Why neglecting your gut is bad for your immune system.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, illnesses never affect two people in the exact same way. When infected with the exact same bacteria or virus, one person might get a slight cough for a week while the other person ends up with symptoms that linger for months.
We see this with all infections, and right now we’re seeing this with C*VID.
???? Why does this happen?
Or, more importantly, is there anything we can do as individuals to increase our odds of being one of those people who just gets a mild cough? We have discussed the use of various supplements that can help improve your immune system reaction to bacterial and viral infection. Here is a list of supplements to consider for cold and flu season.
➞ Zinc supplementation helps support the immune system as we age. It is also important for cardiovascular and neurologic health and helps maintain vision. Zinc deficiency is more common in the elderly
➞Vitamin C is very important to immune response and is a first responder when infection sets in. In fact, Vitamin C fighting off infection can put you in a relative situation of scurvy so higher doses are needed while fighting off infections. It is also a potent anti-oxidant to fight off damage from the inflammation created by oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species
➞Quercetin is as important as Vitamin C for immune system support. It is also beneficial for your heart health.
➞Echinacea reduces the acquisition of cold viruses by 10-58% and reduces symptom days by 28%.
➞American Ginseng has been used for cold and flu protection when taken for 8-16 weeks during these seasons. In addition, American Ginseng provides stress relief, improved energy, as well as boosting the immune system
➞Omega 3 Fish Oil provides a carrier for zinc to get into cells where it disrupts viral replication. It’s also beneficial for your heart
➞Probiotics which leads us to the topic of this article
Here is a link where you can get vegetable based, non GMO supplements at a discount. These supplements are all practitioner developed and vetted by Fullscript for quality ingredients.
The questions still outnumber the answers, but more and more research is showing that our body’s response to the C*VID infection is linked (at least in part) to…
THE GUT MICROBIOME.
Scientists writing for the journal Gut BMJ recently reported that hospitalized patients with C*VID had alterations in their gut microbiome when compared with people who tested negative for the virus. They also found:
???? Depletion of certain beneficial gut microbes in patients with C*VID correlated with higher levels of cytokines and inflammatory markers in the blood. Those with these alterations in gut flora had more severe disease and worse outcomes.
???? Gut microbes known to modulate immune function remained low 30 days after symptom resolution. Furthermore, those in whom gut microbes remain imbalanced may continue to have long term symptoms after the acute disease resolves.
This is not the first study to look at the possible link between the gut microbiome and individual responses to the virus. In July, a survey published in The Lancet reported that about 85% of people struggling with long-haul symptoms also experienced some sort of gastrointestinal symptoms.
All of this makes logical sense. We know that disruption in the gut microbiome can break down gut barrier function, aggravate inflammation, and alter immune function.
I cannot promise you for certain that improving your gut health will strengthen your immune response to any virus. But I can promise you that improving your gut health will do no harm. Here are eight science based ways to improve gut function:
???? Take probiotics and eat prebiotic fiber food (garlic, onions, bananas, asparagus)
???? Avoid taking antibiotics for viral infections. Most don’t work on viruses
???? Stay away from sugar and sweeteners
???? Reduce your stress and sleep well
???? Avoid smoking
???? In functional medicine, we use testing, diet, supplements, and other lifestyle changes to support optimal gut health.
If you need help with your gut health, don’t hesitate to reach out. Send an email to email@example.com or book an appointment here.
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Yeoh YK, Zuo T, Lui GC et al. Gut microbiota composition reflects disease severity and dysfunctional immune responses in patients with COVID-19. Gut BMJ. 2021; 70: 698-706. [link]