COVID-19: GI Microbiome and COVID Susceptibility

You should have a gut feeling about COVID-19… and you’re not alone down there

Dicken Weatherby, N.D. and Beth Ellen DiLuglio, MS, RDN, LDN

The gastrointestinal microbiota and microbiome must also be considered when assessing chronic disease risk and COVID-19 susceptibility.[i] 

The ODX COVID-19 Series

  1. COVID-19: The pandemic that has become endemic
  2. COVID-19: Overlapping risk factors and chronic disease
  3. Nutritional status and COVID-19: A covert factor in disease susceptibility
  4. COVID-19: Blood chemistry biomarker patterns - Clues and patterns lurking just under the surface
  5. COVID-19: Blood chemistry biomarker patterns - Down the research rabbit hole
  6. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Neutrophils
  7. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Albumin
  8. COVID-19: BloodBiomarkers - Cytokines
  9. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Interleukin-6
  10. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Interleukin-10
  11. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Vitamin C
  12. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Vitamin D
  13. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Zinc
  14. Biomarker characteristics and blood type - help sharpen the COVID-19 clinical picture
  15. COVID-19: Initial indications and conventional interventions
  16. COVID-19: Long-term risk reduction - Naturopathic, functional medicine, and nutrition-based approaches to prevention
  17. A healthy diet is primary prevention for COVID-19
  18. You should have a gut feeling about COVID-19
  19. Beyond dietary food patterns…plant-based compounds may mitigate COVID-19 risk
  20. Targeted nutrition support in the battle against COVID-19
  21. Targeted nutrition support in COVID-19: Armed with vitamin C
  22. Targeted nutrition support in COVID-19: In sync with zinc
  23. Targeted nutrition support in COVID-19: Micronutrients and phytonutrients are important players
  24. Optimal Takeaways for improving immunity and reducing susceptibility to COVID-19
  25. Optimal - The Podcast: Episode 8 -Blood Biomarkers and Risk Factors for COVID-19 and its Comorbidities

A healthy plant-based diet that is beneficial to humans is beneficial to human gut microbiota as well.[ii] [iii]

Source: Donati Zeppa, Sabrina et al. “Gut Microbiota Status in COVID-19: An Unrecognized Player?.” Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology vol. 10 576551. 26 Nov. 2020, doi:10.3389/fcimb.2020.576551. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

A healthy gut microbiota/microbiome will impart protective immunity for its host, help regulate inflammation, and have direct effects on the lungs, a primary target of SARS-CoV-2. The lungs have a unique microbiota of their own, and bidirectional communication is facilitated via the “gut-lung axis.” Preliminary research suggests that the pathogenesis of sepsis and ARDS may be directly related to the gut microbiota.[iv]

Supplementation with probiotics and supportive prebiotics (e.g., soluble fibers) may be beneficial in COVID-19, Promising supplements include commensal strains such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium as well as specific strains such as Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecalis, and Streptococcus salivarius. Supplementation with whey protein and pea protein may support a healthy microbiota as well.[v] Hopefully, ongoing research will help tailor probiotic therapeutic intervention in COVID-19.

Source: Dhar, Debojyoti, and Abhishek Mohanty. “Gut microbiota and Covid-19- possible link and implications.” Virus research vol. 285 (2020): 198018. doi:10.1016/j.virusres.2020.198018. Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource center with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource center is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource center - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgment of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource center remains active.

Gastrointestinal microorganisms can impact COVID-19 susceptibility. It’s important to pay attention to what may survive and thrive in the GI tract and how it may affect immunity and inflammation.

Next Up - Beyond dietary food patterns…plant-based compounds may mitigate COVID-19 risk

Research

[i] Donati Zeppa, Sabrina et al. “Gut Microbiota Status in COVID-19: An Unrecognized Player?.” Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology vol. 10 576551. 26 Nov. 2020, doi:10.3389/fcimb.2020.576551

[ii] Rishi, Praveen et al. “Diet, Gut Microbiota and COVID-19.” Indian journal of microbiology, vol. 60,4 1-10. 28 Sep. 2020, doi:10.1007/s12088-020-00908-0 

[iii] Gou, W., et al. "Gut microbiota may underlie the predisposition of healthy individuals to COVID-19." (2020). 

[iv] Dhar, Debojyoti, and Abhishek Mohanty. “Gut microbiota and Covid-19- possible link and implications.” Virus research vol. 285 (2020): 198018. doi:10.1016/j.virusres.2020.198018 

[v] Donati Zeppa, Sabrina et al. “Gut Microbiota Status in COVID-19: An Unrecognized Player?.” Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology vol. 10 576551. 26 Nov. 2020, doi:10.3389/fcimb.2020.576551 

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