September 27, 2023 2:29 am
Functional foods and herbs show promise in tackling SARS-CoV-2 variants

In a current study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers overview the influence of coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) on the gut microbiota and microbiome-connected immunity, as properly as the use of nutritional interventions, which includes pre- and probiotics in decreasing the susceptibility to COVID-19.

Study: Functional Foods: A Promising Strategy for Restoring Gut Microbiota Diversity Impacted by SARS-CoV-2 Variants. Image Credit: ridersuperone / Study: Functional Foods: A Promising Technique for Restoring Gut Microbiota Diversity Impacted by SARS-CoV-two Variants. Image Credit: ridersuperone /


Considering that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, developing proof indicates that nutrition and supplementation with necessary minerals and vitamins can considerably cut down the severity of extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus two (SARS-CoV-two) infection.

Vitamins C and D are identified to strengthen the immune response against viruses and cut down cellular tension and levels of reactive oxygen species. Likewise, minerals such as zinc also contribute to the anti-viral response by enhancing the efficacy of anti-viral drugs and exerting their immune-protective effects.

In addition to extreme respiratory symptoms, fatigue, fever, and dyspnea, involving two-21% of COVID-19 sufferers also expertise gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal discomfort. Examinations of the gut microbiome of COVID-19 sufferers have revealed substantial dysbiosis that increases their susceptibility to secondary infections in the respiratory and GI tracts.

The gut microbiome is essential for processing and absorbing necessary macro and micronutrients in the physique, as properly as supporting immune function. Hence, understanding the influence of COVID-19 on the gut microbiome and creating nutritional interventions to restore the microbiome balance can aid cut down the severity of SARS-CoV-two infection and subsequent secondary infections.

COVID-19 and the gut microbiome

The presence of SARS-CoV-two ribonucleic acid (RNA) in stool samples indicates that the virus can infect the GI tract and spread by means of the fecal-oral route. In addition, imaging methods have revealed mesenteric thickening, hyperemia and bowel wall thickening, fluid-filled significant intestine, and pneumatosis in sufferers with SARS-CoV-two infections.

Diarrhea and nausea are the most widespread GI symptoms knowledgeable by COVID-19 sufferers, with gut dysbiosis believed to be a big lead to of these symptoms. Research examining the gut microbiome of SARS-CoV-two infected sufferers revealed a reduce in the abundance and diversity of advantageous bacteria such as Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, and Eubacterium and subsequent enhance in species such as Clostridium hathewayi, Coprobacillus, and Clostridium ramosum that show constructive associations with illness severity.

Dysbiosis, which entails the loss of advantageous gut microbes, loss of all round microbial diversity, and elevated abundance of pathogenic bacteria, is linked with several other chronic illnesses. Alterations in the gut microbiome enhance the threat of other comorbidities such as Alzheimer’s illness, hypertension, asthma, and dementia, as properly as an altered immune method, the latter of which can enhance an individual’s threat of extreme SARS-CoV-two infection.

The age-connected reduce in gut microbial diversity has also been implicated in the elevated severity of SARS-CoV-two infection in elderly sufferers. Obesity, which also has substantial associations with gut microbiome dysbiosis, is also correlated with extreme COVID-19 outcomes.

Other threat components such as diabetes and hyperglycemia, and cancers are also identified to lead to gut microbiome dysbiosis, which contributes to the elevated susceptibility of diabetes and cancer sufferers to COVID-19.

Therapies and interventions

Antiemetic and antidiarrheal drugs can be utilized to address nausea and diarrhea linked with COVID-19, along with frequent rehydration and monitoring of potassium levels. Furthermore, growing advantageous gut bacteria by means of the consumption of plant proteins, polyphenols, complicated polysaccharides, and micronutrients could strengthen COVID-19 outcomes by growing the production of quick-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) required for immune method regulation.

GI symptoms of COVID-19 can also be alleviated by prebiotic intake, which aids restore the gut microbiome balance. The use of prebiotics, which consist of fibers that enhance gut fermentation and advantageous gut bacterial development, has been preferred in several standard medicine types and addressing GI challenges such as diarrhea and constipation.

Probiotics aid break down the several fibers that constitute prebiotics, which subsequently leads to the production of SCFAs that activate G-protein coupled receptors and influence the activities of several immune cells, such as macrophages, T-cells, and dendritic cells. Specific probiotic bacteria also exhibit anti-viral properties against other coronaviruses.

Different organic compounds and herbal formulations are also becoming explored for their efficacy in decreasing the severity of SARS-CoV-two infection. These formulations frequently include bioactive compounds such as alkylamides, curcuminoids, and alkaloids that have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.


The existing study offers a extensive understanding of the influence of COVID-19 on the gut microbiome and the subsequent enhance in susceptibility to extreme SARS-CoV-two infection due to the detrimental effects of gut microbiome dysbiosis on immune function.

The researchers also discussed the several therapeutic interventions such as probiotics, prebiotics, herbal formulations, and functional foods that can be utilized to restore the balance of the gut microbiome, thereby enhancing immune method function and resilience against extreme COVID-19 outcomes.

Journal reference:

  • Banerjee, A., Somasundaram, I., Das, D., et al. (2023). Functional Foods: A Promising Technique for Restoring Gut Microbiota Diversity Impacted by SARS-CoV-two Variants. Nutrients 15(11). doi:ten.3390/nu15112631

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