Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the beneficial bacteria found in the human gut. They are often referred to as “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep the gut healthy and support immune function. Probiotics are available in supplement form, as well as in fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut.
The scientific definition of probiotics is “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” This means that probiotics can improve the function of the immune system and the overall health of the host (in this case, the human body).
In the context of COVID-19, probiotics have gained attention due to their potential to support immune function and respiratory health. A review of several studies found that probiotics may help reduce the severity and duration of respiratory tract infections, including the common cold. While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between probiotics and COVID-19, some studies have suggested that certain probiotic strains may have a positive effect on respiratory health and immune function.
Here are some specific probiotic strains that have been studied for their potential benefits against COVID-19 and other respiratory tract infections:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: This strain has been shown to have a positive effect on gut health and has been studied for its potential to reduce the severity and duration of respiratory tract infections.
- Bifidobacterium lactis: This strain has been shown to improve digestion and may have a positive effect on immune function.
- Saccharomyces boulardii: This strain is a type of yeast that has been shown to have a positive effect on gut health and has been studied for its potential to reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: This strain is found in fermented foods such as yogurt and has been shown to have a positive effect on gut health.
It’s important to note that not all probiotics are created equal. Different probiotics may have different effects on the body, and it’s important to choose a high-quality product that has been extensively tested for safety and effectiveness.
Overall, probiotics can be a useful tool for supporting immune function and maintaining overall health, particularly for individuals who are at higher risk for COVID-19 and other respiratory tract infections. While more research is needed to fully understand the role of probiotics in the human body, current evidence suggests that they may be a useful addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle.