A Balanced Gut is Key for a Healthy Immune System
1. Exercise regularly
Less gut inflammation = More effective immune system
2. Get adequate sleep
3. Maintain a healthy weight
High diversity in the gut microbiome is inversely correlated with long-term weight gain. In other words, a diverse microbial community is associated with maintaining a healthy weight and reduced weight gain over time — independent of caloric intake and other confounding variables. The disruption of gut microbiota affects metabolism and in turn can lead to weight gain or stunted growth.
High fiber intake is also associated with maintaining a healthy weight and reduced weight gain over time. Data from a 2017 study suggest that high fiber intake increases microbiome diversity. The findings imply that this increase in microbiome diversity may be the reason why high fiber intake is associated with reduced weight gain.
As you can see, what we eat affects our gut microbiome and our gut microbiome affects how we metabolize what we eat. Consequently, it is important to eat foods that are healthy for our gut. Eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices promotes microbiome diversity. Different fresh and natural foods contain different phytonutrients. Phytonutrients can be thought of as the nutrients within fresh and natural foods that feed the microbes in our gut. A diversity of phytonutrients, i.e. a variety of fresh and natural foods, supports diversity in the gut microbiome.
4. Manage stress
Our gut and our brain are intimately connected to one another. This connection is commonly referred to as the “gut-brain axis.” Constant communication takes place between these two parts of your body. You may have experienced this connection in the form of “butterflies in the stomach” or a “gut-wrenching situation.” Our gut is sensitive to the emotions and feelings that we experience. Our psychology has a direct impact on our gut physiology.
Managing stress, anxiety, depression, and our general emotions leads to a healthier gut. In the treatment of GI conditions, “multiple studies have found that psychologically based approaches lead to greater improvement in digestive symptoms compared with only conventional medical treatment.”
5. Take a clinically-researched probiotic
Probiotics are beneficial, live bacteria that help strengthen the gut flora and improve the digestive system. Because the gut and immune system are connected, probiotics can streamline communication between the immune system and bacteria in the gut.
Athletes are especially susceptible to increased gut permeability due to intense and prolonged exercise, especially when done in the heat. Taking an effective probiotic can eliminate the potential damage to the gut by improving the integrity of the gut barrier. Probiotics can protect you from gut troubles without you having to sacrifice your performance or training.
Naturally, athletes can suffer from immune depression due to high training load, stress, disrupted sleep, and environmental extremes. This immune depression combined with being in high exposure situations — crowd exposure, travel, training or competition locations, etc. — is a recipe for potential sickness. Nevertheless, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted among 20 healthy elite male distance runners illuminated the beneficial impact that an effective probiotic has on immune function.
The study found that runners taking a probiotic, compared to runners taking placebo, reported less than half the number of days with respiratory symptoms along with reduced illness severity.
However, it’s important to incorporate into your diet a probiotic that has been clinically researched and is truly effective; your probiotic needs to include the right combination of bacterial strains that have been proven to work together effectively. The foundation of LYVECAP’s STRONG is a clinically-researched probiotic that, through testing, has proven to be effective. STRONG is designed for athletes — it contains leucine and taurine in addition to a powerful probiotic. STRONG can help decrease lactic acid and fight soreness, effectively shortening recovery times after a hard workout. Adding STRONG to your daily health routine is a great way to contribute to the strengthening of your gut and immune system.
Because the immune response is intricate and complex, there is no single action that will completely overhaul your immune system. Use this time during the pandemic to integrate health-promoting habits into your daily routine. As you support the health of your gut and immune system, you will become increasingly resilient to disease and improve your overall health.