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Prebiotics & Probiotics: for immune health

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Did you know that your immune health is deeply connected to your gut health? You can do so much with diet to support a healthy immune system! Probiotic and prebiotic foods can be used to support immune function and reduce inflammation!

Fresh red onions - prebiotic fibre for butyrate-producing bacteria


For an immune-supporting diet, consume these daily:

  • prebiotic foods - consuming fibre is the best way to feed your healthy bacteria and naturally produce butyrate: start with vegetables!, then fruit in moderation, and add fibre powders if needed - including licorice root (powder/tea) and non-irritating fibres like partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) or acacia. If tolerated, include garlic & onion along with lots of leafy greens/brassicas daily. Brassicas (see the broccoli family listed below*) and garlic/onions also contain a compound called sulforaphane that activates Nrf2 which supports immune function at a cellular level similar to butyrate.

  • butyrate in fats - consuming short-chain fatty acids in moderation provides some additional butyrate - try: coconut flakes, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, but use these in moderation and fill up on vegetable fibres first!

  • probiotic foods - naturally fermented foods provide a source of healthy bacteria: found in like kimchi and sauerkraut, kombucha, or dairy/non-dairy yogurts and kefirs (plain). If you're not tolerating these foods well, start with smaller doses and work up. These foods may not provide the best butyrate-producing bacteria, so don't rely on probiotics alone.

  • If you're having trouble adding pre- and probiotic foods, let me know. We may need to do some additional gut work before you can tolerate these and support your immune system!


  • Change of season soup: has herbs like astragalus that boosts white blood cells and supports immune health (read more / buy in clinic)

  • Vitamin D - optimal levels are important for mood and immune health Are you supplementing? Are you absorbing enough? (see my blog!)

*Brassica family of foods include: broccoli (& broccoli sprouts), cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, Bok choy (and other Asian greens), mustard greens, rapini, arugula, kale, collard greens, watercress, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, daikon radish, horseradish


Comparative In silico Analysis of Butyrate Production Pathways in Gut Commensals and Pathogens (2016)

Lipoteichoic acids on Lactobacillus plantarum cell surfaces correlate with induction of interleukin‐12p40 production (2010)

Sulforaphane and Other Nutrigenomic Nrf2 Activators (2016)

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