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Gut Bacteria Study Might Lead to New COVID-19 Long Hauler Treatments

In the medical community we have seen a number of patients who suffer from COVID Long Hauler Syndrome. This syndrome, more commonly known as long COVID, occurs when the symptoms of being infected with one of the variants of coronavirus continue for months on end.

The following illustration demonstrates some of the manifestations patients can develop:            

We have come up with several treatments that have helped our patients (anecdotally, at least – we have not conducted any studies). These include EBO2, NAD+ infusions, and a few other tricks. We are always on the prowl for new technology that may help our patients.

On that note, I came across an intriguing article concerning how our gut bacteria may have a significant effect on the outcome of COVID Long Hauler Syndrome. This article is from the journal Gut, which is a leading international journal from the British Journal of Medicine (BMJ).

The research in the article comes from the University of Hong Kong. As the article states, gut bacteria health may have a bearing on patients displaying long COVID. These findings provide new insights into the intricate association between the gut microbiome and the long-term sequelae after COVID-19 infection.

We know that gut bacteria can have a profound effect on most aspects of our health including stem cells. Through direct contact or release of products and/or metabolites, gut bacteria regulate gut homeostasis, damage repair, regeneration and differentiation of stem cells.

In the same way, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) produce similar effects including restoration of gut–microbiome composition.

This study is the first evidence that there may also be a connection between gut dysfunction and long COVID. The study revealed significant links between the patient’s gut microbiome and long COVID symptoms. The researchers found that certain bacteria contributed to the extended time the patients displayed long COVID. The article further showed certain bacteria were responsible for certain viral symptoms such as brain fog and fatigue.

In people with long COVID, there were differences in the abundance of 42 species of bacteria at admission and 3- and 6-months following discharge compared with control samples. Of these, 28 species were less abundant, and 14 were more abundant. The tie-in to the relationship between COVID long haulers and the gut comes down to a basic fact: the probable link is via the regulation of the immune system.

People with long COVID often have raised levels of autoantibodies. An autoantibody is an antibody produced by the immune system that is directed against one or more of the individual’s own proteins. Many autoimmune diseases are caused by such autoantibodies. The virus has triggered an antibody response to the patients’ own tissues. This represents a failure of the regulatory mechanisms that should stop immune responses against the patient’s own tissues.

One answer to the autoimmune issue may lie in the patient’s stool. If we analyze the patient’s stool we might be able to reverse some of the symptoms. This might be achieved by creating a custom blended probiotic formula. This is technology that already exists.

To that end, our clinic will be utilizing a company in the United States that will analyze the patient’s stool and then design a specific probiotic combination for that patient to take over the next six months. This is not meant to replace existing modalities that are used in treating long COVID, but instead act as an adjunct to other treatment methods. Every custom formulated probiotic is created to address the patient’s specific needs.

When the stool sample is received by the company, scientists will extract DNA from the stool sample and sequence the gut microflora using patented techniques. After sequencing, there will be a comprehensive gut analysis highlighting all the microflora communities within the gut digestive tract. This information is used to craft a custom gut probiotic made of good bacteria to help get the gut healthy and overcome some of the bacteria that may be contributing to the extended symptoms of COVID-19. (The patients will typically take this blend for about six months).

When used with other modalities, this may be a powerful weapon in our fight against long COVID.

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