The Best Probiotic Supplements for Immune System Support
While the traditional “flu season” may be nearing a close, public concern regarding immune system strength has never been higher. For those of you living under a rock (and it must be a very insulated and cozy rock), a novel strain of the coronavirus has been spreading throughout the globe. It’s a far cry from the bubonic plague, but COVID-19 is a serious concern, particularly for those who might be immunodeficient.
Though authorities continue to reiterate that most of you reading this will likely not have your health severely compromised by the novel coronavirus, our society at large has been poignantly reminded of the importance of a healthy immune system. As such, it’s no surprise that Zinc and Vitamin C supplements have been flying off the shelves. While these two ingredients have their uses for immune support, they are far from the be-all-end-all of a healthy immune system.
Let’s examine one prominent immune support ingredient which is too often overlooked: probiotics.
Probiotics and their Role in the Immune System– A Quick Primer
The term “probiotic” simply refers to a strain of bacteria which has positive effects within the human body. There are countless bacterial strains which can be classified as probiotics, all of which provide their own distinct functions and benefits.
Naturally occurring concentrations of these helpful bacterial strains are known as probiotic flora. Human probiotic flora can be found primarily in the stomach and intestines where it plays a pivotal role in various aspects of digestion and gastrointestinal regulation.
So, what does probiotic flora have to do with the immune system?
One of the most important factors is the effect of probiotics on immune cells. According a 2014 review on the subject, “Probiotics regulate host innate and adaptive immune responses by modulating the functions of dendritic cells, macrophages, and T and B lymphocytes”.1
Another important factor is the detoxifying effects of a healthy probiotic flora. One study found that bacterial strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus LC-705 and Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. shermanii JS (who knew bacteria had such crazy names!?) in particular were capable of binding two of the most toxic heavy metals: lead and cadmium.2 As these heavy metals, and other toxins, are often brought into the body via food and beverages, having a layer of additional protection in the digestive tract is indispensable for a healthy immune system.
Probiotics and Viruses
And now for the question on everyone’s mind (everyone reading this in the year 2020, at least): can probiotics support the immune system in protecting the body from viral infections? There is plenty of evidence to support the positive effects of probiotics on certain viruses, but in no way does that mean they will affect every virus equally.
In the case of COVID-19, the sheer recency of the virus makes it impossible to know how it might be impacted by probiotics, or any other supplemental ingredient. All we know for certain is that immune system strength is a matter of great importance when fending off any virus, so any nutrient which supports some piece of the overall health and stability of the immune system may be worth a shot!
That said, the effect that probiotic supplements have on other, more widely-document viruses may be quite pronounced. To study the full picture of this potential, a 2014 review of thirty-three clinical studies was conducted at the University of Helsinki using PubMed and Scopus as their sources. According to this review, twenty-eight studies reported beneficial results of probiotic supplementation while five studies revealed no discernible benefits.3
Probiotic Supplements – the Best of the Best
More than most other supplements, probiotics are subject to a fairly wide variation in quality. Certain brands spare no expense to ensure that their products contain a curated selection of highly active probiotic strains. In addition, certain products are tailored to certain desired benefits (i.e. digestive support as opposed to immune support).
For the purposes of this post, we will be covering the best probiotic supplements for immune system support.
Nutri-Spec Immune Restore – One of our most popular probiotic supplements for a few very good reasons. First and foremost is the inclusion of chicory inulin and Glucomannan as sources of prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic ingredients are typically fibrous and plant-based. Such ingredients are known to act as a form of nourishment for gut flora.
Another key feature of Immune Restore is its use of both Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria strains. These represent the two most prominent subcategories of bacterial strains in probiotic supplements. As such, the 5 distinct strains of Immune Restore are capable of providing a wide range of supportive functions.
Life Extension FLORASSIST Oral – Though Immune Restore is a perfect recommendation for a general-purpose probiotic supplement, FLORASSIST Oral serves a different and more specific purpose: to promote healthy bacterial growth in the mouth.
To accomplish this, 2 billion CFU of BLIS M18™ S. salivarius M18 are delivered in the form of a mouth lozenge to ensure that the helpful bacteria are delivered directly to the tissues of the mouth cavity. This may be useful not only for oral hygiene, but for immune system support as well.
BioPure Probiotic & Colostrum Suppositories – While FLORASSIST Oral is focused on the bacterial health of the mouth, these suppositories are more focused on the opposite end of the body. Without going into the explicit details, let’s just say that these Probiotic & Colostrum Suppositories from BioPure are ideal for supporting probiotic flora within the lower digestive tract.
These are also the ideal product for those who wish to bolster their flora, yet have issues with oral digestion of probiotic capsules.
Colostrum is also a perfect addition for immune support due to its high concentration of immunoglobulins, antibodies, antimicrobial peptides, growth factors, and other bioactive molecules.
Thank you for taking the time to read The Best Probiotic Supplements for Immune System Support
Please note: All information presented to you in this website is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We cannot, and will not give you medical advice. We strongly recommend you consult your physician for any and all specific health issues. If you have any questions or contributions, please contact us via email or phone-call. We are constantly looking for new information to promote wellness – and hearing from you would make our day.