Functional Foods: A Promising Strategy for Restoring Gut Microbiota Diversity Impacted by SARS-CoV-2 Variants

Nutrients. 2023 Jun 5;15(11):2631. doi: 10.3390/nu15112631.


Natural herbs and functional foods contain bioactive molecules capable of augmenting the immune system and mediating anti-viral functions. Functional foods, such as prebiotics, probiotics, and dietary fibers, have been shown to have positive effects on gut microbiota diversity and immune function. The use of functional foods has been linked to enhanced immunity, regeneration, improved cognitive function, maintenance of gut microbiota, and significant improvement in overall health. The gut microbiota plays a critical role in maintaining overall health and immune function, and disruptions to its balance have been linked to various health problems. SARS-CoV-2 infection has been shown to affect gut microbiota diversity, and the emergence of variants poses new challenges to combat the virus. SARS-CoV-2 recognizes and infects human cells through ACE2 receptors prevalent in lung and gut epithelial cells. Humans are prone to SARS-CoV-2 infection because their respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts are rich in microbial diversity and contain high levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2. This review article explores the potential use of functional foods in mitigating the impact of SARS-CoV-2 variants on gut microbiota diversity, and the potential use of functional foods as a strategy to combat these effects.

Keywords: ACE2 receptor; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; concern variants; functional foods; gut microbiota; gut microbiota metabolites.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • COVID-19*
  • Functional Food
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants