Probiotics Can Help Strengthen the Immune System
It's officially cold and flu season and that means it's time to start taking your vitamins... AND your probiotics! Before we explain why oral probiotics help strengthen your immune system lets talk about the immune system that resides in the mouth.
Recently we interviewed scientist, author and microbiome expert Cass Nelson-Dooley about the oral microbiome and its affect on the immune system and seasonal health. During our interview, Cass explained to us that we have a trio of immune defense in the mouth:
1. The Oral Mucosa (Mouth Lining) - This is the lining that covers our oral cavity and stretches down to the throat and gut. It helps keep harmful bugs and germs from entering our bodies and blood stream.
2. Our Immune System Cells - Dendritic cells or M cells that reside in our oral mucosa sample everything that comes into the mouth and recognizes them as either harmless outsiders or harmful invaders. They then send signals to the immune system accordingly!
3. The Oral Microbiome - This is the collection of microbes (including bacteria) in our mouth that help fight against infection and inflammation. It is a delicate community that needs TLC to stay balanced and healthy!
So how can probiotics help strengthen our oral immune system?
Probiotics help strengthen the oral lining barrier and help prevent "leaky mouth" from occurring. Haven't heard of "leaky mouth"? It's a fairly new discovery taken from the "leaky gut" theory. A quick Google search can help explain!
Probiotics help crowd out space for bad bugs to make home. Cass explained this to us by describing it like a parking lot where good bugs take up parking spaces so there aren't any left for the bad ones. This is called "colonization resistance" and it helps us resist invasion and infection.
Probiotics help balance our oral microbiome which in turn helps reduce oral and systemic inflammation and allows all of our resources to fight harmful invaders.
So in our home, a daily probiotic for the gut AND the mouth is a top priority for this time of year. We have it in our cupboard right next to our Zinc, Vitamin-C, and our multi-vitamins!