Chris D’Adamo, PhD, the Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, recently joined the NutraCast to weigh in.
From mild symptoms to hospital visits, D’Adamo said decreased bacteria diversity and gut dysbiosis could be factors that impact the severity of COVID-19 cases.
“We know some of the factors, whether it's obesity and metabolic issues...these are all associated with the decreases in microbial diversity and density or counts. So this may indeed be one of the underlying mechanisms and there is some evidence. So we're in the early innings, really looking at how this has direct implications in COVID. What has been shown is that some of these opportunistic pathogens have been shown to be higher in the gut bacteria of COVID patients. These are things like clostridium species of bacteria or candida, which is an often problematic yeast,” explained D’Adamo, who added that streptococcus and staphylococcus were found in post-mortem examinations in patients who died of COVID.
Scientific evidence does support the ability of probiotics to boost human immunity, thereby preventing colonization by pathogens and reducing the incidence and severity of infections. D’Adamo, an epidemiologist, explained that while probiotics specifically for COVID is still under investigation, “We do know that probiotics have been shown to help reduce the frequency, severity and duration of other respiratory illnesses like by rhinoviruses, the common cold, influenza as well. So there's certainly biological plausibility that probiotics could help with COVID infection.”
He added that there has been a good amount of evidence that shows probiotics can help with respiratory infections and even with autoimmune conditions that affect respiratory systems such as asthma and COPD. “So that's why it's encouraging. You know, we do need the studies to be done. But in the meanwhile, I think it is a biologically plausible and thoughtful thing.”
NutraCast is a podcast that focuses on insights from inside the nutrition industry. It is a production by NutraIngredients-USA. Music by Kevin Macleod.
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