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Here's why you should take care of your gut health at flu season

January 19, 2022 4 min read

Here's why you should take care of your gut health at flu season

Are you getting enough sleep, zinc and vitamin C? Then this is already a big step for the health of your immune system. But in the colder months and during flu season, you should pay special attention to your defenses.

A well-functioning immune system plays an important role in the fight against flu germs. If it doesn't work properly, we are at risk of getting sick. 

But what exactly does the health of our gut have to do with this?

The gut provides back-up and is strongly connected to our defenses.

Learn how exactly the gut is connected to the immune system and what you can do to strengthen your defenses, especially during this flu season.

How are the gut & immune system connected?

The main task of our immune system is to protect our body from harmful influences. It is important to know that our immune system is an interplay of different biological structures and organs. 70% of all immune cells are located in the small and large intestine; almost 80% of all defense reactions take place here. This makes the intestine an enormously important part of our immune system.

If the immune function of the intestine is weakened, the body's entire defense system loses strength.

So you should be aware: Our digestive tract has a significant influence on the fight against pathogens and health.

How do our defenses work?

When a pathogen overcomes the barriers, compartments pick up these cells and look for suspicious surface structures. If such structures can be found, immune cells pick them up, break them down and present them to the immune system. Matching these fragments (also called antigens), special cells develop antibodies that are released into the blood. These antibodies attach themselves to the pathogens circulating in the body. Marked in this way, they attract scavenger cells that destroy the germs.

As already mentioned, our intestine is our largest immune system. And not without reason. With a total of 200 m2, it is 100 times larger than the surface of our body.

The task of the so-called intestine-associated immune system is to fight off pathogens and at the same time not to attack the useful bacteria of the intestinal flora. About 90 per cent of all antibodies are formed in the intestine.

Why is the intestinal flora important for the immune system?

Before pathogens even come into contact with the intestinal immune system, they have to overcome a barrier in which the intestinal mucosa and the intestinal flora work together. The tasks of the intestinal flora are:

  • The processing of food components that our own enzymes cannot handle
  • The production of vitamins
  • The production of short-chain fatty acids
  • The breakdown of toxins
  • The production of short-chain fatty acids as energy suppliers for the intestines
  • The stimulation of intestinal movement and function
  • Competing with pathogens for food and attachment sites on the intestinal mucosa
  • The production of substances that inhibit the growth of other bacteria.

The importance of the intestinal flora for the body's own defenses can be demonstrated in sterile-reared laboratory animals. They do not harbour any intestinal bacteria, show a clear reduction in the size of all organs involved in the immune system, have fewer antibodies in their blood and are more susceptible to infections. This shows that a healthy intestinal flora can support the immune system and protect us from various diseases.

Influencing the immune system via the gut

The intestinal flora and the gut therefore have an influence on the immune system. 

Nutrition therefore plays a crucial role in our health: Nutrients, vitamins or trace elements enable the renewal of cellular components of the immune system and thus contribute to a normal immune defense.

Tips for gut health during the flu season

To support your gut health and therefore your immune system, you should pay attention to the following:

  • Regular exercise keeps your digestion and your immune system going
  • Eat a varied and healthy diet
  • Limit your sugar intake
  • Eat a diet rich in fibre (it supports your intestinal flora)
  • Eat probiotic foods regularly (kefir, sauerkraut, certain cheeses)

If you are already susceptible to illness, a gut cleanse can build up your immune system. A healthy diet and adequate intake of vitamins and minerals help strengthen the gut barrier and can influence the frequency of infections.

Our special tip for you: Support your immune system by taking probiotics. Probiotics are particularly important for the human body - they contribute to a healthy intestinal flora and can thus help to protect the body from harmful substances and infections. Probiotics provide your body with healthy gut bacteria, the good inhabitants of your gut. They have the ability to activate defense cells and thus protect the body from a variety of diseases.  Our  Premium Probiolac provides you with 30 different, high-quality strains of bacteria that support your gut health.

Can the gut weaken the immune system?

As you can imagine, the answer to this question is yes. A healthy gut contributes significantly to an intact immune system, which is why a weakened gut can also weaken the body's defenses.

If semi-digested food enters the intestine, it can trigger toxic decomposition processes and thus overtax your immune system. 

The intestine also reacts sensitively to psychological stress. Stress prepares our body for fight or flight. During stress, the blood vessels contract; in order to ensure a preferential supply of blood to the muscles, the blood supply to the digestive tract in particular is reduced. As a result, however, the intestinal cells are supplied with less oxygen and nutrients, which also impairs their function in terms of immune defense. 

Conversely, a weak immune system can also lead to digestive problems. If the immune system is not intact, pathogens can settle in the intestine and multiply. This worsens the intestinal environment and can cause us to become ill.

To get the best performance from your body, you need to offer it the best conditions

To strengthen your immune system, a healthy gut is essential. Pay attention to your diet and get enough exercise. Stress and little sleep also have a big impact on your health. Vitamins, minerals and probiotics provide your body with everything it needs to offer you an optimal immune defense.