You’ve probably heard of probiotics – the “good bacteria” that can benefit our health. We consume them in an expanding variety of ways, often in foods marketed as being healthy. These bacteria can be contained in supplement capsules, yogurts, drinks or even snack bars.
They work by helping prevent other, disease-causing bacteria from infecting our gut. They may also interact with our gut’s immune cells, helping regulate the cells’ activity in the complex gut environment, which is important for preventing unwanted inflammation that can trigger inflammatory bowel disease. Research has also shown that the effects of probiotics may go beyond the gut, regulating immune responses in the lungs as well.
Right now, our immune systems face the constant threat of having to fight off the coronavirus, with it circulating at record levels around the world since the emergence of the highly infectious omicron variant. There are limited treatments available for people that get seriously ill, and current vaccines aren’t highly effective at preventing infection in people that haven’t recently taken a booster.