Against novel coronavirus, the weapons at our disposal are social distancing, washing hands often with soap and water for a minute, using disinfectant solutions with at least 60% alcohol on hands and surfaces, sneezing or coughing covering with a handkerchief and not touching the face with dirty hands. These are effective ways of prevention that we should always put into practice during this emergency. It is also important to take care of ourselves, our health and the health of the immune system in order to put it in the best conditions to face any external threat. We have dedicated several posts to the role of diet in supporting the immune system. Today let's talk about what probiotics can do and why it's important to take them.
Coronavirus, the possible protective role of probiotics
An article published last month in the Digestive Diseases magazine (Qin Yan Gao et al, 2020), highlights the connection between the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract. This connection is not yet well understood but what emerged from the analysis of data concerning patients with respiratory infections is that they also had intestinal dysfunction, often linked to more severe symptoms and more difficult clinical course. The same has been observed in COVID-19 patients. In addition to this, there is also the fact that an intestinal microbiota (namely the bacteria that live in our intestine) in health can reduce the incidence of pneumonia as a consequence of interventions with intubations, also called ventilator?associated pneumonia. The study authors therefore recommend taking probiotics as supportive therapy against COVID-19. There is still no scientific evidence that probiotics can have a therapeutic role against COVID-19, the article reported here in fact reaches these conclusions based on previous observations, but certainly including in your diet probiotic foods can be an additional way to reinforce the defenses. It should be emphasized that probiotics to maintain intestinal balance and to prevent secondary infections are also included in the guidelines of the Chinese government for the treatment of patients with COVID-19, thus recognizing the importance of this type of food and supplements.
What are probiotics and how to take them
Probiotics are live bacteria contained in particular supplements and foods that are intended to bring balance to the microbiota. Foods considered probiotics are yogurt, which must however contain the addition of probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, plantarum, rhamnosus and casei and some Bifidobacteria, such as animalis, breve, bifidum, longum and lactis, you can read it on the label, but also sauerkraut , miso, tempeh, olives, chocolate, pickles and kefir (Syngai et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2016).