Gut health influences our immunity, skin-health and more. But did you know it may have a link with COVID-19 infection?

We all know the importance of a healthy gut. It revs ups digestion and metabolism, and further promotes overall well-being. According to University of California, “Gut health describes the function and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract.” There is an extensive variety of bacteria in our digestive tract. Referred to as microbiome, most of these micro-organisms are extremely beneficial for our health. Several studies around the world have proved its influence on our mood, mental health, skin health, immunity and more. For the uninitiated, about 70 percent of the immunity system is housed with the gut walls. Hence, experts around the world recommend maintaining a healthy gut to promote immunity and prevent several flu and bacterial attacks in the longer run.

Establishing the importance of gut microbiome, a new study finds a surprising link between these bacteria and COVID-19. As per the study, these bacteria may influence the “severity of COVID-19 as well as the magnitude of the immune system response to the infection”. It also suggested that any kind of imbalance may lead to persisting inflammatory symptoms – often dubbed as ‘long COVID’. These findings were published in the journal Gut.

How Is COVID-19 Severities Linked To Gut Health:

The importance of a strong immunity during this ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is no secret to the world. Delnaaz T. Chanduwadia, Chief Dietitian, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai suggests, “Strengthening immunity begins with fuelling your body with right kind of food and every essential nutrient.” Besides, it also depends on the condition of our gut. Hence, the researchers in this study wanted to find out whether these gut microbiome can affect the immune system response to COVID-19 infection.

For this study, the researchers surveyed medical records from 100 hospitals and blood and stool sample of people with confirmed COVID-19 infection between February and May last year. They also had a record of 78 people without COVID-19 infection.

After an extensive survey, it was found that gut microbiome can have a potential effect on the COVID-19 severities.

“In light of reports that a subset of recovered patients with COVID-19 experience persistent symptoms, such as fatigue, dyspnoea [breathlessness] and joint pains, some over 80 days after initial onset of symptoms, we posit that the dysbiotic gut microbiome could contribute to immune-related health problems post-COVID-19,” the researchers explained.

They added, “Bolstering of beneficial gut species depleted in COVID-19 could serve as a novel avenue to mitigate severe disease, underscoring the importance of managing patients’ gut microbiota during and after COVID-19.”

Considering the above factors, we say, maintaining a strong and healthy gut may not only have a positive effect on people affected by COVID-19, but will also help maintain a healthy and nutritious body from within.

Doctor Name: Dr. Doorgesh Jhurry

Designation: M.B.B.S