- The link between your gut and respiratory illness
- Are there bacteria in your lungs? The truth is revealed….
- Why people with gastrointestinal symptoms can have worse covid 19 outcomes
I’ve written a lot in recent years about your microbiome.
This refers to the community of micro-organisms, including bacteria, archaea, fungi, viruses and other microbes which live in your body.
Mostly, when we think about this, we think of the gut.
A lot of evidence has linked an imbalance in gut bacteria to an array of common ailments, diseases, and psychological conditions.
However, here’s something you might not realise.
Your lungs have a microbiome, too.
Until very recently, healthy lungs were considered a sterile place, free from bacteria.
Certainly, it’s not something the majority of us would ever think about.
Bacteria in your lungs means infection, surely?
But think of it this way…
Bacteria live all over the planet, in even the most hostile places – deep beneath arctic ice, in deserts and hot volcanic vents in the deep sea.
They’re on every surface of our homes, too.
And as for our bodies…
There are more bacterial cells inside us than there are human cells (roughly 40 trillion bacterial cells versus) 30 trillion human cells.
That means you are more bacteria than human!
So clearly, they’re ging to thrive in the warm interior of your lungs. And while not as complex and rich in microbial life as the gut, your lungs have a lot happening on the microscopic level.
And that’s a good thing.
But of course, things go wrong.
When we get ill and our lungs become inflamed, there’s a shift in their microbial community, as ‘Gammaproteobacteria’ take over.
This class of bacteria class contains common lung-associated pathogens that thrive on the by-products of inflammation.
They also cause MORE inflammation to occur, creating a vicious cycle.
But there is a solution.
And, yet again, it’s in your gut.
The link between your gut and respiratory illness
New research has found to a connection between the gut microbiome and the lungs, which is now termed the ‘gut-lung axis’.
What that means is that your gut’s ability to strengthen the body’s immune response is also crucial for fighting off an infection in your lungs as well.
And here’s the latest proof…
In recent trials, probiotics were found to reduce symptoms of viral upper respiratory tract infections by over 27%.
In other words, something natural, which you eat and then goes into your gut, can actually improve your ability to fight off chest infections.
This probiotic treatment worked particularly well in people who were over the 45 years old, especially those who were overweight.
So that’s two of the classic higher risk categories for Covid 19 complications.
Which means that probiotics and prebiotics could be new weapons in the fight against the virus.
The research authors said that this “underscores the importance of the food-as-medicine credo that is increasingly gaining popularity among consumers.”
And there’s more…
A link between gastrointestinal symptoms and Covid
Although COVID-19 primarily attacks the lungs, it also strikes at other parts of the body, including your gut.
In new research at Stanford University scientists have shown that patients with gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. heartburn, indigestion, bloating and constipation) are five times more likely to be admitted to hospital.
Why could this be?
Well, the coronavirus enters your cells by binding to ACE2 receptors in the lungs. ACE2 is a protein involved in many biological processes including blood pressure regulation, wound healing, and inflammation.
So ACE2 receptors are like an open door to Covid!
People who have problems with their gut microbiota tend to have more ACE2 receptors.
So this increases their likelihood of getting runaway inflammation and more severe cases, which of course will go to the lungs.
It is still early days for research into the gut-lung axis, but I think this is going to become bigger and bigger news as the story develops.
Certainly, if you want to give your lungs an immunity boost, a few months with regular probiotics.
For instance, you could add these to your diet regularly:
- Natural yoghurt
- Miso soup
- Coconut water
- Sourdough bread
At the same time, you should also eat more ‘prebiotics’. Examples include:
- Dandelion greens
If you can eat some of these in their raw state, even better.
Just as importantly, you need to try this diet over a long period. It takes time for adjustments to happen in your gut, so this isn’t a quick fix.
However, I realise that it can be a struggle to consistently buy, store and consume these foods, so if you think you need more of a top-up, try our multibiotic formula, from Together.
They take 45 and vegetables and ferment them in a symbiotic co-culture of 11 strains of live bacteria, yeasts, and acetic acid bacteria.
When this multibiotic enters your digestive system, it encourages the growth of hundreds of substrains of friendly bacteria.
It also includes the prebiotics isomalto-oligosaccharide and inulin to naturally support the growth of good bacteria.
You can read more about it here: Probiotic Supplement for a Healthier Microbiome