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The intestines contain more immune cells than the rest of the entire human body. In many cases, immune dysfunction begins with a “failure to communicate” in the human gut. Considering 80 percent of the immune system is located in the digestive tract, maintaining a healthy gut is a major focal point in the pursuit to support overall health and immunity.
When the digestive system is functioning properly it serves as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and pathogens. Poor digestion leaves the body and the immune system with a lack of nutritional factors that support immune function and the function of the entire body.
Supplement products that incorporate enzymes and probiotics can help to support digestive and immune health.
The human body produces its own enzymes, and about half of the body’s total enzyme production is used for digestion. Because the body places such a high priority on digestion, an inadequate digestive system that is enzyme-deficient will “steal” enzymes from the immune system to operate, in turn weakening immune function. The body can be weakened to the point that it can no longer protect against outside invaders.
Although the body produces its own digestive enzymes, it may not be enough to completely break down cooked or processed foods. In these cases, supplemental enzymes help to reduce stress to the digestive system, support the proper uptake of nutrients and create an ideal environment for the 80% of immune cells that reside in the gut.
Probiotics are well known for their role in digestive health, but also provide vital support to the immune system. These beneficial bacteria play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in the digestive tract. When the mucosal membrane lining of the intestines is compromised, immunity is also compromised and there is a greater risk of becoming sick. Bifidobacteria have been identified as the most important organism in the intestines for providing gut barrier protection. In addition, research has shown that Bifidobacteria help to support the immune system by promoting normal lymphocyte and phagocyte activity, which are cells that are essential for fighting infections. Many strains of Lactobacilli have also been shown to support immune function.
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria have been well studied, and the science is supportive of the benefits of these non-spore probiotic strains. Since different strains offer specific benefits, a multi-strain formulation of both non-spore and spore forming probiotics can be a solution. More science is emerging to support the benefits of spore forming probiotic strains, such as Bacillus subtilis. Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes has genome sequenced and clinically tested DE111®, a highly effective strain of Bacillus subtilis, a very stable probiotc spore that supports digestive and immune health and works as a complement to many of the non-spore strains that are also available.
DE111 has the ability to crowd out E. coli and other bacterial pathogens, allowing for a proliferation of beneficial bacteria. DE111 can bind to the epithelial cells of the intestinal lining and increase in number; this promotes a stronger intestinal lining to protect against immune responses to food molecules that may be interpreted by the body as foreign objects. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled human clinical study has shown the ability of DE111 to support a healthy gut microflora by controlling microbial populations. The study also demonstrated the strain’s ability to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides. DE111 supports digestive and general health by producing enzymes that aid in the digestion of dietary fats and complex carbohydrates into beneficial small chain fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6.
Maintaining a healthy gut is a first line of defense in promoting immune health.
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Digestible is your go-to resource for learning about enzymes, probiotics and their impact on digestive health. Keep up with the latest trends in dietary supplements, learn why gut health is critical to overall wellness and immunity, and the science behind it all.
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Dr. John Deaton is vice president of technology at Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes, with more than 18 years experience working with proteins and enzymes. He holds a PhD in biochemistry from Texas A&M University, with post-graduate studies in microbiology, biophysics and cancer research. He has two papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and is a six-year member of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), with three years served on the committee of microbiology.