The gastrointestinal tract is the largest interface between our internal systems and the outside world. It is our largest immune organ, hosting 80% of our immune system. 60% of our hormones are gut based. It has its own nervous system. It also plays home to our microbiome - a huge population of 100 000 billion bacteria that live alongside us. Consequently, the microorganisms, bacteria and the internal environment within our digestive tract can have far reaching effects on our immune system. In this blog I go through some trials and findings on positive effects with probiotics and immune system.
Shaping The Immune System Before Birth
Our risk of developing things like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal or immune dysfunction can all change depending on our environment during gestation. While we’re not saying that these risks can not be changed by lifestyle later on life, it is important for expectant mothers to consider their health during pregnancy and how this can have far reaching effects for their children. For example, in a large randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study, expectant mothers were given the Lab4b probiotics or placebo, and then new born babies were supplemented for the first 6 months following birth. Those taking the probiotics were 57% less likely to develop atopic eczema than those receiving the placebo. The babies given Lab4b were also 44% less likely to develop allergic reaction to common allergens, including pollen, cow’s milk, egg and house dust mite.
Probiotics and Immune System - Everyday’s A School Day
The average UK absence rate for school children is around 4-5%, with 1 in 10 children being classed as persistently absent. While there are a number of other factors and reasons for not attending school, one of the most unnecessary is sickness, coughs and colds. Adults have around 2-3 colds per year, and children are susceptible to experience even more.
A 2015 study investigated the efficacy of Lab4 probiotics with vitamin C in significantly reducing the symptoms of coughs and colds in young children. Results found:
– 49% reduction in the duration of all symptoms of coughs and colds in the group taking Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C compared to placebo
– 33% reduction in the incidence of cough and cold symptoms in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C
– 30% significant reduction in the incidence of absenteeism from school in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C. The number of days with absence due to coughs and colds alone were virtually halved in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C
– The number of visits to the GP for any reason was reduced by 43% with the use of Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C.