Flu or influenza is an acute respiratory tract infection caused by the influenza virus. It has been a common health problem because it is rampant but has no definite cure. There are treatments available but only for palliative purposes (relief of symptoms). So far, the most reliable treatment that has been developed is the flu vaccine, which is used in preventing the flu infection.
A person with flu may manifest symptoms such as cough, body malaise/ body weakness, diarrhea, fever, headache, nausea, sore throat and vomiting. These flu symptoms can be mild and can even become severe enough to impede the infected individual from performing activities of daily living. There are certain medicines used to relieve these symptoms but the said medications cannot completely cure flu.
Moreover, flu is known to be self-limiting. This means that this illness may heal on its own depending on the immune response of the body. Mostly, people infected with flu can feel better after two weeks. However, the severity of this illness can also lead to a fatal complication, pneumonia, a bacterial respiratory infection.
Being aware of the worst health threat that flu can bring about, medical experts don’t want to become lenient. They conduct various researches that would maximize the efficiency of flu vaccine as it is the most efficient preventive treatment identified. One of the significant findings was that the specific immune response of the body against flu can be enhanced by consuming probiotics for 6 weeks before having a shot of flu vaccine. The research was headed by Dr. Giuliano Rizzardini and the finding was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
In the said study, the subjects were randomly chosen. Some were administered with probiotic microbes Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. Lactis (in capsule) and Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei (in dairy drink) while others were given with placebo. Those subjects administered with probiotics have significantly increased level of antibodies, specifically IgA and IgG. Antibodies are components of the immune system that detect and destroy antigens such as viruses (e.g. flu virus), bacteria and other harmful substances.
Probiotics are indeed providing extensive health benefits. These are good microbes that were primarily integrated into dairy products (e.g. yogurt) and other food supplements to keep the gut healthy. But as of this moment, probiotic microorganisms surpass the expectations of health experts. As mentioned earlier, a research finding revealed the ability of certain probiotic bacteria to boost up specific immune response, particularly against flu.
Also, keep in mind that probiotic products are not medications that directly treat ailments. These are manufactured to improve the protective functions of the immune system. Besides, a healthy immune system is one of the keys to easily recover from different illnesses and even to prevent sickness. Always remember to consult your doctor before intake of any supplements, including probiotics, for safe consumption. Bear in mind that there might be medical conditions that require doctor’s supervision while taking any treatment such as those individuals who are immunocompromised.
Generally, the immune booster property of probiotics truly brings advantage against flu and raises the body’s shield against any infection and even various diseases. Therefore, taking probiotics is simply saying “No” to any type of illness.