Do probiotics and prebiotics boost immunity?

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Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

It's important to note that 70% of your immune system is located in your gut. Prebiotic fiber can promote digestive health and contribute to a healthy digestive system and a healthy gut. Food or supplements that contain prebiotic fiber such as larch arabinogalactan, promote digestive health. Larch arabinogalactan is also clinically proven to naturally activate your immune system.

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
The jury is still out on whether consuming probiotics or prebiotics can confer health benefits, including any effect on the immune response. The direct connection between taking these products and improving immune function has not yet been made scientifically. In fact, changing the balance of bacteria already long established in the human gut may not be possible. That's very different from working with mice made germ-free in the lab, where it's relatively easy to establish new colonies of bacteria.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.