The link between probiotics and immune health is a significant area of research, as the majority of the body's immune cells are located in the gut.
Here are some key ways probiotics can enhance immune health:
Balancing Gut Flora: Probiotics can help to maintain a healthy balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria in your gut. An imbalance can lead to gut disorders and other health issues. Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is important for proper immune function.
Boosting Immune Cells: Probiotics may enhance the body's innate immunity by boosting the function of immune cells like T lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and certain antibodies.
Barrier Effect: By helping maintain the integrity of the gut lining, probiotics may form a barrier against pathogenic microbes, thus preventing their entry into the body and the subsequent immune response that can lead to inflammation and illness.
Regulating Inflammation: Certain probiotics can influence the activity of our immune system and help regulate inflammation, which is a crucial part of the body's response to injury or infection but can be harmful if it becomes chronic.
Communicating with Immune Cells: The bacteria in our gut can communicate with our immune system and help guide its responses. Probiotics may interact with immune cells and change the way they work, enhancing their ability to respond to infections.
Competing with Pathogens: Probiotics might also work by outcompeting harmful bacteria for nutrients and attachment sites on the gut lining, making it harder for harmful bacteria to establish themselves and cause infection.