Cold, Flu & Immunity

Try our range of tips and supplements to help boost immunity, fight illness, and support your immune system if you do get sick.

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Cold, Flu & Immunity
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 ..
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.

Which Probiotic should you use?
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Which Probiotic should you use?

Not all probiotics are created equal.... different 'strains' of probiotics deliver different benefits. Thus, different probiotic supplements can be effective at treating very different conditions. This can make choosing a probiotic supplement confusing. To help clear up some of the confusion, we've made it simple. Read on to find out: which probiotic should you use?  

Which probiotic should you use?

The below strains of bacteria have been shown to be beneficial in these particular instances:

 CONDITION   PROBIOTIC STRAIN   YOU SHOULD TRY: 
Diarrhoea Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum Restore Bowel and Colon
Constipation Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum Restore Bowel and Colon
Medically Diagnosed IBS Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum Restore Bowel and Colon
Lactose Intolerance Lactobacillus acidophilus Restore Daily 
Antibiotic Side Effects Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis Restore 30 Billion or Restore Daily Probiotic Choc Balls
Boost Immunity Howaru Bifido Restore 30 Billion
 

More Tips On Choosing a Probiotic

Choose a probiotic supplement that best suits your needs and your particular diagnosis or health condition at any given time. Simply look for the appropriate strains on the product label, or ask your doctor or pharmacist for assistance. Also keep these helpful tips in mind: 1. Check the Expiry Date. Probiotics are living organisms and probiotic supplements' strength can be reduced after sitting on a shelf for a long time. Look for a probiotic supplement that has a longer shelf life / is fresher. 2. Check that the probiotic comes with some kind of prebiotic, such as inulin. A prebiotic provides “food” for the bacteria in the probiotic supplement. This helps to maximise the amount of beneficial bacteria that survive the journey to the intestine. 3. Lastly, always read the label and keep in mind that if symptoms persist, it’s important to consult a doctor. References: - Sullivan, A., Barkholt., & Nord C.E. (2003) Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus F19 prevent antibiotic-associated ecological disturbances of Bacteroides fragilis in the intestine. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 52 (2). - Isolauri, E., Sutas,Y., Kankaanpaa, P., Arvilommi, H., & Salminen, S. (2009) Probiotics: effects on immunity. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. - Gill, H.S., Rutherfurd, K.J., & Cross, M.L. (2001) Dietary probiotic supplementation enhances natural killer cell activity in the elderly: an investigation of age-related immunological changes. Journal of Clinical Immunology. (21). - Dupont, H.L. (2014) Review article: evidence for the role of gut microbiota in irritable bowel syndrome and its potential influence on therapeutic targets. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. To learn more about the health benefits of probiotics, 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.

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 ..
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. Firstly, probiotics help to rebalance the gut in favour of ‘good’ bacteria so that harmful bacteria are outnumbered.

Secondly, certain types of gut bacteria are involved in functions related to the body’s immune system. Researchers from Harvard Medical School have found evidence that certain bacteria aid in T-cell production, and correcting mineral and nutrient deficiencies.

Thirdly, healthy good bacteria also works to produce a barrier between food and the internal tissues of the body. Were this boundary to lie unprotected, the potential for illness is substantial due to potentially harmful micro-organisms found in food. A deficiency in certain beneficial bacteria could weaken this defence mechanism and, on occasion, allow for infection. A probiotic supplement could help to maintain the levels of good bacteria necessary to ensure that this barrier remains effective, and thus minimise the chance of illness. Your digestive tract contains 70% of your body’s immune system and is the largest source of toxins in the body due to its exposure to the food we eat and the air we breathe. Therefore to help support your immunity, it’s important to look after your digestive health, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep it balanced.   Want to know more about probiotics? Check out our range of probiotic and digestion products. ------ This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on why you might benefit from natural probiotics, visit www.health365.com.au.