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研究医、ウイルス、ラボ
研究医、ウイルス、ラボ

風邪予防に効果のある細菌である乳酸菌の種類

細菌研究

風邪の原因になる細菌として黄色ブドウ球菌や肺炎球菌などが挙げられますが、逆に風邪予防に効果のある細菌もあります。それが乳酸菌です。風邪予防には、腸内環境を整えることが大切なため、乳酸菌が風邪予防に一役買っているというわけなのです。

そこで、風邪予防に効果のある細菌である乳酸菌の種類について紹介します。うがいや手洗いだけでなく、腸内環境も整えて、身体の中から風邪予防してみませんか。

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乳酸菌が風邪予防に効果がある理由

風邪の女性

風邪予防には、腸内環境を整えることが大切です。なぜなら、腸は栄養を吸収するだけでなく、免疫機能をコントロールする器官でもありますので、体調と深い関係があります。

腸内には、約100種類、100兆個もの細菌が存在していると言われています。これら腸内細菌は、善玉菌と悪玉菌に分けられますが、腸内細菌のバランスが免疫機能に影響を及ぼしています。善玉菌や悪玉菌は、摂取する食べ物や体調の変化に応じて、常に数が変化します。悪玉菌が増えすぎると、体内にある免疫がうまく働かなくなり、ウイルスの侵入や活動を容易にしていまい、病気を引き起こしてしまいます。

免疫機能を高く保つためには、腸内の善玉菌を悪玉菌よりも優位にする必要があり、そこに一役買うのが乳酸菌なのです。乳酸菌が増えると、悪玉菌を抑制し、腸内環境も整い、免疫機能が高まります。すると、風邪などのウイルスが侵入してきても簡単には屈しない丈夫な身体になります。

乳酸菌の種類とは?

乳酸菌とは、乳酸などの有機酸を生み出す菌の総称です。数ある乳酸菌の中でも、ビフィズス菌やラブレ菌、ラクトバチルス・ガセリ菌などがよく知られています。

①ビフィズス菌

ビフィズス菌は、腸内の善玉菌を増加させ、悪玉菌を抑制する働きがあります。また、酢酸を作り出す働きもあり、腸内を酸性に保つことができ、病原菌の繁殖を防ぐことができます。

②ラブレ菌

ラブレ菌は、京都の上賀茂の特産品であるすぐき漬けから発見された菌の一種です。腸内で増殖するという特徴をもつ善玉菌です。体内で、抗ウイルス作用や抗腫瘍作用、免疫調節作用などの働きがあると言われる物質であるインターフェロンの生産能力を高めるとされています。

③ラクトバチルス・ガセリ菌

ラクトバチルス・ガセリ菌はLG菌とも呼ばれていて、プロバイオティクス・ヨーグルトに含まれているということで有名な乳酸菌です。胃潰瘍の原因となるピロリ菌を殺傷する能力があると言われています。

胃液に弱い乳酸菌を腸まで届ける方法

毎日ヨーグルトを食べていても、口から接種した乳酸菌は、胃液の殺菌作用などにより、大半が死んでしまいます。また、腸内にたどり着いても、元々体内に存在している腸内細菌には、体内に入ろうとする細菌を排除する働きがあり、腸内に乳酸菌を定着させることが難しいです。

しかし、ビフィズス菌など特定の乳酸菌は、胃液の中でも生き残ることができます。また、ビフィズス菌は、腸で酸を作り出し、酸性に弱い悪玉菌を退治します。死んでしまった乳酸菌も、食物繊維のような働きをして、悪玉菌の死骸を吸着させ、体外へ排出します。

さらに、最近「乳酸菌生産物質」という成分が注目されています。乳酸菌生産物質は、善玉菌の栄養となる成分のことで、胃液などで死んでしまうことがなく、元々体内に存在する腸内細菌に排除されることもありません。乳酸菌を摂取するためには、毎日ヨーグルトを食べるのもいいですが、胃液などの影響を受けない乳酸菌のサプリメントや、市販させている乳酸菌生産物を摂取することも有効です。

風邪をひきやすいという人は特に、乳酸菌関連のサプリなどをチェックしてみてください。

まとめ:腸内環境を整えて風邪予防するために、乳酸菌を積極的に取り入れよう

腸内環境を整えることと風邪予防は、一見関係のないことのように思えますが、腸は栄養を吸収するだけでなく、免疫機能をコントロールする器官でもありますので、体調と深い関係があります。腸内細菌には、善玉菌と悪玉菌があり、腸内細菌のバランスをいい状態に保つことが腸内環境を整えて風邪予防をする大切なポイントとなります。

善玉菌の中には、ビフィズス菌やラクトバチルス・ガセリ菌などがありますが、胃液で死んでしまったり、元々体内に存在する腸内細菌に排除されたりして、大半が腸まで届くことができません。善玉菌を腸まで届かせるためには、胃液に強いビフィズス菌を摂取したり、胃液の影響を受けない乳酸菌のサプリメントを飲んだりすることが挙げられます。また、善玉菌の栄養分となる乳酸菌生産物質を取り入れるのもいい方法です。

乳酸菌を積極的に取り入れて、腸内から風邪予防をしましょう。

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