In times such as the current Corona pandemic, just as during any cold or flu season, it is important to boost your body’s defenses. This is anything but new, but in view of the present widespread uncertainty, the media and many medical practitioners – among them Professor Michaela Axt-Gadermann from the University of Coburg – are correct in emphasizing this fact repeatedly. Boosting the body’s defenses is primarily achieved by eating right. “Multiple studies have shown that both a healthy gut flora and the right probiotic bacteria strengthen the immune system, protect against infection with viruses and bacteria, and reduce vaccination failure rates”, wrote Prof. Axt-Gadermann in a recent article.
We understand the gut flora (also referred to as gut microbiota) as the total of all bacteria and yeasts present in guts of humans and animals. In the US, new findings have shown that the gut flora not only includes a microbiome crucial to our health (the diversity of all bacteria), but also a virome, i.e. a collection of important and healthy viruses. They can have a positive impact on our metabolism and may in this way strengthen our immune system.
The researchers specifically looked at how viruses colonize the guts of babies and at the role played by mother’s milk. They examined the infants’ stools and at age one month were able to identify first bacteriophages. The latter are a group of viruses which devour bacteria and are in some countries used as a therapy for harmful bacteria, e.g. salmonella. In this manner, these viruses protect our body!
Some months later, they were also able to detect harmful viruses in the babies’ guts – compared to their bottle-fed peers, however, breastfed babies had far fewer of these. The gut flora of babies raised on mother’s milk is evidently doing a far better job of keeping pathogenic viruses at bay and provides them with a reduced basis for growth. Similar to previous studies, this demonstrated the key role of breast milk for the healthy development of the gut flora. In addition, the US study provided insights into the interaction between viruses and bacteria in our gut.
A healthy diet containing both probiotics and prebiotics (i.e. food for bacteria) is good for the gut flora as such, and thus also for the body’s defenses against viral infections. It supports the positive effects of healthy bacteria and viruses and helps reduce the number of harmful bacteria already in the gut.
Dieser Post ist auch verfügbar auf: German