Preventing Common Colds with Probiotics
70% of your immune system resides in the gut. So, it makes sense that you focus on your gut’s health if you wish to protect yourself against viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.
You may have taken preventive measures to protect yourself against viruses and bacteria. But as you grow older, your body’s ability to fight off infection wanes. Now, taking a further step to boost your immune system is necessary.
Immunity enhancers that could help ward off the common cold
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help digest foods and synthesize vitamins. The beneficial effects of probiotics on GI issues such as IBS, IBD diarrhea are well-documented.
It also appears that probiotics can support the body’s immune response by balancing the gut microbiome. Eating more foods packed with probiotics during cold and flu season allows your body to cope better with the infections.
However, this doesn’t mean to say when you eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt you will never have a cold. Consuming probiotics regularly, whether foods, drinks, or supplements can lower your chances of getting cold. You will still catch a cold. Probiotics can only:
- Protect you against viral infections
- Reduce the risk of getting the common cold
- Reduce the severity of your symptoms
- Shorten the duration of cold
- paracasei CASEI 431 and L. fermentum PCC are strains of lactobacillus that are effective in fighting common colds and influenza-like respiratory infections. Another study revealed that L. acidophilus Rosell-52, B. bifidum Rosell-71, and B. infantis Rosel-33 can reduce the risk of common colds by 25%. Those who received probiotic strain experience colds that lasted only for 4 days instead of 6 or more days.
Maintaining a healthy digestive and immune system is easier with foods and supplements rich in probiotics. These foods contain live bacterial cultures and are fermented with beneficial bacteria. During the fermentation process, bacteria convert sugar and carbohydrates in whole foods into acids that help preserve the foods.
You can find probiotics in supermarkets and pharmacies these days. When choosing probiotics products, look for the live culture. Sources of probiotics include:
- Dairy products like cheese, sour cream, buttermilk
- Fermented vegetables like pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut
- Miso, natto, tempeh
- Fermented beverages like kombucha
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is proven to be effective not just in preventing a common cold but also in decreasing the symptoms of a common cold. It does this by:
- Promoting the development of antibodies which bind to harmful microbes and destroy them before they do any harm.
- It contributes to the immune defense by supporting various cellular activities.
- It strengthens the epithelial barrier function against these harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Vitamin can enhance chemotaxis and activity of the immune cells. This allows the body to be more effective in preventing a common cold and warding off infections.
Zinc is a powerful micronutrient. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Your body needs zinc to make proteins and DNA. It plays a role in cell growth, breakdown of carbohydrates, and wound healing. When you take zinc regularly, you may reduce your risk of becoming sick with a common cold. When you take zinc at the onset of your infection, the duration of your infection shortens.