The respiratory system and the gastrointestinal system are both mucosal systems, meaning that the immune system response occurs at the mucosal membranes, the lining if you will.
If we compare these systems we can see that they share a microbiome, and that there is actually an interrelationship between the microbiome of the gut and that of the lung.
This means that the state of the gut will affect the immune response of the respiratory system.
This is important as it helps us to define personalised risk factors.
Research shows that when there is dysbiosis, or not enough good bacteria, this will have an effect on the immune system response.
- Firstly, the production of short chain fatty acids will be affected, these are the messengers which help to do all sorts of wonderful things but particularly heal the lining of the gut.
- We also know that receptors known as toll-like receptors will be activated differently,
- And finally, that the overall systemic inflammatory process will be exacerbated.
Normally the good gut chemicals such as n-butyrate will modulate T cell reactivity in the lungs, but in cases of gut dysfunction, there will instead be an increase of inflammatory cytokines.
In faecal samples of people with SARS-CoV-2 infection there are higher opportunistic infections found and this pathogen enriched lung microbiota was found to be different from that of healthy individuals.
So, simply put, this is how poor gut function can increase vulnerability to COVID-19 and this is why we need to look at the WHOLE person when addressing immunity and strengthening our defences right now. It isn’t just a case of throwing back a bit of extra vitamin D or other such supplements, though of course the research shows many such nutraceuticals to be extremely beneficial.
Do message me if you have questions, or would like to book in for a free call to discuss the personalised ways I can help you work on your immunity.