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|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
Probiotics may boost your immune system’s disease fighting capabilities, according to a new joint study conducted by the Health and Nutrition Division at Chr. Hansen in Denmark, the Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan, and the University of Southampton in England.
The findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition on September 7, 2011.
The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study with 211 participants. Over the course of six weeks, participants were randomly assigned to take either one billion colony forming units of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis, one billion colony forming units of Lactobacillus paracasei or a placebo.
Two weeks into the study, all of the participants received a standard flu shot. Four weeks after taking the shot, the probiotic groups showed significantly more flu antibodies and antibodies in general than the placebo group.
Specifically, supplementation with Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis was associated with a 66% increase in the levels of the antibody IgG3. Supplementation with Lactobacillus paracasei was associated with a 46% increase in the levels of the antibody IgG3.
Probiotics may also help aid in weight loss, improve digestion, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. However, most foods do not contain enough of this probiotic to see the types of results discovered in this study, so consider taking a supplement. If you choose this option, be sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture which can easily kill probiotics.
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