much more flourishing bacterial environment than what most people in the Western world have.

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"The take-home message of the studies is clear: Western diets and modern-day hygiene have wiped a few dozen species right out of our digestive tracts," NPR wrote. "One missing microbe helps metabolize carbohydrates. Other bygone bacteria act as prebiotics. And another communicates with our immune system. In other words, Americans' digestive tracts look like barren deserts compared with the lush, tropical rain forest found inside indigenous people."

While it's unclear whether a more "lush" gut microbiota makes a tremendous difference, the medical world is examining whether changing the bacterial environment by introducing probiotics may help spur the immune system to fight diseases.

One study found that babies given a specific probiotic strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus saw a reduction of developing atopic eczema during the first two years of life. Numerous other studies have been conducted or are in process relating to a variety of diseases.

Doctor: Not All Probiotics Are the Same, Some Are Dangerous! Read More Here

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The microscopic organisms living in your gut play a critical role in immune health, and scientists are researching the impact of probiotics on maintaining and healing a wide variety of health conditions.
probiotics, immune, health
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2015-35-08
Thursday, 08 Oct 2015 03:35 PM
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