COVID-19 harms your gut health, especially with antibiotics

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In a study from Rutgers University, scientists found that COVID-19 infection disrupts a healthy balance between good and bad microbes in the gut, especially with antibiotic treatment.

The work may lead to the development of probiotic supplements to redress any gut imbalances in future patients.

In the study, researchers wanted to gain a deeper understanding by looking at specimens that would give them an indication of the state of the gut microbiome in people

They found that while there were differences between people who had COVID-19 and those who were not ill, the biggest difference from others was seen in those who had been administered antibiotics.

Early in the pandemic, before the introduction of vaccines and other antiviral remedies, it was a common practice to treat COVID-19 patients with a round of antibiotics to attempt to target possible secondary infections.

Humans carry large and diverse populations of microbes. These microorganisms live in the gastrointestinal tract, on the skin and in other organs, with the largest population in the colon.

Scientists have shown over recent decades that the microbiome plays a pivotal role in human health, interacting with metabolism, the immune system and the central nervous system.

Medical problems often arise when the balance between beneficial and pathogenic microbes in a person’s microbiome is thrown off, a condition known as dysbiosis.

The scientists studied microbiomes by measuring populations of microorganisms in stool samples taken from 60 people, including 20 COVID-19 patients, 20 healthy donors and 20 COVID-19-recovered patients.

The team found major differences in the population numbers of 55 different species of bacteria when comparing the microbiomes of infected patients with the healthy and recovered patients.

The scientists plan to continue to test and track the microbiomes of patients in the study to ascertain the long-term effect on individual microbiomes from COVID-19.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about the cause of severe COVID symptoms, and mouthwashes may suppress COVID-19 virus.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies that new antiviral drug may block COVID-19 transmission, and results showing how COVID-19 damages the heart.

The study was conducted by Martin Blaser et al and published in Molecular Biomedicine.

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