This article is written by nutritionist, Christine Bailey from Advance Nutrition Consultancy.
Is your immune system in need of some support? Suffering with a few digestive upsets?
If so forget those TV adverts that suggest we should sterilise everything and that all bugs are bad. In fact your body is teeming with bacteria, providing a warm residence to approximately 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells. Our mutual inhabitants live on skin, in the respiratory tract and throughout the digestive tract. Your digestive tract alone is home to between 1,000 and 40,000 bacterial species depending on which journal you read so it is nonsense to say we don’t need them.
While some bacteria cause infections, most species are harmless or perform beneficial functions, such as aiding digestion. These beneficial bugs are called commensal bacteria. One of their most important functions is optimising the immune system.
Recent studies¹ have shown that when certain bacteria were exposed to immune cells (B cells) they helped produce antibodies that fight harmful viruses and bacteria. Two of the principle antibodies produce in the human gut is the immunoglobulin SIgA and SIgM and these are stimulated by the presence of the commensal and pathogenic bacteria as well as the non commensal yeast Saccharomyces Boulardii. Known as immunoglobulins they are play an important role in our immune system defences.
If you’ve read my Healthy Kitchen Blog recently you will see I have started making my own Kefir – this amazing fermented drink is rich in probiotic bacteria – great for gut health and the immune system. See my blog to see how to make it yourself.
Another great immune supporting shake is Whey protein. Whey protein supports optimal immune health by replenishing levels of glutathione an important immune regulating compound found in cells of the body but also contains other naturally immune supporting compounds too such as lactalbumin and immunoglobulin.
Combine it with some antioxidants and make up a delicious shake – perfect for breakfast or pre / post training. See my recipe blog for a great recipe.
But if you do feel your health needs further support then why not book in for a one to one nutritional consultation at our clinic
1. e.g Severson KM, Mallozzi M, Driks A, Knight KL. B cell development in GALT: role of bacterial superantigen-like molecules. J Immunol. 2010 Jun 15;184(12):6782-9. Epub 2010 May 7