The gut-lung connection and the coronavirus

Kefir in a plastic funnel helps in the fight against the coronavirus.

The gut-lung connection and the coronavirus establishes that there are proven things you can do to help prepare your body for the pandemic.

I have written before about the importance of probiotics in human health. In short, there should be an astonishing 2 kg of bugs in the colon that play a widely varied role in immunity, assimilating nutrients and producing metabolites that have functions in distant organs such as the brain and skin.

And so in the literature scientists are now investigating subjects such as the Gut-Brain and Gut-Lung connections; those bugs enable the colon to produce serotonin and dopamine, for example, two extremely important neurotransmitters that impact on our mental and physical well-being.

But the influence of these friendly bacteria goes far beyond the brain and the skin. These scientists have discovered that there is another community living in our lungs, and they all talk to each other via the lymph and blood vessels.

In these frightening days of the coronavirus assault on humanity, there are few more important things, after washing of hands and social distancing, to help prepare our bodies for a potential exposure to someone carrying the bug. A divergent microbiome not only improves our general immunity, but since this is in essence a lung infection, having a vibrant and strong community established in our alimentary canals will help outweigh the invaders simply by their numbers.

The problem of course is that in these days of many antibiotics, both prescribed and in low doses in our foods, many and perhaps even most of us do not have a strong microbiome. Add to that the chemicals we consume in our food and drink that have a very detrimental effect on this community, and it is little wonder that many diseases of the alimentary canal, brain and lungs are so prevalent in society today. The artificial sweeteners in colas incidentally top the list of chemicals that destroy our microbiomes; they are probably worse than sugar, though that is debatable.

So, what can we do to help recolonise a healthy microbiome. One can take pills, and they do have a place, but the big problem is that they provide a very limited and narrow spectrum of bugs; scientists are calling for a very diverse community in our bodies.

Making your own probiotic in your own kitchen is not only much cheaper but supplies a far more diverse range of bacteria and viruses, the friendly ones, to our colons. Kefir, for example, has over 30 different strains of bugs in it.

Making our own probiotic foods used to be a part of almost every culture, but gradually the food industry has convinced us they can do it better, which of course they cannot; they go off quite quickly so they have to add various chemicals the preserve them, destroying the very benefits they bring. One can think of maas, sauerkraut and kimchi as three examples; even brewing your own beer and wine.

I have written before of how kefir, a kind of very strong yoghurt, cured my fifteen-year stomach pain in one week. I had a proven stubborn heliobacter infection that did not respond to antibiotics; overwhelming them with millions of friendly bugs from kefir did wonders. That of course is just a medical anecdote, of little value, but there is a huge scientific literature focused on the importance and influence that a diverse microbiome in our colons has on our brains, vaginas and armpits, just to mention a few others.

The gut-lung connection and the coronavirus

The gut-lung connection and the coronavirus means value in kefir.

If you are interested in the science, or just sceptical, then google ‘frontiers of science; microbiome.’1

For yourself, you could make kombucha tea, and we make kefir; it takes about five minutes, every morning initially and then a maintenance dose perhaps once a week or less.

You can get the starter from a health food store for around R60 and instructions here at kefir benefits. It is also one of the best sources of calcium for the prevention of osteoporosis by the way. And in some small way give your lungs added protection from an exposure to the coronavirus and many of the other flu strains this winter.

  1. The Human Intestinal Microbiome: A New Frontier of Human Biology

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