The human body has trillions of bacteria living in the digestive system. About 70% of your immune system function is found in your intestinal tract. Recently, a team of scientists in China investigated how the coronavirus affects this microbial population and what role our gut may play in regulating the severity of the disease.
The research article was published on medRxiv, in pre-print format, meaning the research has yet to be peer-reviewed. This allows scientists to debate and further discuss the topic. Which is useful during an emerging situation such as a pandemic.
The researchers claim that the coronavirus enters the body by binding to the ACE2 enzyme, which has an important role in regulating intestinal inflammation. ACE2 also has a “major impact” on the makeup of the microbes in the gut and also affects diseases of the heart and lungs, according to Newsweek.
Patient statistics for COVID-19 show that over 60% of patients display gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. The study found that patients with these symptoms developed a more severe form of the disease. The evidence suggested the potential role of gut microbiota in COVID-19’s ability to progress and its severity in these groups of people.
Researchers used a method measuring blood protein levels in healthy people and compared these to patients who had COVID-19. They used this information to create a score called the blood proteomic score or PRS. Then, utilizing next-generation technology they could identify gut microbes that helped them predict blood biomarkers of COVID-19.
When they measured the PRS on COVID-19 patients, they found that just a 10 percent increase of the PRS correlated with an increased risk of disease severity by 57%. This was most prevalent in people aged 58 and older, according to Newsweek.
Furthermore, the study demonstrated in individuals without infection that their risk score is positively associated with proinflammatory cytokines, mostly in older individuals. In a previous post, we talked about how BioVi probiotics can play a role in helping boost your immune system. Clinical studies of BioVi’s stain of probiotic have been linked to increased levels of cytokines1. Cytokines are a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response.
A professor of food microbiology at the University of Reading, U.K., Glenn Gibson, told Newsweek he would have liked the study authors to suggest ways to reduce that risk. “The gut microbiome is critical to health and well-being,” he said. “I am not surprised to see the anti-inflammatory links with COVID-19 set out there but it is very good indeed to see this evidence and use modern techniques to do so.” He told Newsweek he’s been encouraging his patients to take both pro and pre-biotics for weeks that boost microbial health. According to Nutra Ingredients, keeping your gut healthy not only supports the body’s immune response to infection but also helps prevent damage to the lungs and other organs.
BioVi is a pre and probiotic supplement with antioxidants from the aronia berry. Our unique strain of probiotic has clinically shown to promote intestinal health*, support immunity and cardiovascular health*, survive stomach acid* – most probiotics don’t, and maintain a healthy yeast balance*.
The COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving and new research is being conducted to help better understand the virus. If you have questions related to your health we recommend that you speak to your physician to answer your specific questions.
Our probiotics come in several varieties including capsules, delicious softchews, and tasty chewables. We also offer subscriptions to your favorite probiotics that have a whole host of benefits that other companies can’t or won’t provide in their probiotic strain. You can learn more about our probiotics here.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.