A happy gut and body for enhanced immunity
Here’s how a healthy digestive system could be key to a stronger defence system and a sense of wellness.
The prevalence and severity of COVID-19 and its variant strains are a cause of concern for many people. There is no better time to take a closer look at your health, especially when it comes to boosting your immunity.
The human gut forms an important part of the body’s natural defence system. Trillions of microorganisms, majority of which are bacteria, live inside your gastrointestinal tract. A large proportion – around 70 per cent – of the body’s immune system lies within this tract, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
There is another reason why keeping the gut’s microbiome balanced is crucial for your well-being: Mounting evidence shows links between the gut and the way you handle your mood and stress levels, too, which in turn affects how you juggle life’s challenges in the new normal.
About 95 per cent of serotonin – dubbed the “happiness chemical” that influences mood – is manufactured by gut bacteria, according to an article published on American Psychological Association’s website. Several animal studies, including one published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011, have shown that introducing good bacteria into the diet may reduce stress levels and anxiety.
It has also been posited that poor gut health has been linked to more severe cases of the coronavirus infection.
In a review published in January 2021 in the journal mBio, microbiologist Heenam Stanley Kim from Korea University’s Laboratory for Human-Microbial Interactions in Seoul proposed that gut dysfunction may worsen the severity of the coronavirus infection by enabling the coronavirus to access the surface of the digestive tract and internal organs.
TLC FOR THE GUT
When it comes to keeping the gut happy and healthy, how you live and what you eat matters.
In an article on improving gut health, Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Gerard Mullin shared that “everything ties together”, which means getting in a healthy dose of exercise and sleep as well as managing stress and anxiety are just as important as eating the right gut-friendly diet such as one rich in fibre, which is known to reduce inflammatory response in the body.
Other gut-friendly food mentioned in the article includes cultured milk drinks rich in probiotics, as well as fermented offerings such as kimchi and sauerkraut.
When gut health is good, Dr Mull explained, you are less likely to experience inflammation and lapses in immunity.
To maintain the delicate balance in the digestive system, two important players are required – prebiotics and probiotics. According to Mayo Clinic, probiotics contain live organisms that add to the population of healthy gut microbes, while prebiotics are dietary fibres that help the microbes grow and thrive. Together, the two components work hand in hand to promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract, and keep the immune system functioning well.
FORMULATED TO STRENGTHEN THE GUT WITH LESS SUGAR
Containing live probiotics and added prebiotics, VITAGEN Less Sugar is formulated to build up the gut’s defences and maintain a healthy balance in the gastrointestinal tract.
Each bottle contains billions of live probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei from Chr Hansen's Laboratories in Denmark, which has extensive expertise in probiotics and a history of more than 145 years.
Every bottle of VITAGEN Less Sugar also contains 7.5g of prebiotic fibre, which makes up almost 28 per cent of the recommended daily dietary fibre intake of 21g to 26g.
SELECTING THE HEALTHIER OPTION
It’s important to read food labels to be aware of what you consume. Some seemingly healthy food contain artificial sweeteners, which may not be a better alternative to sugar.
Under the Health Promotion Board’s Healthy Meals in School programme, all beverages containing non-sugar substitutes such as sugar alcohol (for example, maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol) and intense sweeteners (for example, acesulfame K, sucralose and aspartame) are not allowed to be sold at the canteen as well as in vending machines in schools. Additionally, according to the American Pregnancy Association, certain artificial sweeteners such as saccharin are not safe for consumption during pregnancy.
For people who are watching their sugar intake, the good news is that VITAGEN Less Sugar contains 50 per cent less total sugar and eight times less white sugar*, compared to regular cultured milk drinks.
And for those wondering how the brand does this without compromising on great taste? Its secret is using real fruit juice, instead of relying on pure flavouring and artificial sweeteners to enhance its taste.
VITAGEN Less Sugar is also certified with the Healthier Choice logo, courtesy of the Health Promotion Board, making it a healthier option for the whole family.
Learn more about VITAGEN Less Sugar.
*Source: VITAGEN Less Sugar. In comparison to regular cultured milk drinks based on per 100ml. Total white sugar test report from accredited laboratories.