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Gut microbiota and covid-19

Health of the gut microbiota influences the symptomatology of covid-19

The microbiota is defined as a group of microorganisms living in a given environment, encompassing bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses.

The human microbiota consists of trillions of micro-organisms that inhabit and co-exist in the human body. The different microorganisms that make it up have important basic functions for human health.

The focus of this article is the human gut microbiota, which, in addition to acting as a barrier that prevents the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms, is also responsible for activating and modulating the body's immune response, and is influenced by factors such as diet, antibiotic use, exposure to childhood infections, vaccination and sedentary lifestyle.

Regarding food, the presence of heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides and chemical additives, alters the quality of the microbiota, which is why it is fundamental to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, preferably organic.

A study recently conducted by Conceição Calhau, professor at the Nova Medical School, and her team, aimed to evaluate the intestinal microbiota state at the moment of diagnosis in patients with COVID-19 in three different environments: ambulatory environment, ward and intensive care. The main objective of this study was to understand if a lower diversity of the microbiota would have an influence on the development of the disease.

It was possible to clearly see differences between the three patient groups studied, a total of 115 patients: the less diverse the microbiota, the greater the susceptibility of individuals to a more severe Covid-19 disease. These results reinforce the need to maintain a healthy gut microbiota to ensure our body is better protected against disease development.

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