The role of the gut is not limited to the digestion of food and absorption of nutriment, it is the central element of our immune system. It hosts the microbiome, an ecosystem composed of millions of microbes and bacteria, often called the “forgotten organ”.
How do we maintain a healthy microbiome to support our immunity?
Many lifestyle factors influence the health of the gut. The food we eat, the toxins we are exposed to, our level of stress and the medication we consume, such as NSAID or antibiotics, greatly impact the diversity of the microbiome.
It is highly recommended to implement sustainable changes in our lifestyle, reducing stress and eating bacteria-rich fermented food and fibers that feed our microbes. But because it may not be enough, supplementing with a good source of symbiotic – a combination of selected probiotics and prebiotic – is an excellent choice if you want fast results and positively impact diversity.
Probiotics are sensitive to stomach acidity, thus choosing an encapsulated supplement form to pass the gastric barrier is essential for the survival of these living organisms, guardians of our health.
Last but not least, remember that quality is best over quantity. It is not the number of strains and bacteria that matters but their quality and their selection. Some strains such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are known to help support a healthy immune system.
A healthy microbiome is one without disease that is full of diverse bacteria that produces essential vitamins, short-chain fatty acids, and immune regulating molecules.
Formed by more than 200 different species, its composition varies and evolves together with its host.
If the microbiome plays such an important role in our body, it is thanks to the bacteria that compose it: though each having their own characteristics, they act synergistically together in the different body spheres and with very specific actions.
There is a beneficial flora, friendly microbes, but also pathogenic microorganisms, and maintaining a balance between the two is essential.
Commensal bacteria are friendly organisms; the first line of defence against pathogens they can stimulate immune functions and send signals to activate healing. Pathogenic bacteria can cause disease.
In many chronic health conditions, an unbalance in the microbial community is present. It is called dysbiosis. It demonstrates clearly the connection between a healthy microbiome and immunity.
Fermented food sources:
During the fermentation process, bacteria break down food and make it easily digestible, increases its nutrients level and makes its vitamins more available for the body to use. It contains antimicrobial substances and offers a large variety of bacteria. Fermented food is known to be excellent for gut health. However, though they offer a large variety of bacteria, fermented food doesn’t deliver therapeutic doses and a selection of specific strains particularly beneficial.
*If you suffer from severe dysbiosis, GERD or SIBO, it is recommended you get a medical opinion before. using probiotics.
Author Valérie Marin
– Health and Nutrition Coach –
Valerie is a certified health and nutrition coach. She helps and motivates her clients to make healthy lifestyle choices and engage sustainable changes that make them feel their best. Valerie is certified from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, with a speciality in hormone and gut health.
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