A new animal study shows the effectiveness of probiotics in supporting the immune system. The authors concluded, “Altogether, our data suggest that L. plantarum JDFM LP11 increases the diversity and richness in the microbial community and attenuates the ileal immune gene expression towards gut inflammation, promoting intestinal development in weaned piglets.” Similar results were produced with chickens in another new study with L. plantarum and Paenibacillus polymyxa. Researchers concluded, “Taken together, L. plantarum 16 and Paenibacillus polymyxa 10 could improve broilers’ intestinal and body health status by increasing intestinal barrier function, anti-oxidative capacity and immunity, and decreasing cell apoptosis with strain-specificity.”
Probiotics may benefit the immune system of humans as well. One study looked at 140 patients and found that IgG, IgA, and IgM were higher in the test group than in the control group. Moreover, the improvements in inflammatory cytokines including IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α in patients of the test group were better than those of the control group.
Interestingly, nursing mothers can boost the immunity of their infants by taking probiotics. Mothers were randomized to receive a placebo or Lactobacillus rhamnosus before delivery and during breastfeeding. Total numbers of IgM-, IgA-, and IgG-secreting cells at 12 months were higher in infants breastfed exclusively for at least 3 months and supplemented with probiotics compared to breastfed infants receiving a placebo. Researchers stated, “We found an interaction between probiotics and breastfeeding on the number of Ig-secreting cells, suggesting that probiotics during breastfeeding may positively influence gut immunity.”
Probiotic supplementation could provide added immune support during flu season. Prebiotics and probiotics target specific bacterial groups that increase saccharolytic fermentation and support healthy inflammatory responses.
Probiotics show great potential for enhancing the immune system.
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