This article is guest written by a woman of whom I think a whole lot, a missionary for your gut, an advocate for your health.  Her name is Tina Anderson, she’s founder of Just Thrive® Probiotic & Antioxidant, and you can find her here.   

As the leaves fall and the seasons change, so too comes the dreaded cold and flu season.  We all do our best to stay healthy but is there something we can really do to help support our immune system?  There just might be, and since over 75% of our immune system is found in our gut, it only makes sense that the best chance we have to stay healthy is to keep our digestive systems as healthy as possible.  It may also surprise you to know that the gut is the largest immune organ in your body.  Having a healthy gut is central to your overall health.

One of the most important things to do to keep our gut healthy is to supplement with a probiotic.  According to Dr. Oz, “Probiotics can provide a multitude of benefits for your immune system.  When probiotics are abundant in your body, it is harder for bacteria that cause illness to get a foothold.”  A probiotic is the name given to a class of “friendly bacteria” found in your intestines.  Interestingly, the name is derived from both Latin and Greek, and it means “for life”.  Without probiotics, the body’s complex system of digestive organs is unable to properly digest food or absorb nutrients – probiotics inhibit harmful bacteria and boost the immune system.  Unfortunately, because of the toxins in our environment, the stress of our daily lives, the sterilization of our food, antibiotic use and diets high in sugar and fat, our guts are being stripped of all the good bacteria allowing the bad bacteria to take over – and disease and sickness soon follow.

One of the most convenient and effective ways to replace this good or “friendly” bacteria is by taking a probiotic supplement.  Unfortunately, just because science has determined that a probiotic may support immune health doesn’t mean every product on the market actually accomplishes this.  In fact, over 90% of probiotics currently on the market today just don’t survive the acidic environment of the stomach and therefore, cannot be called “true” probiotics.  You see, the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that for a probiotic to truly be called a probiotic, it must arrive in the intestines alive.  The sad fact is that over 90% of probiotics on the market today do not survive the harsh conditions of the stomach and therefore arrive dead in the intestines, therefore providing little to no “probiotic” benefits. Also, remember that not all probiotics on the market that call themselves “probiotics” have solid scientific backing behind them.

Bacillus spores, which are the strains used in Just Thrive® Probiotic & Antioxidant, clearly have a solid scientific backing.  In fact, these bacillus strains have been used in Europe as a pharmaceutical product for over 50 years due to their safety and efficacy – and are supported by numerous university research studies.  In addition, Just Thrive contains Bacillus Indicus HU-36, which produces antioxidants once it gets to the small intestines.  Bacillus Indicus HU-36 actually produces carotenoids (the nutrients that give red peppers and tomatoes their color) in your intestines where they can be quickly absorbed into your system.  These antioxidants are also critical to supporting your immune system.    With Just Thrive®, you are getting a highly effective and potent probiotic and also a multitude of antioxidants.

Dr. Simon Cutting from Royal Holloway London University, one of the world’s leading probiotic researchers, has put together the highly effective formula used in Just Thrive®.  When these bacillus strains arrive in the upper digestive system, they come alive and begin by stimulating the immune tissue called The Peyer’s Patches (PP).  The significance of this is that the stimulation of The Peyer’s Patches boosts T-Cell and B-Cell immunity which helps the body fight off viral and bacterial infections.  In addition, the specific stimulation of the Peyer’s Patches leads to activation of a cell called the T-Suppressor cell which actually can suppress auto-immune and allergic responses.

These strains then move down the intestines and colonize (attach) where they begin producing digestive enzymes that help digest incoming food including carbohydrates, fats, proteins and plant matter.  In this part of the digestive system, they also continue to stimulate the GALT immune tissue which has been shown to produce an anti-inflammatory effect both in the gut and likely in the body.  At this point they also begin to competitively exclude bad bacteria by producing antibiotics that they use to kill off or drive out non-desirable species.  They seem to do the same with invading yeast species as well.  They also compete with bad bacteria for space and resources and since they are supremely adapted to live in the gut, they tend to win those battles.  While excluding and eliminating bad bacteria, they also lower the pH of the gut environment which favors the growth of your good bacteria.  All of this work by these good bacteria helps your gut stay healthy.

Taking a daily probiotic is one of the easiest and most effective ways to support your ever important immune system.  It is critical, however, to take a probiotic that works, that is stable enough to survive the harsh conditions of the stomach – and that has the research to back it.    Just adding this one simple addition to your daily routine may help you enjoy one of the healthiest cold and flu seasons ever!

I take my Just Thrive every single morning without fail and have been rock solid healthy despite the preschool germs coming home on my daughter on a daily basis.  Tina has been kind enough to extend a coupon code for readers of SaraSnow.com.  Use code “Sara20” at checkout for 20% off your order!!  

xo, Sara