Probiotics & Immunity: Researchers Uncover the Link
One of the many benefits of probiotics is that they boost your immunity. Thanks to Dutch scientists we now have a better understanding of just how they do it.
In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS Online Early Edition), researchers reported that the potential immune system enhancing effects of probiotics might be due to an activation of specific genes in the walls of our intestines. The study offers the first scientific evidence of how probiotics influence the immune system in humans.
The scientists performed an in vivo (in the body) human study in order to investigate the responsiveness of certain genes to the probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum. From the results, they identified patterns of gene expressions in the cells of the intestinal wall that may trigger mechanisms for immune tolerance. In fact, they observed significant differences in the pathways the genes took in relation to a specific protein complex which plays an important role regulating the immune system’s response to infection.
How You Can Boost Your Intake of Friendly Bacteria
You can boost your body’s germ fighting prowess by getting plenty of friendly bacteria into your body from probiotic supplements and cultured foods like yogurt, kefir or unpasteurized sauerkraut. Numerous studies have proven these little “buggers” help your body run more efficiently, and now we have some insight into just how they are able to accomplish this feat.
van Baarlen, P. et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; doi:10.1073/pnas.0809919106.