How Probiotics Can Support Gut Health And The Immune System

Taking probiotics can help support healthy gut flora, boosting your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infections.
How Probiotics Can Support Gut Health And The Immune System
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Trillions of tiny micro-organisms in your body are busy trying to keep you healthy at this very moment—it’s only natural to want to help them out. The best way to do that, says Toronto-based registered dietitian Andy De Santis, is through diet, exercise and probiotics.

About 70 per cent of your immune system is located in your gut, De Santis says, where gut microbiota work to boost your immunity, reduce inflammation and strengthen the barrier in your intestines that protects you from harmful bacteria and viruses. “A diverse flora where helpful bacteria outnumber unhelpful bacteria is a sign of a healthy gut microbiome,” he says. 

But, he adds, when that diversity drops and harmful bacteria outnumber beneficial bacteria, the subsequent inflammation in your digestive tract can affect everything from your mood and mental health to how well your body absorbs nutrients and fights off infection. 

To reduce inflammation and help gut bacteria thrive, De Santis recommends regular exercise and eating foods high in prebiotic fibre.


Probiotics restore microbial balance

De Santis also recommends supplementing your diet with probiotics, especially if you need to take antibiotics. Antibiotics attack bad bacteria along with the good and can cause several unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects, including abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. There are also long-term implications—frequently taking antibiotics can lead to a 25 per cent decrease in the diversity of your microbiota. 

Headshot of Andy De Santis Registered dietitian Andy De Santis

Probiotics contain live beneficial micro-organisms (yeast or bacteria) that can help restore a healthy balance to your microbiome. A plethora of probiotic products line the shelves of most supermarkets and pharmacies, but only Florastor all-in-one probiotics, contain Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745. This unique probiotic strain is one of the most studied for its ability to stimulate your immune system and help your body fight off harmful bacteria, while also cutting down your risk of antibiotic-related diarrhea, De Santis says. 

“A significant body of scientific evidence, including more than 100 clinical trials, has demonstrated that Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745 is highly effective at reducing the likelihood of antibiotic-associated diarrhea when taken in conjunction with antibiotics,” he says. In fact, studies show Florastor reduces the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 84 per cent in adults and 80 per cent in children. The research also shows that Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745, a natural yeast made from mangosteen and lychee, is resistant to the effects of antibiotics, so you can take the supplement at the same time. As a bonus, it’s vegetarian, gluten-free and GMO-free.

Daily probiotics can help boost immunity


Just ask Lyne Ste-Marie, a Montreal-based TV host and founder of the lifestyle blog Tornade Rousse, who began taking probiotics about 10 years ago, following a 20-day stay in a hospital. “I had to take a lot of antibiotics, and my doctor strongly recommended that I add probiotics to my diet to rebuild my intestinal flora,” Ste-Marie recalls. 

She added probiotics to her daily regimen and has kept taking them. As an avid traveller and outdoor enthusiast, Ste-Marie tries to stay healthy all year round by giving the hard-working microbiota in her body a helping hand—she takes a Florastor Plus supplement every morning to support her gut flora and improve her immune system. To bolster its immune-boosting benefits, Florastor Plus is enriched with vitamin C (a cell-protecting antioxidant) along with zinc and vitamin D, which have been shown to improve immune function. “It’s especially ideal for boosting my immune system in the winter,” Ste-Marie says.

To find out more about Florastor probiotics, visit