Why it’s time to consider the link between your digestive and immune system health

It’s a process that starts at our mouth and finishes at… well, on, the toilet, involving numerous organs along the way, and exerting a strong influence on our health. It’s our digestive system and it plays a significant role in the way we function and on our immune system health. It’s also home to quite a large proportion of our very own ecosystem, the microbiome.

DIGESTIVE HEALTH AND THE MICROBIOME 

Gut flora are the friendly microbes, including bacteria, living in our intestinal tract. Gut microbes can support digestive health and help us to maintain a healthy gut environment.

But our gut microbiota does far more than support digestive health. It can also influence our immune system.

OUR GUT HOUSES MUCH OF OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

A staggering 70 per cent of our body’s immune cells are found in our digestive tract. It’s believed healthy levels of beneficial bacteria may benefit our immune system and digestive system function. That’s just one reason to take a carefully designed probiotic.

Premedy™ Immune Probiotic combines L. paracasei 8700:2 with L. plantarum HEAL9 to help decrease the duration and severity of common cold symptoms*, plus B. animalis ssp. lactis HN019 to enhance immune system function in healthy elderly people. Premedy™ Children’s Immune Probiotic features elderflower to relieve symptoms of the common cold in kids*, plus zinc and vitamin D to support a healthy immune system.

BACK TO THE MICROBIOME

The microbiome refers to the complex ecosystem of microbes – bacteria, yeast, fungi and viruses – that live on and inside our bodies. It’s bigger than our gut microbiota and is more than a sum of its parts, just like the Earth with its many different types of ecosystems. Take rainforests, for example.

Rainforests provide support to the Earth. Their trees consume carbon dioxide which helps stabilise our climate, and then release oxygen. They also keep the water cycle moving by adding water to the atmosphere resulting in revitalising rain.

In the same way, our gut microbiota is influential to our microbiome. It contains the most abundant and diverse population of bacteria. Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes make up the bulk of it, but a healthy gut contains large numbers of many different types of bacteria working together to support our health.

LOOKING AFTER YOUR MICROBIOME

A healthy, holistic lifestyle featuring regular exercise and a balanced diet helps to maintain bacterial diversity in our gut.

Good food for your gut includes:

  • Insoluble fibre from wholegrains, nuts and seeds, legumes, and the outer skins of fruit and veggies.
  • Soluble fibre from fruits, veggies and oats.
  • Prebiotic foods like bananas, grapefruit, custard apple, sweetcorn and oats. These stimulate the growth and activity of friendly bacteria in the gut.
  • Probiotic foods like kimchi, kombucha, pickles, kefir and yoghurt with live and active cultures. These put some good bacteria into our gut.

We can also support our microbiome with a probiotic supplement. Premedy™ High Strength Probiotic contains 15 strains of naturally sourced probiotics, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains, to increase the beneficial bacteria in our gut and to support healthy gastrointestinal function.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. *If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

What’s in a balanced, microbiome friendly diet and why?

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