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    Poor Gut Health Linked to Lung Function

    iStock-804802520A recent review has uncovered the relationship between lung function and poor gut health.

    Respiratory disease has become a worldwide problem, particularly due to specific viruses, which have caused not only fever and respiratory problems, but also diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, suggesting the GI tract is affected.

    Previous studies have demonstrated that people with underlying chronic conditions and advanced age are at a higher risk of infection by this virus, yet altered gut microbiota may also be an influence. This imbalance may weaken gut barrier integrity, allowing pathogens access to cells in the intestinal lining.

    Many recent studies have found lower bacterial diversity in the gut samples of patients susceptible to infection. In addition, there is a depletion of beneficial bacterial species, an imbalance that has also been seen in influenza A patients, though the overall microbial composition outcomes are different. 

    The depletion of bacterial species includes some families that are responsible for producing butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that plays an important role in strengthening gut-barrier function. The key families were Ruminococcaceae or Lachnospiracaea, which includes the species F. prausnitzii, and belong to the class Clostridia.

    The review also highlighted studies reflecting a strong correlation between lung health and dietary fiber content, and the lead researcher suggested that eating more fiber could be beneficial as it helps increase butyrate levels in the GI tracts. 

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