Academy Lecture

Probiotics; Unexplored Potential Towards Boosting Immunity

A dynamic relationship exists between our immune system, structural, and functional changes in gut microbiota. Probiotics play a crucial role in the composition of gut microbiota. Probiotics have also been shown that they can improve the intestinal barrier function by reducing intestinal permeability while restoring the microbial shift features in line with intestinal immunity. We have come to understand that Breast milk is not sterile but contains as many as 600 different species of various bacteria, including Bifidobacterium breve, B. adolescentis, B. longum, B. bifidum, and B. dentium (Cabrera-Rubio et al., 2012). Probiotics isolated from breast milk are suggested to have various health benefits. Some of the strains have been shown to produce anti-microbial compounds to inhibit the growth of E. coli, Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes (Olivares et al., 2006). 

The shifting trend in the war against infection

The era of infection control or prevention by curative medication has shifted towards the use of some beneficial bacterial conglomerates tagged probiotics to help boost our immune system, which ultimately fights many deadly infections. Those probiotics species that have been isolated by various techniques from breast milk include; staphylococcus, streptococcus, lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus, and Lactococcus, etc. Most of the strains are with their peculiarities that made them important towards the immune system.

What probiotics from breast milk offer neonates and children

The first colonizers of infant gut microbiota are; streptococcus and enterococcus, which are probiotics from breast milk. They play a role in building children’s intestinal microbiota, which is an essential step towards the development of the immune system later in life since the gastrointestinal tract is the largest immune organ in the body. Those earlier priming and development of gut microbiota help other important immune system components and functions appropriately to prevent pathogenic bacteria colonization and fight against infection at a later stage in life. The mode of actions includes; educating the immune system to stimulate its maturation it maintains immunological tolerance to food components or commensal microbiota to help the immune system in acquiring the capacity to respond to pathogenic microbes (Shirin et al., 2018).

The Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species help to enhance the immune response in preventing and treating diarrhea and allergic diseases due to their rich contribution towards the immune system. A trial has shown that when supplements rich in this strain of probiotics are administered to nursing mothers in capsule form, the child tends to benefits hence results in a lower incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infections (Martin, 2017).

The immunostimulatory effects of the probiotic strain were noticed, especially with regards to the increase in the production of innate and acquired immunity peptides in the child. Probiotics from breast milk act by providing anti-microbial actions, immunomodulatory effects, and gastrointestinal benefits, which all contribute to the promotion of the immune system at large.

Lactobacillus fermentum, which is one of the bacteria found in breast milk, plays a health-promoting role in infants. It acts by reducing the incidence of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.

What probiotics strains from breast milk are good for the elderly and young people

L.reuteri is another probiotic species from breast milk found to act by initiating certain anti-microbial activities against a wide range of gram-negative or positive bacteria, fungi, yeast, or parasites. These activities are due to its contribution to the immune system via the production of broad-spectrum anti-microbial substances.

L.fermentum confer on the immune system, an anti-inflammatory effect. These immune system properties have been found to play an important role in inflammation associated with the mammary gland of lactating mothers (acute mastitis). All these probiotics can modulate our immune system and strengthen immunity and keep young or elderly healthy.

Why researchers need to tap into the potential of breastmilk sourced probiotics

Interleukin, IL-6, and IL-1beta,  have been found to play a role of anti-inflammatory and protective effects on the intestinal mucosa. The probiotic lactobacillus Plantarum and Lactobacillus paracasei, which is part of the microbiota in breastmilk, have some effects which are yet to be understood in terms of production of the IL-6. However, the only aspect that is well understood is that it helps potentiate the effects of those interleukins in the process as immunomodulatory probiotics for the neonates. The probiotics also improve the protective effects in the intestinal mucosa during the inflammatory conditions.



Due to the spread of the global epidemic,  we started to pay attention to preventing viral infections. Now is a good time to utilize various effective ways to protect us from virus infection. Scientists need to focus on developing various ways to help us against infection. Another way to protect yourself against infections is to improve your immune system.  Your immune system is the best preventive weapon. We can improve immunity by supplementing probiotics. Selecting the right probiotics-based supplements that are carefully extracted from breast milk to improve our immune system is the right choice to make at this time. Apart from the immune system boosting the capacity of probiotics, the weight management features will also be beneficial to users when compared to various other methods. 

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