Turbocharge your immune system

Getting sick can make you miserable at any age. But when you're a little older, even a minor illness or infection can hit you like a sack of bricks.

It's unfair, but many older folks get sicker easier and stay sick longer.

Your body just doesn't bounce back the way it used to.

But there is a way to turn it around -- a simple step you can take today to arm your immune system to cut your risk of illness and infection and help you recover quicker if you do get sick.

And it's something I hope you're already taking: probiotics.

The study isn't ideal because it looks at only one strain of bacteria, called Bifidobacterium lactis. But even just this one friendly bug can have some pretty powerful effects on your immune system.

The new analysis of four older studies finds that B. lactis can charge up the white blood cells that power your immune system, including the natural killer cells that fight off viral invaders and even wipe out cancer cells.

That's about as far as the new study went, but that's not all that B. lactis can do for your immune system.

One study just a few years back found that B. lactis can boost the activity of two very important types of immune system cells known as monocytes and granulocytes.

These are white blood cells that patrol your body and attack invaders such as viruses and bacteria.

Ever have someone sneeze right in your face... or spend a day with someone so ill you were convinced you'd get sick yourself... only to find a few days later that you're still perfectly healthy?

You've got all those immune cells to thank.

Thank them, and then make sure they have what they need to keep doing the job.

In the new study, the seniors who were given the probiotics got it from a fortified milk drink -- and I'm sure it won't surprise you in the least to learn that the company behind the study is already planning to market this stuff to seniors.

Don't get hoodwinked, my friend.

Whatever they pump out will no doubt be overpriced and sweetened. And given the high number of people with dairy sensitivities, milk isn't exactly the best beverage for your health anyway.

Look instead for a quality probiotic supplement that contains this B. lactis as well as other human-tested strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.

Together, these healthy germs can help improve your digestion, make sure you absorb essential nutrients, boost your mood, and cut your risk of infection.