Sydney nutritionist and food writer Lee Holmes (pictured) has explained that although too many of us have put on weight in the past six months, it's time to lose it before the peak of summer

Why you have nasty stomach issues months after suffering from covid

A nutritionist has revealed why people continue to suffer from nasty stomach issues months after recovering from Covid – and the simple ways to get your digestive health back on track.

Australian nutritionist Lee Holmes said she has seen many patients visit her clinic with persistent bowel problems after having Covid, ranging from bloating, reflux and flatulence to constipation, diarrhea and leaky gut.

One in three people with Covid have suffered from gastrointestinal symptoms. with studies showing that those with better gut health had less severe symptoms.

Australian nutritionist Lee Holmes said she has seen many patients visit her clinic with persistent bowel problems after having Covid, ranging from bloating, reflux and flatulence to constipation, diarrhea and leaky gut.

Lee says this is because the gut and airways share an immune system, known as the gut-lung axis, which is further detailed in a number of microbiology studies.

“This axis is bidirectional, which means that if the intestine is affected by bacteria, the lungs will also be affected, and vice versa,” she explained in a blog post.

“There are also about 100 times more receptors in the gastrointestinal tract than in the respiratory organs, so the gut may be able to harbor more infections when it gets one,” he said. -she explains.

Lee said when a person receives Covid cytokines – small proteins that are crucial for controlling the growth and activity of other immune system cells and blood cells – enter the body through the lungs.

How a healthy gut can reduce the severity of Covid and flu

A study of Croatian children attending daycare saw half given probiotics and the other half a placebo – after three months those taking probiotics had a lower risk of respiratory tract infections and suffered less discomfort when infected.

Swedish researchers also conducted a study of 272 adults and found that the group using probiotics had milder cold and flu symptoms and less time infected with a virus.

It also found that cold and flu cases in participants who took probiotics lasted an average of 6.2 days compared to the 8.2 days those who took a placebo experienced.

As Emad El-Omar, consultant gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at UNSW explains, the main role of the gut microbiome is to educate our immune system about our environment.

The lion’s share of our immune system – around two-thirds of all immune cells – is concentrated in the digestive system, which is why the UNSW Microbiome Research Center is exploring how the composition of the gut microbiome affects immune responses and changes with the progression of various diseases.

Source: Dispensaries and NSW Health

Lee says the cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower, is a great source of fiber - which helps maintain a healthy gut

Lee says the cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower, is a great source of fiber – which helps maintain a healthy gut

This causes inflammation throughout the body and once these cytokines reach the gut, the virus can travel through the veins that drain blood from the intestinal tract, impacting the all-important vagus nerve, which is responsible for regulating functions. internal organs, such as digestion rate, heart rate, and respiratory rate.

What is the gut-lung axis?

The concept of the gut-lung axis argues that alterations in the gut can have a profound effect on lung disease.

Microbes in the gut can be recognized by host immune cells, which can lead to systemic release of cytokines.

Cytokines can then enter the lungs and cause inflammation throughout the body and once they reach the intestine.

This in turn changes the bacteria in the gut, increasing its permeability and causing more inflammation.

Source: Mayo Clinic

“Once this happens, the disease affects the gut barrier, altering the bacteria in the gut, increasing its permeability and causing more,” she explains.

“Increased intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut, allows bacteria to circulate which worsens the disease. When this happens, we may experience a range of digestive symptoms, such as bloating or gas.

“To make matters worse, medications taken for other COVID symptoms can cause side effects like nausea and diarrhea.”

Research from the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that people with Covid-19 had a “significantly altered” microbiome composition.

Separate research from South Korea found that people with poorly functioning guts are more likely to develop severe Covid-19 because the lack of healthy microbes makes it easier for the virus to infect cells in the digestive tract.

The Hong Kong team examined the blood, stool and patient records of 100 hospitalized patients with Covid-19 between February and May 2020, and 27 of these patients also provided infection samples 30 days after the onset. death.

The researchers also collected samples from 78 people without Covid-19 who were participating in a microbiome study before the pandemic.

The study concluded that the gut microbiome may be involved in “the magnitude of Covid-19 inclusion, possibly via modulation of host immune responses”.

Lee recommends adding foods such as kefir, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt to your diet.

Lee recommends adding foods such as kefir, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt to your diet.

The authors found that patients with Covid-19 had depleted levels of several gut bacteria known to alter a person’s immune response.

For example, there was evidence of high levels of certain bacteria, including Ruminococcus gnavus, Ruminococcus torques and Bacteroides dorei.

Lee also explains that the gut is the body’s epicenter for health and central to many body systems, including the immune system.

Probiotic foods

  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt

Prebiotic foods

  • Banana
  • Cassava
  • Chick pea flour
  • Chicory root
  • Garlic

“It’s no surprise that the after effects of COVID can take the form of a range of digestive issues,” she says.

If you’re in pain after having Covid, Lee recommends a gut-friendly diet full of omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, soups and smoothies.

“A gut-friendly shopping list should include anti-inflammatory turmeric, healing gelatin, omega-3-rich fish, protein, gut-loving slippery elm, and supercharged Love Your Gut synbiotic powder. “, she said.

Gut-Friendly Coconut Oatmeal Recipe

For 2

Ingredients

  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz / 1/2 cup) organic gluten-free rolled oats (porridge)
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) filtered water
  • pinch of Celtic or Himalayan sea salt

  • pinch of ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 125 ml (4 oz/1/2 cup) coconut milk
  • 1 handful of mixed fresh berries
  • mint leaves, to garnish

Method

  1. Combine rolled oats and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the oats are tender, stirring regularly.
  2. Add salt, cinnamon. Blend the coconut milk until creamy and smooth.
  3. Serve garnished with berries and mint, and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

She also advised cutting back on caffeine, alcoholic beverages and refined sugar and staying hydrated.

Lee added that incorporating prebiotics and probiotics into your diet helps shift the balance from an unhealthy microflora to a microbiome.

“Probiotics are live microorganisms found in yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut that add healthy microbes to the gut,” she said.

“Prebiotics, found in artichokes, asparagus and chicory root, act as food for the good bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics can improve immune function, reduce inflammation, and even help with weight loss. Prebiotics and probiotics work in harmony to help gut microflora survive and thrive.

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