NewsWorldHealthy gut bacteria may protect during Covid

Healthy gut bacteria may protect during Covid

The bacteria living in your small intestine may contribute to the risk for long Covid after infection with SARS-CoV-2, new findings suggest.

Researchers analyzed the “gut microbiome” in 116 Covid-19 patients in Hong Kong in 2020, when regulations required that every infected person be hospitalized.

More than 80% were mildly or moderately ill, but more than 75% had at least one persistent symptom.

After six months, the most common symptoms were fatigue (reported by 31%), poor memory (28%), hair loss (22%), anxiety (21%) and sleep disturbances (21%), according to a report published this week in Gut.

Analyses of stool samples obtained at hospital admission and over the succeeding months showed long COVID patients “had a less diverse and less abundant microbiome,” said Siew C. Ng of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“Patients who didn’t develop long COVID had a gut microbiome similar to that of people without Covid-19.”

Lack of “friendly” immunity-boosting Bifidobacteria species was strongly associated with persistent respiratory symptoms, Ng noted.

While the study cannot prove that healthy gut organisms prevent long COVID, the findings suggest “maintaining a healthy and balanced gut microbiota via diet, avoidance of antibiotics if possible, exercise and supplementing with depleted bacteria species including “Bifidobacteria” might be helpful, she said.




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