Recent evidence suggest that probiotics might be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.
It’s incredibly important to be informed about things that we can do to protect ourselves not just from initial contraction of the virus, but the long term effects it can have on the different organs of the body, especially the gut.
The gut-lung connection
Initially we thought that COVID-19 only impacted the respiratory system. We are now understanding how the virus can impact other systems of the body, such as our gut. Because the small intestine contains ACE2 receptors, it becomes a transmissible route for the virus to travel to.
- About 70% of your immune system is housed in your gut.
- The bacteria in the gut modulate the immunity of distal organs, such as the lungs.
- Early-life acid-suppressive medications and antibiotic use, fast food consumption, cesarean-section delivery, and formula feeding are correlated with an increased risk of asthma.
- In both murine and human studies in which oral administration of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium breve potentially prevented and treated allergies and asthma.
How does COVID-19 impact the gut?
Emerging evidence has suggested a link between the infection and gut microbiome status. This is one of the several factors that may contribute towards severity of infection.
SARS-CoV-2 can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain during the early phases of the disease. Research has shown that infection of the virus is also associated with significantly higher levels of calprotectin which is elevated in patients with inflammation in the gut.
Given the fact that the gut is heavily linked to immunity, inflammatory response in the body and the ability to challenge pathogens, this highlights the importance of dietary intervention of the gut microbiota as means of potentially challenging the outcomes of this virus.
Clinicaltrials.gov currently reveals nine trials exploring the impact of probiotics on COVID-19; these include a prophylactic focus on Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in household contacts of COVID-19 sufferers.
One newly completed study published by d’Ettorre et al. examined seventy patients positive for COVID-19 requiring non-invasive oxygen therapy who were provided with hydroxychloroquine therapy along with antibiotics and tocilizumab; in twenty-eight of these, an oral probiotic mixture was also administered. Along with improved gut symptoms, the probiotic group had an eight-fold reduction in risk of developing respiratory failure. This shows
promise and data evidence for the use of probiotics to combat respiratory difficulties. As clinical evidence gathers, the role for a simple and safe prebiotic or probiotic intervention against COVID-19 infection could become more important.
Indeed, meta-analysis of pre- and probiotic studies has concluded that intervention alongside influenza vaccination can lead to elevated immunogenicity through enhancing sero-conversion of inoculated persons.
Tips for taking care of your gut:
- Consider taking a daily probiotic.
- Take the GI Map stool test (book a free discovery call with me before purchasing)
- Make sure you have adequate vitamin D levels.
- Consumer prebiotic foods such as onions, garlic, banana, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, etc.
- Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Limit your added sugar and alcohol intake.
- Purchase my book Rewire Your Gut for delicious nutrient dense recipes.