Dr Dingle's Blog / corona solutions
There is overwhelming evidence by the way of hundreds of studies, through multiple channels to demonstrate that our gut health, probiotics and fibre are essential to our immune systems protection against many types of viruses including deadly respiratory viruses. To ignore this information in the time of Corona virus is both dangerous and irresponsible. The studies show first, that gut health is critical for both the innate (immediate) and adaptive (long term) immune system. In fact many people put the gut microbiome link as the major player in our immunity and suggest as much as 75-85% of the immune system is directly linked to the gut.
In addition, studies show that enhancing the gut in both human and animal studies with probiotics, prebiotics and fibre dramatically enhance the immune system and protect humans and test animals in all viruses tested against including deadly respiratory viruses. Studies have also demonstrated the enhance immune function of vaccines when prebiotics and probiotics are added, especially in the elderly where vaccines are very ineffective. All this is supported by the fact that when antibiotics are used, even from just a few days, it significantly increases the risk of viral infection, severity and mortality. The link could not be any more obvious.
The picture is very clear. The single best thing people can do to protect themselves and their family from respiratory infection is priming the gut and gut microbiome. No matter what state of health you are in. While the studies presented here focus on probiotics and fibre there are many actions we need to take each day to improve our gut health which I spell out in my book “Gut Secrets” with all the extra information to help build the gut as well as what causes the gut dysfunction (dysbiosis) in the first place. Ignoring this information is putting many people’s, especially the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions at risk. To support what I am reporting here I have included more than 100 scientifically reviewed studies and there are more.
The gut microbiota has been shown to have influences outside the gastrointestinal tract, from the wide-ranging anti-inflammatory effects of bacterial metabolites like short-chain fatty acids to the alteration of chemical messengers like neurotransmitter production in the central nervous system. Studies also demonstrate connections between gut microbiota and organs throughout our body in regulatory functions like gut–lung, gut–brain, gut–skin, and gut–liver axes, which play an important role in many infectious and chronic diseases. As result, virtually all human diseases, including obesity, allergies, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes, have all been associated with disease-specific shifts in gut microbiome.
More recently, many studies emphasized the important roles of gut microbiota in shaping immunity against viral diseases in humans and numerous animal species tested and that our microbial diversity and its integrity are the key elements for deriving immunity against invading viral pathogens. Our good gut bacteria, also called commensal bacteria, provide protection against pathogens (the nasty ones) through direct competition and by the production of antibodies and activation of different chemical messengers to modulate our innate (short term) and adaptive (longer term) immune responses. As a result disruption of our gut microbial balance (dysbiosis) is associated with a variety of conditions which facilitate the establishment of acute respiratory viral infections. Our gut microbiota is therefore directly linked with regulating ourrespiratory antiviral immune response 1,2.
Overwhelming research now shows that probiotics are a simple and safe strategy for the prevention of viral respiratory tract infections and can modulate host immunoregulation, alleviate intestinal inflammation, normalize gut mucosal dysfunction, and downregulate hypersensitivity reactions through control of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemical messengers 3-29.
Specific studies have also been done to show the benefits of probiotics in children and shown extremely positive results 31-33 and in the elderly 33-34. In a study of 196 participants were randomized to receive probiotics or a placebo daily for 6 months respiratory viral infections were 35% lower in the probiotic group compared to the placebo. 35 While, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 94 preterm infants, who are very susceptible to respiratory infections between days 3 and 60 of life, the incidence of RTIs was 76% lower in infants receiving prebiotics and probiotics 50% lower compared with those receiving the placebo. While the incidence of rhinovirus-induced episodes, which comprised 80% of all RTI episodes, was found to be 69% lower in the prebiotic and 51% lower in the probiotic groups compared with the placebo group. 30 This is supported by meta analysis and reviews which have consistently shown significant reductions in the probiotic groups and no serious adverse events related to the probiotic strain.36-38 In addition, studies have shown Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains to have immunomodulatory activity and enhanced both innate and specific immune responses in adults and children 39-42
Studies on many different animal species have shown that the gut microbiome provides a low-level stimulation to the innate immune system that modulates the susceptibility of the host to viral infection and to the severity of the infection including decreased mortality 43-71 In one study after 3 days of exposure to a strain, mice were infected with the H1N1 respiratory virus showed a lower frequency of accumulated symptoms and a higher survival rates than the controls. The study also showed administration of the probiotic protects the host animal from respiratory infection by enhancing respiratory cell‐mediated immune responses following up‐regulation of lung natural killer (NK) cell activation. 54 These and many other findings demonstrate a strong induction of both innate and adaptive immunities, as well as decreased inflammation in the lung and an increase in survival rate in the mice receiving probiotics than those of the control group 55-74.
From another perspective recent randomized controlled trials indicate that even short-term antibiotic use leads to significant changes in the gut microbiota.75 While treatment with antibiotics has been shown to increase the risk of infection from multiple viruses 76 as well as, increased morbidity and mortality during influenza infection 77-81. Fortunately, experimental data on mice with no gut microbiome have demonstrated that lack of microbiome can be reversed 82.
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to seasonal influenza; indeed, approximately 90% of all influenza-related deaths occur among senior citizens. Influenza vaccines are widely used, but concerns regarding vaccine efficacy exist, especially in the elderly. Vaccination efficacy as a regular treatment however, is lower in the elderly, owing to the immunosenescence characteristic of this population 87-93. In a meta-analysis published in 2012, the evidence of vaccine protection in the elderly was lacking. 83
Low vaccine efficacy leads to inadequate protection, breakthrough infection, and influenza-related morbidity and mortality. In summary, the efficacy of the current influenza vaccine is not satisfactory. However, supplementing with probiotics and prebiotics significantly improves the effectiveness of the vaccines. In a meta analysis patients with prebiotics/ probiotics supplements were found to enhance the influenza antibody levels in all A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B strains tested 84-85. While another meta analysis of 20 RCTs found that participants who took probiotics or prebiotics showed significant improvements after exposure to the H1N1 strain. This meta-analysis suggested that probiotics and prebiotics are effective in elevating immunogenicity by influencing rates in adults inoculated with influenza vaccines. 86 In another study of 98 nursing home residents, more than 65 years of age the administration of a single Lactobacillus strain to an elderly population increased the immune response against the influenza vaccine and decreased symptoms associated with respiratory infections.
Our respiratory microbiome is the first line of defence against viral infections and research shows a change in the gut microbiome alters the respiratory microbiome to move towards a state of dysbiosis. However, recent studies have also demonstrated that respiratory infections are associated with a change in the composition of the gut microbiota 94-100 which, as a result becomes more vulnerable to further dysbiosis and diseased states and a viscous cycle of deterioration.
Without doubt the health of our gut and lung microbiome plays a critical role in our susceptibility to respiratory infections. While physical methods to prevent the spread of corona virus are essential the next most import step is to increase the immunity in the population as a whole but more specifically those like our elderly are most susceptible. This can be achieved for as little as $1 a day and can be implemented instantly through the introduction of high quality probiotics and fibres such as Kfibre. This is a small expense when we compare it to what is happening now and the potential for pain and suffering.
To ignore this information is both irresponsible and dangerous. However, history tells us that even the best evidence will be ignored if it goes against the modern medical pharmaceutical model.
Please share with everyone you know as it might save their life.
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