The balance of gut microbiota is beneficial to human health. But how do we maintain its balance, and how does it work? An earlier study by the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong revealed that gut dysbiosis not only weakens the human’s immune system, but it also closely linked to the COVID-19. Dr Joyce MAK, Specialist in Gastroenterology & Hepatology pointed out that an imbalance in gut microbiota (dysbiosis) is comparable to that found in COVID-19 patients. The abnormal gut microbiota (dysbiosis) persists even after the virus has cleared, which could contribute to lingering symptoms, known as ‘long COVID’, highlighting the importance of the balance in gut microbiota.
Dr Joyce MAK cited a study from CUHK that an imbalance in gut microbiota is concordant with the severity of COVID-19.
COVID-19 patients had gut dysbiosis
According to the study by CUHK, results found that 80% of COVID-19 patients had gut dysbiosis, lacking certain good bacteria known to regulate their immune system such as Bifidobacterium; the composition of the gut microbiota in COVID-19 patients is concordant with disease severity. Patients had higher numbers of ‘bad bacteria’ compared with uninfected people, indicating the potential correlation. The study also found that the abnormal gut microbiota persists after clearance of the virus, a persistence which could contribute to lingering symptoms, including fatigue, poor memory, difficulty in sleeping, breathlessness and hair loss, all of which could continue for more than 12 weeks. Dr Mak elaborated, “Although it has not yet been possible to ascertain the far-reaching impact on the health of COVID-19 patients, gut dysbiosis may eventually increase the risk of inflammatory cytokine, and the aftereffects of long COVID will definitely affect their daily life.”
Recent research conducted by CUHK showed that 80% of Hong Kong COVID-19 patients have symptoms of Long COVID, which are related to their persistent dysbiosis.
Benefits of improving gut microbiota
As gut dysbiosis is related to COVID-19, it is crucial to restore balance in gut microbiota so as to combat the virus by greatly reducing the infection and increasing the chance of recovery; it could also help reduce the risk of long COVID. Dr Mak pointed out that the COVID-19 patients’ recovery speed, inflammatory cytokines and antibody levels improved after restoration of their microbiome balance. As a result, we can modulate the gut microbiota to boost our immunity against viral infections, reduce COVID-19 severity and promote recovery. This will be a novel approach in the combat of COVID-19.”
In addition to effectively combating the virus, the balance of gut microbiota can also play a vital role in many diseases, such as emerging viral infections, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, depression, Parkinson's disease, eczema, allergies, etc., and important indicators for future research on intestinal microecological balance.
Consuming more colourful fruits and veggies may help the balance in gut microbiota.
Healthy gut microbiome helps boost immunity
The balance of the gut microbiome helps fight COVID-19, but it also plays a role in enhancing the efficacy of the vaccine. Dr Mak said that CUHK’s preliminary studies compared the responses of people who have a balanced gut microbiome after vaccination. Among them, a healthy gut microbiome can suppress inflammatory response and enhance antibody levels. It is effective for people who have received COVID-19 vaccines in reducing inflammatory cytokines, and may suppress inflammatory response associated with unwanted adverse events after vaccination.
Later, the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU Medicine) will launch a randomised controlled study that includes participants who will be given either a microbiome immunity formula or placebo. The aim is to recruit people aged 65 or above with type 2 diabetes mellitus to investigate the effect of the microbiome immunity formula on COVID-19 vaccine response and safety, and it is hoped that this clinical study will help enhance the safety of vaccination.
Having a healthy lifestyle is essential to restore the balance in gut microbiota. Eat more vegetables and less meat, maintain a balance between work and rest, and exercise regularly. However, it is difficult to control the quality of food as dining out is common among Hong Kong people. People will be more inclined to purchase probiotic supplements available on the market. But how do we choose the right probiotic supplements for us? Dr Mak believes that the a probiotic formula is most important. A probiotic immunity formula developed by CU Medicine is specifically tailored to the Asian Chinese microbiome to replenish good microbes missing in their guts. The formula contains prebiotics and probiotics with patented microencapsulated technology to ensure sufficient good live bacteria colonise the human gut to restore the balance in gut microbiota.
G-NiiB Immunity + was the probiotic formulation used in the mentioned studies on “Long Coivd” recovery and vaccine effectiveness boosting and inflammation reduction.
Learn more and purchase G-NiiB Immunity +
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Related press release from CUHK:
- 40% of Hong Kong People Show Gut Dysbiosis Comparable to that of COVID-19 Patients CUHK Microbiome Immunity Formula Hastens Recovery of COVID-19 Patients and Offers Hope to Boost Immunity. Link: https://bit.ly/39m45J6
- CU Medicine Study Shows Modulation of Gut Microbiota Helps Enhance Safety and Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccine. Link: https://bit.ly/3Ev4tTQ
Careful selection of nutritional supplements can help restore the balance of the gut microbiota.
Studies have revealed that a balanced gut microbiome can significantly enhance the efficacy of the vaccination.
Source (translated version)： East Week