Karen's Blog

COVID-19 and Gut Microbiota Composition

COVID-19 and Gut Microbiota Composition

Karen Brooks

"Gut Microbiota Composition Reflects Disease Severity and Dysfunctional Immune Responses in Patients With COVID-19"

Yeoh, Zuo, Lui et. al. BMJ January 2021

I read a lot about the microbiome, an awful lot, enough to have learnt that one of the keys to good health is balanced gut microbiota - and now I always eat with my microbiome in mind!

This study caught my eye as it looked at the gut microbiota populations in COVID-19 patients, the findings were interesting and, in many ways, not surprising.

Key Fact: The GI tract (gut) is the largest immunological organ in the body and the resident microbes greatly influence the immune response.

Key findings from this study:
✳ imbalances in gut microbe types, and particularly lower numbers of those species which help to regulate immune responses, may contribute to more severe COVID-19 disease.
✳ dysbiotic (imbalanced) gut microbiota persist after recovery from the disease and could be a factor in developing symptoms which persist - what is being termed "long covid".
✳ It is suggested that improving and encouraging the presence of beneficial gut bacteria species, which have been shown to be depleted in COVID-19, could be a strategy to employ before, during and after the illness.

Identifying the residents of your gut microbiome is something which can be done using readily available stool tests, and this is one type of test I regularly recommend to clients. In fact, I recently tested my own microbiome and results showed I had work to do to increase my "good" gut bacteria. I think I eat a varied and balanced diet, so it just goes to show you don't know what's there until you test!

The beauty of testing is that you know which beneficial species are present and which are missing and you CAN do something about it. We know which types of foods encourage our "good" gut bugs to grow and how to discourage the ones we don't want. We also have the tools of probiotics (beneficial bacteria in supplemental form or in foods) and prebiotics (foods for the good bugs) which can be used to rebalance the gut microbiota.

If there's ever been a time to look after your gut microbes - it's now!
Interested in gut microbiome testing? Please send me a message for more information.