Home » Health » The Role of Probiotic Food as Immunomodulator to Prevent Covid-19 Infection

The Role of Probiotic Food as Immunomodulator to Prevent Covid-19 Infection


By: Dr. R. Haryo Bimo Setiarto, S.Si, M.Si

Coronavirus (CoV) is a large family of viruses that have a crown-like appendage compartment on their surface.

Human coronavirus (CoV) was identified in the mid-1960s, and currently the following seven types of CoV have been identified as having the ability to cause mild, moderate, and severe symptoms, namely 229E (alpha), NL63 (alpha), OC43 (beta, HKU1 (beta), MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS), SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS), and SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) applicable to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid -19) including artificial ventilation and antiviral agents.

Transmission from human to human mainly occurs through respiratory droplets.

Also read: This is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics

During entry into cells, SARS-CoV-2 uses spike glycoprotein (S) to bind to the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 receptor present on human host epithelial cells.

Type 2 alveolar epithelial cells are found in the human gastrointestinal tract, lungs, heart, and kidneys.

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Thus, type 2 alveolar epithelial cells act as reservoirs for viral proliferation and replication.

The human lung has a large surface area, which is covered with type 2 alveolar epithelial cells.

This can be the reason for the higher susceptibility of the lungs to Covid-19 infection, compared to other organs of the body.

Penetration of coronavirus into lung tissue is responsible for eliciting local inflammatory responses and disease manifestations.

Disease progression leads to an imbalance in redox homeostasis and a sudden increase in free radicals, leading to cellular damage.

The serum of Covid-19 patients experienced an increase in the proinflammatory cytokines TNF, IFN, IL-2, IL-6, IL-7, and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF).

Cytokine storm is an offensive inflammatory response due to Covid-19 infection in some patients, caused by the production of large amounts of proinflammatory cytokines.

These cytokine storms can damage the lungs, digestive tract, brain, cardiovascular system, liver, kidneys, microcirculation, and eyes.

Also read: 5 Foods That Contain Probiotics, Not Only Yogurt

Probiotics are live microorganisms, which when administered in appropriate and adequate amounts can provide health benefits for the human digestive tract.

Probiotics have the ability to regulate functional and mucosal immune cells and epithelial cells in the human intestinal tract.

Probiotics exert a functional role in achieving and maintaining the right balance between necessary and unnecessary protective mechanisms, including all immune responses (innate and adaptive).

The most common types of probiotics belong to the genera Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces.

In addition, the seven most common types of probiotics, including B. animalis subsp. animalis, B. animalis subsp. lactis, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. reuteri, L. casei, and S. boulardii. The probiotic bacterial strains L. reuteri ATCC 55730, L. paracasei, L. casei 431, L. fermentum PCC, and B. infantis 35624 are very important in producing immunomodulatory responses to various infectious diseases.

L. paracasei and L. plantarum have the potential capacity to reduce the immune inflammatory response.

L. reuteri can form biofilms and produce several biological factors that have anti-inflammatory characteristics.

Regulation of the immune response by probiotics is always carried out through several biological interactions as follows:

a. Direct interaction with epithelial cells in the intestinal tract

b. Interaction with dendritic cells

c. Interaction with follicle-associated epithelial cells

d. Interaction with macrophages

e. Interaction with T and B limfosit lymphocytes

f. Interaction with gene expression

g. Interaction with signaling pathways

In addition to the universal efforts being made to develop and manufacture vaccines, the biologic agents required to treat viral infections using immunomodulation have received major attention for research.

Also read: Probiotics Can Help Lose Weight and Reduce Belly Fat

KOMPAS.com/MUHAMMAD NAUFAL Corona virus illustration(Shutterstock)

Immunomodulation refers to the alteration of the immune response or functional immune system by the action of substances that affect the functioning of the immune system which are referred to as immunomodulators.

Immunomodulation includes natural and therapeutic processes aimed at modifying the immune response.

Immunomodulators can be classified into two major groups, namely immunostimulants and immunosuppressants, each of which functions to stimulate and suppress the human immune system.

Read also: New study reveals the ability of probiotics to prevent respiratory infections

It has been reported that in the human gastrointestinal tract, peptidoglycan (released from the cell wall of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria) and lipopolysaccharide (released from the cell wall of only Gram-negative bacteria) from the intestinal bacterial flora can play a significant functional role in enhancing, conserving , and the biological function of the immune system.

Food diversity is the foundation for every creature to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Given the complexity of the gut microbiota ecosystem, a single food item may not dramatically change the overall landscape.

Diet has a major impact on the gut microbiota and can influence the richness and diversity of probiotic microbes in the gut.

High intake of animal protein, saturated fatty acid content, sugar, and salt have been reported to stimulate the growth of pathogenic bacteria causing changes in the intestinal barrier.

Meanwhile, consumption of complex polysaccharides and vegetable protein was associated with an increase in beneficial probiotic bacteria that stimulated SCFA production.

Omega-3s, polyphenols and micronutrients may provide health benefits by modulating the gut microbiota.

In addition, branched-chain amino acids can increase intestinal immunoglobulin levels thereby increasing the intestinal barrier.

High-quality protein is an important component of an anti-inflammatory diet.

Also read: Last Chance to Find Origins of Covid-19, WHO Forms New Task Force

Modern diets in developed countries have shifted from diets rich in fruits, vegetables, polysaccharides and fiber rich in phytochemicals, lean meats to foods low in fiber and high in processed foods with exposure to food additives, refined sugars, and fats. hydrogenated.

One of the key approaches during the COVID-19 pandemic is to strengthen the gut barrier against pathogenic bacteria, increase intestinal motility, and decrease pro-inflammatory states by adopting a more diverse diet, with moderate increases in high-fiber and plant-based foods.

Many viral infections are associated with intestinal microbiota dysbiosis leading to severe gastrointestinal tract infections.

Thus, the role of probiotic-based therapy becomes very important in the management of viral infections.

Probiotics can modulate the host immune response and ward off the cytokine storm generated during Covid-19 infection.

In the event of a vaccine production failure, it is believed the best approach to fight Covid-19 infection is to boost the immune system by using probiotics, which have the potential to minimize inflammation due to Covid-19 infection.

The immune benefits of probiotics in Covid-19 infection can be obtained by developing mucosal immunity through stimulation of IgA secretion, enhancement of the biological functions of phagocytosis and macrophages, and adjustment of regulatory cells.

Consumption of probiotics enhances immunological protection in humans through the balance of immune responses (Th1/Th2) and has a potential role in preventing or reducing various disease pathologies.

Dr. R. Haryo Bimo Setiarto, S.Si, M.Si

Researcher of the National Research and Innovation Center for Biology Research and Innovation

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