Many studies suggest that more than 70 percent of the immune system resides in the gut. At the center of all this is the microbiome, or the community of bacteria living in our digestive tract, which seems to become more important to our health every day.
A new research study, published in the Journal Science on August 4, 2017, shows that a particular gut microbe can prevent severe flu infections in mice, likely by breaking down naturally occurring compounds called flavonoids , commonly found in foods such as black tea, red wine and blueberries
In this study, scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine were able to identify one specific bacterium, called Clostridium orbiscindens, that is particularly important for preventing the influenza virus in mice. This specific bacterium is able to break down flavonoids which can increase the signaling power of interferons, which are immune-system-modulating proteins that play a very important role in the body’s ability to fight viruses—viruses like influenza.
The take-home message? A flavonoid-rich diet and microbes work together to enhance the immune system. This study is a reminder that everything in our body is intricately connected and that healing our gut and eating a nutrient-rich plant-based diet will go a long way.
Science : 498-502 A dietary plant flavonoid derivative, metabolized by Clostridium orbiscindens in the gut, mediates protective responses to influenza in mice.