Probiotics, Immune System, And Gut Health: How Are They Connected?
- A healthy gut equals a plain sailing immune function.
- Any disruption of the balance of your gut microbiome can have dire consequences on your immune health.
- Restoring this balance is key to having a smooth sailing immune response.
- Probiotics are foods that contain viable good microorganisms that aid in the maintenance of your immune system.
Our body is often compared to an orchestra. In an orchestra, all the instrumentalists must play in sync and in the right key to produce melodious music. Similarly, all the organ systems in our body function together to maintain health and promote well-being.
An important part of this synergy is the relationship between your gut and your immune system. For those who don't know, your gut houses colonies of good bacteria, that offer a plethora of health benefits. Your gut health often refers to the balance of these micro-organisms, via probiotic and prebiotic foods.
Among the numerous health benefits, the smooth functioning of the immune system is one of the most important. Hence, there is a strong relation between immunity and probiotics, as well as gut health and probiotics, as we will see in the article below.
Here is how your gut health and immune systems are connected.
Immunity and gut health… the relationship
Over the years, the colonies of micro-organisms, also known as the gut microbiome, and your immune system have evolved together to form a mutually beneficial relationship. Countless research has been performed to figure out the relationship between gut health and the immune system.
The results concluded that the gut microbiome helps in the training and development of the immune system, while the immune system ensures the survival of these colonies in the body. Here are a few examples of the synergy between your immune system and gut microbiome
1. The development of immunity
The growth and maturation of the gut microbiome occur during the early stages of life. Your gut microbiome reaches a stable state when you're ~3 years old. This early development of the microbiome paves the way for both innate and adaptive immune development.
Studies show that a lack of population and diversity in these germs lead to defects in the immune system. Early research has shown that this germ-free state resulted in the improper development of lymphoid tissue.
Evidence also suggests that a germ-free gut also leads to a considerable reduction in immunoglobulin A levels. IgA is an essential part of the humoral immune system.
2. Smooth immune function
The gut microbiome plays an important role in the regulation of immune function. Proper modulation of your immune system is necessary. If not regulated correctly, autoimmune diseases may occur.
Research shows that the gut microbiome plays an important role in the development of self-tolerance. Self-tolerance is where the immune system recognizes the differences between healthy cells and harmful invading pathogens.
Furthermore, certain pre-clinical studies have shown that a compromised microbiome results in decreased phagocytic function in white blood cells. Phagocytosis, in the immune system, is a process where a white blood cell 'eats up' a foreign microbe and is later destroyed by subsequent immune activity.
A good gut leads to a smooth functioning immune system and vice versa. The minute this balance is disturbed, you can notice the effect on your body.
Inflammation, irritation, and overall discomfort are some of the common effects. Apart from this, other serious effects include autoimmune disorders like IBD. However, there are ways to restore this balance.
Probiotics to boost your immune system
Probiotics are essentially foods that have healthy amounts of good microbes. probiotics for gut health and probiotics for immunity are foods known to promote the balance of micro-organisms in your gut and ensure the smooth functioning of the immune system.
Here is how probiotics help in the maintenance of your immune system.
1. Probiotics and immune health
As mentioned before, there is a synergy between the microbes of the gut and the immune system. The best probiotics for digestive health help restore the stores of good microbes in your body.
Here are a few positive outcomes of probiotics on your immune system:
- Probiotics improve the integrity of the walls of your intestine. This effect is beneficial for the maintenance of immune tolerance.
- Probiotics promote the production of antibodies. Antibodies are a key part of humoral immunity and have a major role in neutralizing an invading pathogen. Studies demonstrate that probiotics enhance the production of antibodies like IgA, IgG, and IgM.
- They also play an important role in immunity by modulating the growth and proliferation of immune cells in the body
- Probiotics also help modulate the immune response in your body. Evidence shows that probiotics stimulate the production of immunoregulatory cells called Tregs. These cells are responsible for stopping the immune response once the harmful microbe has been killed
By restoring balance to your gut, probiotics help in the smooth functioning of your immune system.
Read more : The Ageless Wisdom Of Being Immune
A healthy gut equals a plain sailing immune function. Any disruption of the balance of your gut microbiome can have dire consequences on your immune health. Restoring this balance is key to having a smooth sailing immune response.
Probiotics are foods that contain viable good microorganisms that aid in the maintenance of your immune system.
So, talk to your doctor about having probiotic supplementation for better gut health and immunity.
Did you like our Article?
- Wu HJ et al. Gut microbes. 2012 Jan 1;3(1):4-14.
- Zheng D et al. Cell research. 2020 Jun;30(6):492-506.
- Adhikari PA et al. Annals of animal science. 2017 Oct 1;17(4):949-66.
- Yan F et al. Current opinion in gastroenterology. 2011 Oct;27(6):496.
- Hemarajata P et al. Therapeutic advances in gastroenterology. 2013 Jan;6(1):39-51.
Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Aug, 01 2023