Probiotics and COVID-19
Probiotics are linked with COVID-19 due to their ability to boost the immune system. Currently, the most extensive research on probiotics includes Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, etc. Although probiotics mechanisms profoundly focus on the gastrointestinal tract, their effects are not confined to the digestive system alone. Probiotics can act on the entire body via immune modulation. Not only that, it also facilitates the immune system's development and maturation and regulates the interaction between host and pathogen by killing the pathogen and regulating the immune responses towards it.
One could argue that, but COVID-19 is a viral infection, not a bacterial infection. A systematic review described the efficacy of probiotics against viral diseases, with over 20 strains of probiotics demonstrating anti-inflammatory effects on the body and antibody production against viruses.
Furthermore, the study discovered that probiotics supplementation reduced viral loads. This is thought to be due to immune modulation by microbiota, which fights COVID-19 directly and reduces the risk of secondary infections caused by prolonged antibiotic exposure from multiple experimental COVID-19 treatments.
China’s National Health Commission recommended probiotics for severe COVID-19 patients to restore the intestinal balance and protect from secondary infections. Moreover, gut microbiota’s role in modulating lung diseases has been demonstrated.
In conclusion, the researchers in this study believe that many more studies on the effectiveness of using probiotics for COVID-19 prevention and treatment should be conducted. Individuals may now benefit from probiotics rich foods and supplementation for its boosting immunity properties and fight against COVID-19, in addition to practising social distancing, wearing masks, and adhering to standard operating procedures (SOP).
- Kurian, S. J., Unnikrishnan, M. K., Miraj, S. S., Bagchi, D., Banerjee, M., Reddy, B. S., Rodrigues, G. S., Manu, M. K., Saravu, K., Mukhopadhyay, C., & Rao, M. (2021). Probiotics in Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19: Current Perspective and Future Prospects. Archives of medical research, 52(6), 582–594. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcmed.2021.03.002