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7 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

boost immunity with probioticsCold and flu season brings with it a host of new ills. Our busy lives leave little time to deal with the aches, pains, and accompanying fever. In fact, sick days have become a luxury in today’s economy.

Some of the best defenses against illness aren’t expensive treatments, but sound, common-sense approaches to boosting your immune system. Here are some of best strategies for shoring up your immune system year-round:

7 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

  1. Get plenty of rest. It goes without saying that most Americans are sleep-deprived. Lack of sleep can lead to daytime drowsiness, poor insulin metabolism, depression, hypertension, and frequent viral infections. Getting enough sleep each night allows your body to repair itself and to prepare for the next day. Limit your screen-time before bed, establish a regular pre-sleep routine, and make getting a good night’s sleep a priority.
  2. Establish a regular workout routine. Aim for 45 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people who work out experience fewer colds and flu bouts than their sedentary peers. Develop a consistent routine with activities that you enjoy, such as hiking, bicycling, or any other workout technique that you will look forward to on a regular basis.
  3. Stay hydrated. Hydration just isn’t for the gym. Staying well-hydrated flushes toxins and viruses from your system, aids in digestion, and keeps your tissues and cells healthy. While there are no set rules for fluid intake, your urine is a measure of your hydration status. Urine that is pale yellow indicates you are well hydrated, whereas darker urine suggests you may be dehydrated and need to drink more liquids.
  4. Treat yourself. Booking just one Swedish massage session provides not only relaxation, but also an increase in disease-fighting white blood cells. Once thought of as a luxury, massage has become a mainstream strategy for maintaining a strong immune system.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying around excess weight makes it tougher for your system to fight off viruses and bacteria.
  6. Try probiotics. These “good bacteria” populate the large intestine and help our bodies to metabolize the nutrients in our food. A high quality probiotic supplement in addition to a healthy diet is your best nutritional defense against illness.
  7. Drink green tea. Green tea is an excellent source of stress-reducing properties. A recent study of Japanese schoolchildren demonstrated a possible link between green tea consumption and fewer colds and flu bouts.

Many of the tools you need to maintain a healthy immune system are right at your fingertips. Healthy lifestyle changes are a simple and cost-effective way to boost your immune system and to prevent illness.

It may take some time before these lifestyle changes become part of your normal daily routine. However, once you commit to these healthy habits, you’ll reap the benefits of overall good health and better immune response.

Human Strain Probiotics

Do You Know What’s In Your Probiotic?
A Comparison of Human Strains Vs. Dairy and Animal Strains

Probiotics Human Strain

A probiotic is a probiotic, right?

Not so fast.

Before we dive in to the most effective probiotics for your gut health, let’s review the three main origins of probiotic strains:

  • human
  • dairy
  • animal

Now before you buy a supplement, you might be wondering:

Why do supplement companies use dairy or animal probiotics for human consumption in the first place?

The answer might surprise you.

Animal Strains Aren’t Just for Humans

Dr. Nigel Plummer, a doctor in microbial physiology who specializes in the use of probiotics to fight chronic disease, was involved in designing animal strains…for animal consumption.

Dr. Plummer explains1:

“I was involved in designing animal probiotics. This was particularly for the agricultural industry, where we were looking at designing probiotics for young pigs and young calves, to prevent diarrhea.

In a badly managed farm, you might have 20 to 30% of young pigs and young calves that actually die from diarrhea before weaning.”

The Case for Human Strains

Do human beings also benefit from animal-based strains?

It’s important to understand that one of the main functions of a probiotic supplement, on a cellular level, is to attach to your epithelial cells. If probiotics can’t attach to your cells, then you’ll reap less rewards in terms of your gut health.

Dr. Plummer explains:

“When we started to look at human probiotics, we compared the way they attach to human epithelial cells, to the way that the animal strains attach to human epithelial cells.”

The winner?

“Although the animal strains did attach to human epithelial cells…the efficiency of colonization of the epithelial cells was much lower than the human strains.

“This was very good evidence…that human strains were more adapted to the environment of epithelial cells than animal strains.”

It might make sense to think about human strain probiotics as already adapted to your own human gastrointestinal tract. The animal strains just aren’t designed to attach to your cells–and improve your gut health–the way human strains can.

“The microflora in our GI tract is a very complex community. [Human probiotics are] adapted to the gut environment.”

What about dairy? Dr. Plummer believes that dairy-based strains, like yogurt, are also inadequate:

“Should we be using yogurt strains as probiotic strains? The answer is no.”

When choosing a probiotic supplement, you’ll reap more rewards in terms of your gut health, and relief from digestive discomforts, if you choose human strains over dairy or animal strains.

The Health Benefits of Human Strain Probiotics

If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, antibiotic resistance, C. Difficile, and other digestive discomforts, can you really expect that human strain probiotics will help?

According to Seroyal, a medical research firm, the science is promising2:

“Human-sourced, non-pathogenic, proprietary strains provide naturally strong adherence, and natural pH and bile acid resistance.

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trials demonstrated that these probiotic strains are safe, and help to reduce symptoms of IBS, reduce incidence of C. Difficile, reduce antibiotic resistance, and maintain intestinal flora post antibiotics.”

Coming Soon…

Here at Good Gut Solution, a leader in gut health since 1998, we are currently looking towards manufacturing a human strain probiotic that’s purely a probiotic, and more effective for your gut than existing animal and dairy strains.

To get notified when it’s available, join 25,000 readers on our Good Gut Solution newsletter (on the left sidebar). You’ll also receive a coupon for 10% off all probiotics and other supplements store-wide.

Further Reading

  1. Modern Healthcare Professional: What are the Advantages
    of Using Human Strains Over Dairy or Animal Strains?
  2. Seroyal: Human Lactic Commensals (HLC)/Human MicroFlora (HMF) probiotics
  3. Allen S.J. et al. Dietary supplementation with lactobacilli and bifidobacteria is well tolerated and not associated with adverse events during late pregnancy and early infancy. J Nutr 2010; 140: 483-488.
  4. Williams EA, et al. Clinical trial: a multistrain probiotic preparation significantly reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a double-blind placebo-controlled study. 2009; 29(1): 97-103.
  5. Plummer S, et al. Clostridium difficile pilot study: effects of probiotic supplementation on the incidence of C. difficile diarrhoea. Int Microbiol. 2004;7(1):59-62.
  6. Plummer SF, et al. Effects of probiotics on the composition of the intestinal microbiota following antibiotic therapy. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2005; 26(1); 69-74.
  7. Madden JA, et al. Effect of probiotics on preventing disruption of the intestinal microflora following antibiotic therapy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Int Immunopharmacol. 2005; (6): 1091

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