Probiotics, Immune Health, & Potential Virus Interaction

Statue of Liberty wearing mask

Respiratory infections, outbreaks of Ebola, and Flu Viruses including Sars-Covid-19 make immune system health a topic of much global interest post 2020. What steps should we be taking to ensure our immune systems are in optimal condition to combat the diseases of today & future outbreaks?

Most of the points in this email are drawn from a recent well researched paper compiling findings from 100+ sources “Role of Probiotics to Combat Viral Infections with Emphasis on Covid-19”, and we would like to state clearly that Bluebiology products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

“Any infections of the upper respiratory tract lead to elaborate connections between bacterial pathogens and viruses, both synergistic and competitive.”

Interestingly, probiotics have been shown to have a positive effect on immune system health through modulation of the vitamin D axis. Potentially through supporting and stimulating mucosal barrier function and suppressing inflammation.

The research reviewed often links gut microbiota and the lungs ability to fight infection.

“During airway infection of the respiratory tract, body’s commensal organisms stimulate the immune response to the local (lung) and distal (gut) sites, considered as gut-lung axis, where gut microbiota modulate pulmonary immune system during this infection” (Budden et al. 2017).

From the research, there appears to be a very strong relationship between gut health and lung health, often referred to as the ‘gut-lung axis.’ Lung health can affect gut health and vice versa, with modulation of the microbiome in each potentially having an effect on the ability of the other to fight infection.

“Probiotics showed significant microbial killing properties through alveolar macrophage, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α and IL-6 in the lung (Vieira et al. 2016; Belkacem et al. 2017).”

Neutrophils and natural killer cells are very generic white blood cells found throughout the body, while alveolar macrophage are found specifically in the lungs, cytokines are compounds secreted by cells for a variety of immune system needs.

There appears to be a very strong link between these two things, modulation of gut bacteria has been shown to affect severity of various lung infections, though finding the right gut microbiota balance for an individual fighting an infection is very complicated and remains unknown.

Probiotics, especially bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, have been shown in studies to have a beneficial effect against influenza viral infection in the respiratory tract and another study showed very promising results with SARS-CoV patients. (Feng, Z.; Wang, Y.; Qi, W. The Small Intestine, an Underestimated Site of SARS-CoV-2 Infection: From Red Queen Effect to Probiotics. Preprints 2020, 2020030161 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202003.0161.v1)

Probiotic supplements have long been thought to support immune system health in many ways, though there is a great deal of research to be done and it will take quite some time to develop our understanding of the gut microbiome and effects of probiotic supplementation.


Sundararaman, A., Ray, M., Ravindra, P.V. et al. Role of probiotics to combat viral infections with emphasis on COVID-19. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 104, 8089–8104 (2020).

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