Cold, Flu & Immunity

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How Pre- and Probiotics Boost Immunity
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How Pre- and Probiotics Boost Immunity

Pre- and probiotics could be powerful immunity boosters. Are you getting enough of the good stuff? This article takes a closer look at the effect of pre-and probiotics on boosting your immunity, ability to avoid disease and ability to get better faster once you become sick.

What are Probiotics?

It’s a strange thought, but right from the moment we’re born, the human body becomes a host for other microorganisms. This includes the beneficial bacteria in our intestinal tracts, simply called “probiotics”.

These bacteria have daunting names such as “Lactobacillus acidophilus”, “Bifidobacterium bifidum” and “Bifidobacteria infantis”, but without them our immune systems wouldn’t be able to function as it should. These beneficial bacteria perform a number of important functions and also keep harmful bacteria in our gut in balance. Probiotics stop these bad bacterias from running rampant in our digestive tracts. This is one explanation as to how probiotics help us avoid illness... they help stop bad bacteria from getting out of control and making us sick.

What are Prebiotics?

We have established that probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve our health and immunity. “Prebiotics”, on the other hand, are food components that improve the food supply for micro-organisms in our gastrointestinal tracts. Prebiotics give the beneficial bacteria (i.e. probiotics) nourishment and thus a chance to grow and flourish. Our prebiotic levels can be naturally boosted by eating lots of fruit and vegetables. Some probiotic supplements, such as Restore 30 Billion Probiotic and Restore Bowel and Colon Probiotic have added prebiotics to help probiotics survive and grow in our stomach.

Beneficial bacteria in babies

Before birth, a baby’s gastrointestinal tract is totally sterile. This means that it doesn’t contain any bacteria – not even the “good” ones. During the natural birth process, the baby receives some beneficial bacteria from the mother – organisms that immediately start to multiply, boosting the little one’s immunity.

Preliminary research shows that these good bacteria (mostly Bifidobacteria infantis) can decrease the growth of so-called Rota viruses, known for causing diarrhoea and thrush, thus protecting the new-born against common infections. The bacteria also seem to help prevent lactose intolerance, while increasing the absorption of minerals and B vitamins and boosting the infant’s immature immune system.

What’s more, Australian researchers recently discovered that probiotics can prevent a serious bowel condition called necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies. In the study done at Sydney’s Nepean Hospital, in which a probiotic was mixed with breast milk and given to the babies, the healthy bacteria cut the risk of infection by 50%.

Breast milk also contains immune-boosting probiotics, which means that breastfeeding is another excellent way of increasing the number of Bifidobacteria in a baby’s intestinal tract.

Beneficial bacteria in adults

Adults have much bigger populations of gut bacteria, but only a few of these groups (e.g. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) seem to be beneficial to our health and capable of boosting immunity.

Several factors – such as stress, use of antibiotics, diarrhoea, an unhealthy diet, pollution, infections such as HIV/Aids, and ageing – can decrease our natural immunity and make us vulnerable to pathogens that cause disease. In addition, many harmful bacteria and viruses are becoming resistant to antibiotics, making treatment of common infections increasingly difficult.

Research shows that probiotics compete with harmful bacteria for food in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing them from multiplying and causing disease. They also seem to boost the uptake of important minerals, thus preventing deficiencies that could lower immunity.

The solution

Even though our understanding of probiotics is a work in progress, we can all potentially benefit from ingesting probiotic cultures.

Interestingly, the Bifidobacteria are the most common probiotics in the gastrointestinal system and also the good bacteria that decreases most as we age. It’s therefore important to take probiotic supplements or eat foods that contain live Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Examples of foods rich in these strains include yoghurt, soy milk, miso soup and our Nature's Way Probiotic Choc Balls.

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This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on how probiotics support immunity, visit www.health365.com.au.

Why Men Need Zinc
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Why Men Need Zinc

Zinc is what is known as an 'essential mineral'. This means that your body needs it but cannot produce it... you have to get zinc from foods or supplements. Zinc plays a number of roles in our body, including helping us fight disease and healing wounds. However, zinc also delivers some particularly important benefits for men. Let's take a look at why men need zinc.  

Why Men Need Zinc

1. Zinc May Support Prostate Health

Prostate health is an uncomfortable topic for most men, and if you have a prostate problem, things get even more uncomfortable when you have to go and see your doctor. However, given that prostate cancer is the sixth highest killer of men in Australia (2012 figures), taking prostate health seriously is important. Studies have shown that cancerous prostates have lower than normal levels of zinc that normal prostates. The zinc in prostate cells appears to have a protective property, and the lower zinc levels may mean lower levels of protection.  

2. Zinc may support a healthy heart

Preliminary studies suggest zinc may be critical in maintaining a healthy heart, and may even help improve heart health after a heart attack. Given that coronary heart disease is the leading killer of men in Australia, and men are significantly more likely to develop heart disease, supporting your heart by ensuring you get enough zinc is a good idea.  

3. Zinc may help increase sperm quality

One of the symptoms of zinc deficiencies in men is lowered sperm count. Low zinc can lead to low sperm count, which may adversely affect your chances of having a family. ------ This article was brought to you by our online health partner, Health365. For more information on men's health, visit www.health365.com.au.
Which Probiotic should you use?
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Which Probiotic should you use?

Not all probiotics are created equal.... different 'strains' of ..
Restore Daily Probiotics
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Restore Daily Probiotics

Feel good on the inside with a probiotic containing clinically trialled species. Restore Daily Probiotic helps balance the levels of good bacteria in your digestive system that are often disrupted by everyday lifestyle factors such as stress, illness, poor diet and alcohol to help you feel good inside and out. Restore Daily Probiotic may be of particular benefit for those with: - digestive upset - immunity - bloating & gas - constipation
Introducing Restore 30 Billion
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Introducing Restore 30 Billion

Supports you immunity, digestion and overall health.
5 SuperFoods That Boost Immunity
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5 SuperFoods That Boost Immunity

There is no 'cure' for the common cold or the flu, but eating well and leading a healthy lifestyle can definitely help prevent catching it one of these in the first place. By nourishing our bodies with a diet full of a range of foods that give it the right nutrients, you can make sure your immune system is at full strength when the next cold or flu does the rounds of your neighbourhood. Check out the following superfoods that boost immunity and contain the right nutrients to help your body avoid disease & infection.

1. Honey

Honey is a remarkable food with a number of health benefits. It has been used for thousands of years as a food source, and boasts numerous antiseptic and antibiotic properties. Honey is also a favourite traditional remedy for soothing a sore throat when you are sick, and is also traditionally used for indigestion and heart burn. Include honey regularly in your diet to support good health. Include it when you are sick to sooth and support.

2. Camu Camu

This fruit from the Amazon contains an extraordinary amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for a variety of bodily functions, and is particularly important as an antioxidant - antioxidants fight the effect of harmful molecules called 'free radicals', which can cause cellular damage that results in disease. Include Camu in your smoothies, juices, yoghurt or cooking.

3. Spirulina

Spirulina is incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals: more so than any other plant source on earth.  Spirulina stimulates the immune system and improves its ability to fight viral and bacterial infections. As with Camu, Spirulina is packed with antioxidants to fight the effect of damaging free radicals, which helps fight disease.

4. Acai Berries.

We may sound like a broken record, but antioxidants are important for protecting your body against a range of diseases. Acai berry is easy to include in your diet, and has 22 times more antioxidant power than antioxidant rich blueberries! The antioxidants and plant sterols of this super berry help to strengthen your immune system and prevent cellular damage.

5. Black Elderberry

Traditionally used for treating cold and flu once sick, black elderberry may also help bolster immunity in times when you have an elevated risk of catching cold or flu. Preliminary studies show that this superfood may also help people with the flu recover faster than those taking a placebo.

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This article was provided by our online partner Health365. To buy superfoods online, visit www.health365.com.au.
How Probiotics Help With Antibiotics
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How Probiotics Help With Antibiotics

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed drugs that inhibit or kill the growth of micro-organisms in the body. They are used either:

  1. as a primary intervention to treat bacterial infection or
  2. to prevent infection (following surgery, for instance).
While antibiotics are highly effective, they can also lead to a number of unpleasant side effects. One of these side effects is the death of a large amount of 'good' bacteria, causing a bacterial imbalance in your gut. This, in turn,  causes several common anti-biotic side effects such as diarrhoea and nausea. Other side effects also include intestinal discomfort and flatulence. This is simply because, along with killing harmful bacteria (as was intended), antibiotics also destroy many of the important, beneficial micro-organisms that make up the intestinal flora and help digestion and good health.

How do Probiotics Help?

Taking a probiotic (a supplement of food that contains more of this 'good bacteria') can help to restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut that is often affected by antibiotics. This additional 'good' bacteria helps a number of digestive and immune functions in our body, and importantly prevents the proliferation of 'bad' bacteria which can make us sick. As such, taking a probiotic can work to either minimise the severity of, or totally negate, the unpleasant side effects of taking antibiotics. A healthy balance of “good” bacteria is important for maintaining everyday health, digestive health and immunity and probiotics help you achieve this.

Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis in particular have been shown to be effective in preventing antibiotic-associated imbalances. In a double-blind controlled study, patients who received both antibiotics and Lactobacillus did not develop diarrhoea. This result is particularly important for elderly and immune-compromised people.

If you are taking a course of antibiotics, taking a probiotic during and for several weeks after can help to replenish gut flora balance. It is recommended that probiotics are taken at least two hours from antibiotics, within 30 minutes of eating or as recommended by your healthcare professional.

Want to know more about probiotics and immunity? Check out our range of digestion and probiotic products.

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This article was provided by our friends at health365. For mroe information on the benefits of probiotics, visit Health365.com.au.

How Probiotics Can Improve Immunity
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How Probiotics Can Improve Immunity

Probiotics are beneficial for immunity due to a number of reasons. ..
Restore Bowel & Colon Health
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Restore Bowel & Colon Health

Restore your balance with Nature's Way Restore Bowel & Colon Health, a 5-strain probiotic plus prebiotic, tailored for those with special bowel and colon needs including those aged 45+ and IBS sufferers. The comprehensive formula can help: - Promote bowel regularity - Relieve symptoms of medically diagnosed IBS - Replenish essential Bifidobacteria that can decline with age - Promote healthy digestion - Maintain healthy immunity