HARAI and a Healthy Immune System

 

It is a widely accepted fact that the gut microbiota plays an important role in support of the body’s immune system.  A study in February, 2021, by a Japanese medical researcher looked at the importance of probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics in support of the gut microbiota of the elderly, who have suffered to a much greater degree than young people from the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus.¹  

 

The report touched on many important points relating to immunity and aging.  For instance, it reminds us that the production of T-cells, which form a major line of defense in the body’s immune system, naturally declines as we age, with the decrease in production beginning as early as puberty.  Production of other infection fighting cells (B, NK) also declines with age, all of which results in an increased risk of infection and disease as we get older.

 

A closely related example of this is seen in the efficacy of vaccinations, which is much higher in the young than in the elderly.  In the case of the influenza vaccine, for instance, protection is achieved in 70 – 90% of healthy young people, whereas it reaches a level of only 17 – 53% in the elderly.    

 

The report goes on to discuss in some depth the modulating role of the gut microbiota in our immune response (young or old) and cites studies showing that probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics function to supplement and support good gut bacteria (probiotics), serve existing microorganisms as modulating agents of immune cells (prebiotics), and suppress the causes of inflammation (postbiotics.)   Postbiotics, a non-living byproduct of probiotic fermentation, have even been demonstrated to inhibit the growth of tumor cells.

 

At one point, the study observes that “the composition of the gut microbiota is continuously undergoing massive changes, which are dependent upon the diet, health status, drug intake, lifestyle and age of the host,” and that the elderly inevitably have a different composition of gut microorganisms than the young.   There is still much about the connection between the gut microbiome and our immune response that is not well understood, but an increasing body of evidence points to the effectiveness of probiotics, like the Ito Probiotic used in the production of the dietary supplement HARAI, to improve gut health and strengthen our resistance to infection and disease – which only becomes more important as we age.

 

¹Hiroyasu Akatsu, “Exploring the Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Postbiotics in Strengthening Immune Activity in the Elderly” http://europepmc.org/article/MED/33567790#id372372

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