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Gut Microbiome and COVID Symptoms

Gut Microbiome and COVID Symptoms

The microbiome consists of billions of bacteria in and around our bodies, primarily in the gut. They are the regulators, statesmen, warriors and peacemakers of our existence. The gut microbiome has been implicated in both health and disease. In particular, inflammatory diseases and metabolic disorders (IBD, joint disorders, fibromyalgia and diabetes) have been associated with inflammation originating in the gut. But how are the gut microbiome and COVID symptoms related if this is primarily a disease of the respiratory tract?

Gut Microbiome and COVID Symptoms

There is growing evidence that the GI system (the guts) are involved in the disease. Moreover, the gut microbiome may have an influence on the severity of the disease in the respiratory tract; and/or, the gut microbiome may be altered by disease (particularly in hospitalized patients).  This theory is yet to be proven; however there does appear to be an association between the gut and the virus.

Gut Microbiome Might Influence COVID-19 Severity

As mentioned earlier, gut microbes have particular tasks. The gut microbiomes associated with modulating the immune response were measured to be lower in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. They amount of microbiomes is measured in “colonies” because the numbers are too great to count. The colonies of the protective microbiomes were lower in patients with more COVID-19 disease symptoms. It is unclear if the changes in the gut microbiome are unique to COVID-19 or could apply to other diseases.

It is possible that the gut microbiome can influence in a few ways with COVID-19 disease. The microbiome may influence protective mechanism to control disease severity but also timeline. There are some patients who have “long-COVID” – the virus is no longer present but significant residual health effects remain. In these patients, perhaps the microbiome remains altered and thus, the inflammatory effects remain. If such were the case, then is a just treatment the restoration of the gut microbiome? Is there a benefit to a daily probiotic in the prevention and control of COVID-19 infection and disease – maybe?

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