How to Protect and Boost Your Immune System
As we head into cold/flu season, take a step back from the hand sanitizer. There are far better measures you can take to protect your immune system, which don’t involve harmful chemicals and strengthen your immune system from the inside out.
One of those is Reiki to restore vital energy and keep the system balanced (click HERE for more information.)
The other is probiotics & prebiotics.
Reiki + probiotics/prebiotics together are a potent 1-2 punch…just ask my 5-year-old who hasn’t caught the flu in over 2 years.
The Immune System
Our interaction with the world is a complicated dance, and our immune system is actually an ecosystem defined by bacteria.
The state of your digestive tract represents the outside world coming in. Did you know we have about 4 pounds of microbes in the gut that help us thrive? Focusing on gut health is how we keep our immune system at its best.
People of all cultures traditionally eat cultured and fermented foods. The staples of a Western diet are associated with causing an imbalance of the gut bacterial profile – where the “bad” bacteria outnumber the “good.”
A combination of probiotics, prebiotics and a whole foods diet can get you to the right balance of bacteria to support gut health.
Why is Caring for the Immune System Through Use of Bacteria So Important?
The benefits are wide-ranging and endless. Really. Here are some additional areas in which having enough of the right bacteria help: Respiratory Infections in Kids; Bladder & Yeast Infections in Women, Modulate Immune Response & Inflammation, Produce Regulatory T-cells, Increased Nutrient Utilization, Natural Vitamin Production, Regulate metabolism, Lactose Digestion, Cancer Protection, Detoxification, Allergy Reduction, Lipid Regulation (cholesterol & triglycerides) and Oral Health.
So, What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are simply bacteria. We get them through food (or supplements) that help support gut health. They contain an adequate dose of live microbes for a marked benefit to our health.
The digestive tract is your first line of defense. It is the presence of the right bacteria that regulate your immune system:
- The strains you want: Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus (because these are what rule the intestines.) They bind & detoxify metal. They are responsible for energy production and maintenance of cells in the colon.
- Daily Dosage Range:
- Lactobacillus (various species): At least 1-100 billion CFU live organisms
- Bifidobacterium (various species): At least 10-100 billion live organisms daily
- For general maintenance take on the lower end daily. For re-colonization after antibiotic use or infection, take on the higher end for 3 weeks
For active or recent stomach infections, get your hands on S. Boulardii (Saccharomyces Boulardii.) It is widely available. This strain is specifically good for diarrhea (caused by rotavirus, food poisoning, traveling and antibiotics.)
Also great for general digestive problems, IBS, IBD, Crohn’s, UC, Lyme Disease etc. Additionally, S. Boulardii is used in therapeutic doses for patients with C-Difficile. Antibiotics will help with stomach infections, but the S. Boulardii will do the same + eat up the toxins left behind.
Keep taking it, even once the stomach infection has passed, as it helps with re-inoculation after meds.
Probiotic-rich foods are:
- Yogurt/Kefir, Miso/Natto/Tempeh, Sauerkraut/Kimchi/Raw pickles/ Fermented Anything, Root & Ginger Beers, Olives, Kombucha, Buttermilk/Artisan cheeses, Raw Whey, Raw Vinegars, Fermented Sausages, Wine and Bone Stocks/Bone Broths.
What About Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are basically a starch that ARE digestible by bacteria.
They are a specific source of fiber that ferment in the gut. They are a “friendly yeast.” They are resistant enough to make it down into the intestines, then ferment.
This selectively stimulates growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria to promote health & well-being.
Benefits of prebiotics are significant: Increased immune function, Production of short-chain fatty acids (which increase absorption of calcium and help reduce oxidative stress) and Reduced risk of obesity and support satiety (and may support a healthy BMI.)
Our immune systems are at risk when we are out-of-balance, sick or under stress. Eat well during these times. It’s especially important to prevent getting sick in the first place. Include cultured/fermented foods, supplements and come see me for a Reiki session. Click HERE to schedule.