We all know that we want healthy immune systems, but where is it located within our bodies exactly, and what can we do to support it? We now know that 60-70% of the immune system is located in our gut! Here’s a deeper dive into how probiotics can support optimal immune system activity, both as a supplement and contained within a whole food source in the form of sauerkraut. And since we’re talking about immunity, we also need to talk about an amazing virus fighting berry, the Elderberry.
Probiotics + Immunity
Beneficial bacteria in our bodies outnumber our own human cells 10 to 1. We are hosting trillions of bacterial cells, collectively called the microbiome. Microbiota is essential for immunologic, hormonal, and metabolic homeostasis, or balance. It helps us break down food and digest nutrients, and is an integral part of our gut lining, where 70% of our immune system lives. Just as we are all unique in our genetic makeup and what it takes to keep our bodies healthy and thriving, we have unique microbiomes, a microbiome fingerprint. Fortunately, there has been a surge of interest in microbiome research, and scientists have identified many strains suitable for our specific needs. Whether you’re looking for urgent care after a round of antibiotics, weight loss support, immune support, digestive support, or just want to take your health to the next level, we’re here at WON to help you find the right probiotic supplement for your needs.
A normal, healthy gut will have an estimated 100 trillion microorganisms, primarily residing in the large intestine. These gut dwelling bacteria help keep pathogens, the harmful foreign invaders, in check. We want to make sure that the beneficial bacteria are balanced and plentiful enough to do their job as part of the body's first line of defense. Use of antibiotics, immunosuppressive therapy, gastrointestinal distress, and irradiation have been known to disrupt bacteria balance, and are common reasons for probiotic supplementation.
The gut flora performs metabolic activities similar to that of an organ, scientist have even referred to the micro-biome as "the forgotten organ". It manufactures vitamins such as vitamin K and some B vitamins, and turns fibers into short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which nourish the gut wall and also perform important metabolic functions. These fatty acids also stimulate the immune system and strengthen the gut wall, which can help prevent unwanted harmful bacteria from entering the body and activating an immune response.
Sauerkraut + Immunity
Sauerkraut is finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by a variety of lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid formed when the bacteria ferment the sugars naturally occurring in the cabbage.
First invented to preserve cabbage, sauerkraut was used by sailors to prevent scurvy. Now we know that not only is Sauerkraut abundant in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, K, B vitamins, and minerals, but it is a delicious way to help support a healthy microbiome, containing naturally occurring probiotics.
Sauerkraut is a superior food source of probiotics, containing notably more lactobacillus acidophilus than yogurt. We're talking trillions of good bacteria vs. billions found in yogurt. The variety of strains in sauerkraut is also impressive, meaning that it will give us a wider range of benefits including protection from a wider variety of harmful bacteria. Consuming just 2 ounces of Sauerkraut may contain more bacteria than a bottle of a probiotic supplement. Probiotics make the food we eat more digestible, and help the nutrients within to be more efficiently absorbed and utilized, so getting both probiotics and a good dose of vitamins and minerals in one tasty package is a win in our eyes. If you’re not convinced Sauerkraut is a health food worth including in your diet, it is also rich in antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory, immune boosting properties. Be sure to consume your Sauerkraut unpasteurized, so all of that good bacteria remains intact.
Elderberries + Immunity
Are Elderberries in your emergency supplement sick kit? They’re certainly in ours, and here’s why. Beyond being a rich source of vitamins A, C, and antioxidants, elderberries are unique in their ability to fight viruses. Studies have shown that phytochemicals in common elderberry are effective at stopping a virus at multiple stages of infection: host cell attachment, entry, and propagation (later stages of influenza after the cell has already been infected).
Elderberries can help strengthen a person’s overall immune response. Elderberry solution has been found to stimulate cells to release certain cytokines, which are chemical messengers that determine what immune cells will play what role in innate and adaptive immune responses. Cytokines may react in localized areas, or systemically, and may also directly mediate antimicrobial effector activities.
So, if you’re interested in reducing the duration of flu symptoms 3-4 days, having higher levels of antibodies, or helping prevent infections in the first place, get those Elderberries in your medicine cabinet! If you’re not about to harvest a bunch of berries and make your own syrup, we have Elderberries in syrups, tinctures, capsules, lozenges, gummies, and in raw form in our bulk section.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.