Immune Response: Viruses

Quick Facts about your immune response.

01/ Your immune system is your primary defence against viruses.

02/ Your intestinal microbiome plays a crucial role in shaping healthy immune function.

03/ Your microbiome plays a crucial role in protecting against viral infection.

04/ Lactobacillus bacteria can assist in fighting the influenza virus.

05/ Lactobacilli may assist your immune defence against viruses but they are not a guarantee to avoid infection.

Fact 1: Your immune system is your primary defence against viruses.

White blood cells are the key players in your immune system response and the main defence against viral infection and there are more white blood cells found in your intestine than anywhere else in the body. However, the intestinal microbiota also plays a crucial role in shaping immune function and susceptibility to disease.

 

Fact 2: Your intestinal microbiome plays a crucial role in shaping healthy immune function.

 A healthy, rich and diverse gut microbiome plays a crucial role in the development, education and maturation of your immune system. Your microbiome teaches your immune system to both tolerate the gut microbiota and fight pathogenic microbes. Gut bacteria can elicit immune responses from white blood cells that are either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory or both, that maintain immune equilibrium. An unhealthy gut microbiome with decreased diversity is correlated with immune dysregulation.

 

"The human body is constantly exposed to viruses. The challenge for the immune system in fighting viruses is that viruses can adapt to the human host via genetic mutations that allows them to overcome human defence systems."

 

 

Fact 3: Your microbiome plays a crucial role in protecting against viral infection.

The role of your microbiome in protecting against viruses is very complex and not yet entirely understood, but there is clear evidence to show commensal bacteria play an important role in prompting healthy immune responses against pathogenic viruses, including the immune response in the respiratory system against the influenza virus. 
 

Fact 4: Lactobacillus bacteria can assist in fighting the influenza virus.

Not all commensal bacteria contribute equally to immune response against viral infection in the lung. A Yale University study of mice showed that the use of antibiotics caused a severe disruption to the gut and nasal microbiomes and significantly diminished the nasal mucosal immune response to influenza infection. This shift in the gut and nasal microbiomes was due to a reduction in Lactobacillus species, which suggests these bacteria are partly responsible for immunocompetence against influenza virus. (Read the article here)

 

Fact 5: Lactobacilli may assist your immune defence against viruses but they are not a guarantee to avoid infection.

Although there’s preliminary evidence that Lactobacillus may play a role in the immune response to influenza virus infections, there’s no evidence in humans that supplementing with Lactobacillus will prevent viral infection. There is clinical evidence however that supplementation with Lactobacillus species such as Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum can reduce the duration and symptom severity of upper respiratory tract infections and enhance the immune response to the influenza vaccine. 
 

"There is clinical evidence that supplementation with Lactobacillus species such as Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum can reduce the duration and symptom severity of upper respiratory tract infections and enhance the immune response to the influenza vaccine."