The gut is the largest immune organ in the body, with more immune cells than the blood, bone marrow or spleen.
My stomach flu episode, and Eli’s start at a new preschool, has led me to focus on building up gut immunity.
At the advice of my doc, I started giving Eli and Laila Culturelle Kids, a probiotic that comes in either chewable or powder form. I’ve been popping a Culturelle a day, too.
And I wonder, because I question everything I’m told: Am I wasting money on “good bacteria” products, or is this a legit way to stay healthy?
An article published at Harvard Health Publication addressed the same question..
There are lots of ongoing studies on the benefits between taking a probiotic and boosting the gut’s immune function-yet nothing is yet definitive.
Ugh science. Why you gotta be like that?
From the article:
“As more and more intriguing evidence comes in to support the link that intestinal bacteria bolster the immune system, it’s tempting to think that more good bacteria would be better. At least, this is what many marketers would like you to believe as they tout their probiotic products…
…You’ll now find probiotics listed on the labels of dairy products, drinks, cereals, energy bars, and other foods. Ingredients touted as “prebiotics,” which claim to be nutrients that feed the good bacteria, are also cropping up in commercially marketed foods. Unfortunately, the direct connection between taking these products and improving immune function has not yet been made. Nor has science shown whether taking probiotics will replenish the good bacteria that get knocked out together with “bad” bacteria when you take antibiotics….
The article cautions that the quality of probiotics available to consumers is unreliable, citing a 2006 report by the American Academy of Microbiology.
While the jury’s still out, taking a probiotic in moderation probably won’t hurt, and when science catches up, there could very well be a benefit, the article notes.
My takeaway is that the immune system is complicated and not completely understood. Giving it a boost from multiple angles, not just one, like the gut/probiotic angle, is your best bet.
I’m going to keep up the Culturelle, but not worship at the probiotic altar.
Here’s what the Harvard brains recommended to boost immunity overall:
-Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
-Maintain a healthy weight.
-Control your blood pressure.
-If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
-Get adequate sleep.
-Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
-Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
We will continue to put effort in all of these areas.
No more vodka tonics for you, Eli! Drink mommy’s green smoothies! Go to bed!
Mark and I struggle to get adequate sleep, especially with a crazy new morning commute that has come along with Eli’s new care arrangement. We’ve got one car that works as a kid taxi. And so, we are going to have to bite the bullet and take out a loan and get a car that’s not a tin can on wheels, because otherwise, one of us is driving two hours per day. Getting to preschool/kindergarten/work each day with only one reliable vehicle, *plus* doing buddy’s care in the early a.m. has been an adjustment, to say the least. We’re tired! And I’m going to do the American thing and go into debt rather than face months of inconvenience. @$%#
OK, this post has served as an excuse for a buddy belly slideshow. Wooo! Baby tums! I’ll throw in a few baby face throwbacks, because, I like staring at my kid’s face.
Have a wonderful work day!