So what is the entire health buzz surrounding probiotics? Over the years, probiotics have been shown to confer health benefits, as they provide individuals with live microorganisms that the body requires. In certain instances, the normal levels of beneficial or “good” bacteria in the body are depleted. For instance, taking antibiotics for the flu/cold viruses (which most of us have used over the years) destroys both bad and good bacteria. We need good bacteria in our gut in order to help with the normal functioning of our gastrointestinal system.
However, probiotics are not only beneficial for supporting intestinal health but may also be beneficial for immune health. A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition (link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24780623) evaluated the effectiveness of probiotics on duration of acute illness in healthy children and adults who had common respiratory infections. The researchers reviewed results from 20 clinical studies and concluded that participants who received probiotics had fewer numbers of days of illness, and had shorter illness episodes, and fewer numbers of days missed from daycare/school/work. The researchers noted that there was limited bias in the studies and the studies reviewed were good quality studies.
Keep up-to-date with news and research on probiotics as new evidence emerges; with flu season around the corner, probiotics may be a great supplement to help our bodies boost our immune systems.