Heenam Stanley Kim, Ph.D, from Korea University’s Laboratory for Human-Microbial Interactions, in Seoul, published a study which reveals how one’s gut health determines the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.
The study was published in mBio, a journal published by the American Society for Microbiology, on January 12, 2021.
One of the key messages stated through the publication is that, “…accumulating evidence supports the hypothesis that an altered gut microbiota and an associated leaky gut may contribute to the onset of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea and, in severe cases, multiorgan complications.”(1)
Through extensive research, Kim was able to conclude that COVID-19 patients with altered gut microbiota were more likely to experience severe gastrointestinal symptoms, even though they were diagnosed with a respiratory disease.
Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are all common symptoms of a COVID-19 diagnosis. However, since COVID-19 is categorized as a respiratory disease, these factors indicate that the GI (gastrointestinal tract) is another site of infection.
Kim says, “…Gut health at the time of infection may be critical for symptom development.” (2)
The elderly and those with underlying health conditions are especially prone to experiencing severe GI symptoms if diagnosed with COVID-19. This is because they are more likely to have a compromised level of microbiota in their gut.
A study from late 2020 found that 20% of COVID-19 patients only experienced gastrointestinal symptoms.