For aging adults, viral cold or flu infections can cause catastrophic disability and lead to bacterial infections such as pneumonia. Flu and pneumonia kill 57’000 Americans each year.
Cold and flu are often treated with medications designed to reduce only the symptoms of these respiratory infections These drugs can’t activate the body’s own immune response to fend off invading bacteria or viruses. That’s what makes probiotics different. Probiotics provide defense against the comon cold and flu by activating the body’s own immune response.
Indeed, robust defenses against respiratory infection require optimal secretory immunity, which depends in part on antibodies know as IgA. Secretory IgA is a built-in security system present in mucosal membranes that line the nose and upper respiratory tract that can prevent cold and flu viruses from entering our bodies.
Six specific strains of orally ingested probiotic bacteria have been shown to stimulate the body’s production of IgA, which protects the delicate mucous membranes, and ultimately helps prevent the virus replication cycle.
Human studies demonstrate that using these six strains of bacteria can reduce the incidence of colds and flu-like illnesses, an effect largely attributable to enhanced levels of IgA.
If you are taking probiotics supplement for digestive and other health benefits. During winter months, you may consider switching to an immune specific probiotic that contains many of the same bacterial strains, plus additional ones that have shown robust results in recent clinical trials.