The Flu – What do Probiotics have to do with it?

Probiotics are microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast that are most commonly known for supporting our intestinal health. We have trillions of bacteria naturally residing in our gut and these microorganisms help make important vitamins such as b vitamins and vitamin k. But the overuse of antibiotics, chronic stress and consuming the typical North American diet can destroy our good bacteria leading to an overgrowth of undesirable bacteria and leaving us more susceptible to chronic diseases.

When most people think of the benefits of probiotics, their important role in bowel health comes to mind; which is true. Naturopathic doctors routinely prescribe probiotics for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases such as crohn’s and colitis. However, probiotics are also prescribed to treat and prevent upper respiratory tract infections such as the flu and work by increasing your white blood cell counts and improving your immune system’s response time. Probiotics are available in supplement form and you can also find them in food such as kefir and yogurt – just beware of the added sugar. Sugar on its own is known to suppress your immunity for up to 4 hours after ingesting it and therefore, will most likely negate the benefits associated with consuming a probiotic in the first place.

So, consider a probiotic to help ward off the flu this season and ask your ND which type and dose is right for you.

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