A 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 high fever and respiratory problems for people throughout the world, but also diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, suggesting the GI tract could also be affected.
Previous studies have demonstrated that people with underlying chronic conditions and advanced age are at a higher risk of infection by these viruses, yet they may also have altered gut microbiota. 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 that reflected a strong correlation between lung health and dietary fiber content, and the lead researcher suggested that increased fiber intake may be beneficial as it helps increase butyrate levels in the GI tract.
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