COLORADO SPRINGS — A recent study published in BMJ Journals performed in two separate hospitals on COVID-19 patients shows if you want to reduce your risk of suffering severe COVID symptoms, you should take a look inward.
Dr. Sue Mitchell, MD with Gastroenterology Associates of Colorado Springs says the study caught her eye because it showed that while COVID is mostly known as a respiratory disease, hospitalized COVID patients with a healthy gut, or microbiome suffered less severe COVID symptoms.
Dr. Mitchell says, “Our microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms that live in our GI tract. A healthy microbiome is one that has over 1000 unique species of healthy viruses, fungi and bacteria that are all living together.”
The study also showed the healthier someone's microbiome the better their immune system seemed to respond.
Dr. Mitchell says, “What they noted in the article was that the patients who were experiencing severe COVID symptoms their microbiome was not healthy, they had what's called gut bacterial dysbiosis. Dysbiosis means that there are imbalances in the gut and it’s missing beneficial species of bacteria that should be there.”
While many people are waiting to get a COVID vaccine, Dr. Mitchell hopes people realize there are more things we can all do besides get a vaccine when it’s available to us to improve our daily lives right now. “I love having this piece of information because it gives us something that we can do. We can try to avoid eating out fast food and focus on incorporating fruits and vegetables and maybe adding some exercise really focusing on our sleep because science has shown that we can do these things to create a healthier microbiome, and therefore if we were to get COVID our chances of it not being severe and recovering will be much greater if we have a healthy microbiome.”
To learn more about a healthy gut you can see previous stories with Dr. Mitchell:
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