Probiotics for colds, what’s the link? We’ll explain to you as you read on. Probiotics are helpful bacteria that reside in the guts. And about 70% of your immunity comes from immune agents in the gut.
According to statistics from expert and professional bodies, there are one billion cases of common colds occurring in America every year. Treating these has lots of socioeconomic impacts. It costs a lot to treat common colds.
Common colds are viral infections of the respiratory tract. It costs about 40 billion USD every year to treat these infections. This cost includes expenses on medications, supplements, and professional fees. But these days, people are beginning to talk about the use of probiotics for colds.
Probiotics support the immune system. But aside from that, they have lots of other functions. They help with food digestion and vitamin synthesis, among other things.
Because of the role they play in immunity, probiotic-rich foods could help during seasons of cold. They can help prevent, as well as lessen the effects of flu.
Experts say that certain strains of probiotics can reduce the duration of flu and other respiratory infections. These benefits were consistent in both children and adults. Examples of such beneficial strains are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
When you eat probiotic-rich foods or take probiotic supplements, you enjoy good digestive health and optimum immune functions. These foods and supplements usually contain benign bacteria or live cultures.
Probiotic for Colds: What’s The Deal?
A combination of probiotics with minerals and vitamins work best for cold. This is because probiotics naturally boost immune functions. Minerals and vitamins, on the other hand, boost antibody production. Examples include vitamins C and E, selenium, and iron.
Not too long ago, experts did a study on how this combination impacts flu infections. They found that the use of probiotics with minerals and vitamins significantly reduces how long the flu and common cold last.
The experts concluded that with probiotics in your treatment regimen, your infection would last 2 days less on average. This means you would recover 2 days earlier than if you were taking minerals and multivitamins alone.
Researchers believe that probiotics affect T-lymphocytes activities. You might be wondering, what are T-lymphocytes? They are the cells responsible for the regulation of immune responses. This effect is the reason for probiotics’ beneficial effects on colds.
Aside from reducing the duration of infection, probiotics can also protect you from infection in the first place. Cases of flu are more common during the fall and winter seasons. Experts say that if you are taking probiotics and multivitamin supplements during these seasons (for about 3 months), you are less likely to catch a cold.
That’s not all. Experts say even if you by chance have a flu infection, you likely would develop little to no symptoms. Probiotics can help reduce the severity of probiotics symptoms by about 19%.
You might want to ask, are probiotics the ultimate cure for flu and cold? Well, they do not have a cure in the real sense. You can only boost your body’s immune response to fight off the infection. Combining probiotics with minerals and multivitamins have proven effective for this purpose.
Experts found that the activities of all cells in the immune system increases when a person uses this combination. This means that it is a potent way of stimulating cellular immunity.
Probiotic Immune System Benefits
When probiotic bacteria are abundant in the gut, it would be very difficult for harmful bacteria to gain a foothold and cause infections. Experts call these harmful bacteria, pathogenic bacteria.
The benefits of probiotics for the immune system in fighting bacteria are on three levels. First of all, when a virus is in your guts, probiotic bacteria would surround the virus and neutralize it. That way, the virus loses the power to cause an infection.
Secondly, probiotic bacteria would form a protective barrier along the walls of your intestine. This is to ensure that the virus cannot pass through the wall into your bloodstream. This offers an added measure of protection.
Then thirdly, even if by chance, some of the viruses gain entrance into your bloodstream, probiotics would kick start a series of immune responses in your body. They would stimulate the production of immune substances that would stop the virus from causing damage.
Can you see that probiotic bacteria are very helpful for immunity? One of the ways to boost probiotic bacteria in your guts is to take supplements. However, food sources are always better and safer. Either way, probiotics would help strengthen your immune system against cold and other infections.
If you would use any probiotic supplement, it is best to go for one whose probiotic strength is known. For instance, you would find something like “1 billion CFU per dose”. CFU means colony-forming units.
Also, make sure to confirm the supplement’s shelf life. If a supplement is close to its expiry date, the live bacteria in it would be fewer. This would reduce its probiotic strength and, in turn, its effectiveness. Whether the product is refrigerated or not, if it’s close to expiration, its strength would be lower.
Probiotic supplements (especially oral) are generally safe. There are little to no side effects from these supplements. However, pregnant women should exercise a lot of caution in using probiotics. It is safer for a pregnant woman to only take probiotic supplements under medical supervision.
If you have intestinal bleeding, proceed with caution as regards the use of probiotics. Other conditions that require caution with probiotics include pancreatitis, cancer, and HIV infection. If you have any of these conditions, get your doctor’s opinion before using probiotics.
It’s quite easy to get probiotic foods. Foods like yogurt are common in supermarkets nationwide. Just check the produce aisle and you’ll find them there.
Note, however, that probiotic foods are better when they are stored in the refrigerator. Heat usually kills the live bacteria in the product.
But if you are already down with cold, supplemental probiotics for cold might be better. You should use this alongside your mineral and multivitamin supplements.