Join us this 2022 as we pick a different health area each quarter to explore with a Deep Dive into current information and product highlights that will help you make even better choices for your overall health.
In this first quarter of 2022, January through March, we will concentrate on immune support, an important area of health all year round, especially as we are still facing pandemic conditions across the globe.
The first lesson about immune support is that not just bacteria and viruses threaten our immunity. When we are stressed, eat unhealthily, live a sedentary lifestyle, drink alcohol, breathe toxins in the air and so much more, we risk giving our immune system a hit.
“Much of the immune system consists of, or is programmed by, cells in the gut lining,” says Jennifer Kaumeyer, ND, of the Riordan Clinic in Wichita, Kansas. “Probiotics and zinc are among the supplements that help keep these cells healthy.”
New studies show our gut bacteria—and probiotics—can prevent and reduce cold and flu symptoms. For example, researchers found that supplemental Bifidobacterium bifidum reduced symptoms among stressed college students. Another study reported that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG eased upper-respiratory-tract symptoms in children attending day care. Most of us would benefit from some kind of probiotic support all year long.
Probiotics reduced colds
The most frequent reason people stay home from work or school is an upper respiratory viral infection—the common cold. Earlier studies have shown probiotics to be effective in reducing the number and severity of colds. In this study, 898 healthy adults, aged 18 to 70, who had at least four colds in the last 12 months, took a placebo or a half-billion colony-forming units of lactobacillus plantarum and paracasei, each, per day.
The study lasted for 12 weeks during the October-to-February cold season. Overall, those taking probiotics had an average 1.24 colds compared to 1.36 colds for placebo over the 12-week period. Among those reporting at least one cold, colds were 30 percent less likely to recur in the probiotics group. Also, those taking probiotics relied on over-the-counter analgesics—cold medicine—18 percent less than did those in the placebo group. (Reference: Journal of Nutrition, 2021, Vol. 151, No. 1, 214–22)
Another immune-supporting super star is vitamin D. People need the vitamin to activate a variety of germ-fighting immune factors. A study of high school students found that taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily reduced the risk of catching the flu by 83 percent. Since we can’t get as much sun during the winter, considering supplementation to maintain healthy vitamin D levels can be very important to immune health.
Vitamin D for COPD
In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it is difficult to breathe fully, with symptoms at times becoming more acute, called exacerbations, which require medication. In this review of three vitamin D studies, covering 469 men and women, aged 40 to 86, with moderate to very severe COPD, doctors administered a placebo or doses of vitamin D from 36,000 IU to 100,000 IU per month.
The primary purpose of the studies was to measure the rate of COPD exacerbations that required treatment with corticosteroids, antibiotics, or both.
Overall, while there were no changes in those who began the study with vitamin D levels greater than 25 nanomole per liter of blood, or 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood, those who began the study with lower levels of vitamin D and who took vitamin D during the study saw rates of exacerbations requiring medication drop by 45 percent. (Reference: BMJ Journals-Thorax; 2018, 212092, Published Online)
The stronger we can make our immune systems through wise lifestyle and nutrient choices, the better. Our Deep Dive into immunity this quarter will look into advice for all areas of healthy living.
BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery
Copyright 2022 by Alive Publishing Group and Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.