The easy way to support your gut health AND boost your immune system

Nov 10, 2020
Probiotics can help to support your gut health and in turn your immune system. Source: Getty

Looking after our health has never been more important than it has this year, with the outbreak of the coronavirus putting everyone’s focus on their ability to withstand an unprecedented illness.

We’ve all long-known that enriching our bodies with the right nutrients and supplements can help keep our the immune system at its strongest. But you may not know that our gut health is closely connected to the health of our immune system.

In fact, about 70 per cent of the immune system is housed in the gastrointestinal tract. There’s a powerful link between the microbiome – that’s the formal word for all of the genetic material within the collection of micro-organisms in the gut – and the immune system, and this can influence whether we fall prey to cold and the like.

During our first few years of life, the microbiome ‘teaches’ the immune system about what to react to, but in later life, the gut plays an even bigger role in our health.

“As we get older, 70 to 80 per cent or our immune system is actually in the gut, because the gut and the skin is where we get most contact with the outside world, where we get the most contact with micro-organisms and other things that can be useful or potentially harmful,” nutrition scientist Dr Joanna McMillan says.

The microbiome is constantly working with the immune system, so looking after it with the right nutrients doesn’t just benefit the digestive system, but boosts the immune system too.

One of the easiest ways to foster a health microbiome is by consuming probiotics, which are live micro-organisms that improve and restore existing micro-organisms living in the digestive system.

Major brands including Nature’s Way, Naturopathica and Bioglan provide a range of probiotic options with varying levels of live bacteria to support the digestive system. For example, the Nature’s Way Restore Probiotic is ideal for everyday use because it aims to relieve discomfort and support bowel regularity and immune system health, as well as restore gut flora after you’ve used antibiotics.

Meanwhile, Naturopathica GastroHealth DigestAid Dairy is designed specifically for people with lactose intolerance. This is a condition where the body struggles to fully digest sugar (lactose) in dairy products, usually due to a deficiency of an enzyme in the body called lactase. It can cause abdominal cramps, bloating and diarrhoea.

GastroHealth’s DigestAid Dairy can help to ease the symptoms of lactose intolerance, with a triple-action formula that aims to  promote healthy digestive function. It contains the lactase enzyme to help to breakdown lactose into more easily digested sugars and the probiotic bifidobacterium lactis to relieve digestive discomfort and maintain the balance of good bacteria. It also contains gentian root helps to stimulate digestion and relieve symptoms of indigestion.

But if you’re inclined to over-indulgence – and who isn’t when the festive season’s upon us! – the GastroHealth Antacid Duel Action could be your new go-to product to relieve the symptoms of heartburn, indigestion and stomach upsets. At the same time, the probiotics in this supplement support the balance of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

These products and many more to support gut health are available for purchase on the Starts at 60 Marketplace.

IMPORTANT INFO We write about products and services we think you might like and may receive payment if you click on the links in this article or go on to make a purchase. 
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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Do you take probiotics? Have they helped your gut health?

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