If you’re currently suffering from a cold or the flu, chances are you’re currently taking medicine to help ease your symptoms. One question that many people have is whether you should take probiotics if you have a cold or flu in order to retain your gut health and help towards getting better sooner?
In order to answer this question, it’s important to first understand what probiotics are and how they work.
Probiotics are live bacteria that exist in certain foods and products like yogurt, cheese, kombucha tea, kefir milk, and some supplements such as capsules or tablets.
They perform two main functions: strengthening the immune system by balancing good bacteria in the gut and improving digestion of food by breaking down nutrients.
The reality is that because probiotic strains vary so much between different sources (i.e., dairy versus kombucha), the exact numbers of viable bacteria vary greatly.
It’s also important to note that probiotics do not colonize the human gut like pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes, so it takes more than a one-time dose for them to have an effect.
Probiotics May Be Effective in Preventing the Common Cold
In addition, probiotics boost your body’s ability to fight inflammation – which is part of what makes these illnesses so uncomfortable. So if you’re feeling under the weather, try taking probiotic supplements or eating more yogurt with live cultures in it.
One study found that taking probiotics plus multivitamins and minerals significantly reduced the duration of common cold and flu episodes by almost two days, compared with a similar group taking multivitamins and minerals alone.
Do probiotics help with cold and flu?
Taking probiotics regularly can lower your chances of getting a cold. And, if you do catch a cold, probiotics may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and shorten how long they last.
Of course, if you don’t want to take anything, there are plenty of other things you can do to help prevent developing a cold.
Regularly wash your hands, keep your kitchen and bathroom surfaces clean, and don’t share drinking cups or utensils. Hand sanitizers with alcohol are a wonderful method to keep hands clean when on the go.
If you do catch a cold, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your elbow, rather than your hands, can help prevent it from spreading to others.
Drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough rest won’t cure your cold, but they will make you feel better. A bowl of chicken soup is also a nice option.
Conclusion paragraph: There is a lot of misinformation about taking probiotics when you have the flu or cold. It’s important to know that these two conditions are not caused by bacteria, but by viruses.
Probiotics can’t help with viral infections because they don’t work on them. They only impact bacterial infections and other health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If you’re looking for relief from either condition, it might be worth seeing your doctor instead of trying something like probiotics which may actually make things worse.
Once you are over your cold or flu, it is an ideal time to take probiotics to help replenish your gut flora and build up your immunity.
Ultimately, it depends on how severe the cold or flu is. If you take an over-the-counter or prescription probiotic supplement, and it is stopped, you will usually feel better in a day or two.
Some people find that taking a probiotic every day helps to get their immune system back on track.
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