Probiotics are well known for their beneficial effects on the gut. But these beneficial bacteria have far-reaching effects that you wouldn’t think had anything to do with the digestive tract. One of the main reasons for this is due to the fact that over 70% of the immune system resides in the gut, in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). These beneficial gut bacteria “communicate,” in a sense, with the immune system. When there is a healthy balance of good bacteria, the immune system responds properly. When there is an imbalance, the immune system might miss the message altogether. Then the sniffles begin.
A recent study found that daily consumption of the probiotic strains Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus paracasei helped protect study participants against the common cold, as well as reduced symptoms for those who contracted colds. Just more proof that the gut is connected to other systems of the body. Our gut health is truly at the heart of our total-body health. So next time you reach for a tissue, reach for some probiotics, too.