Each individual is provided with a unique gut microbiota profile that plays many specific functions in host nutrient metabolism, maintenance of structural integrity of the gut mucosal barrier, immunomodulation, and protection against pathogens.
The vast majority of cases in China — 87% — were in people ages 30 to 79, the China Center for Disease Control reported In February of 2020, based on data from all 72,314 of those diagnosed with Covid-19 as of Feb. 11.
China CDC has found that only 2.3% of confirmed cases died. But the fatality rate was 14.8% in people 80 or older, likely reflecting the presence of other diseases, a weaker immune system, or simply worse overall health. By contrast, the fatality rate was 1.3% in 50-somethings, 0.4% in 40-somethings, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39.
The male-female difference in fatality rates, and perhaps in reported incidence, may arise from differences in underlying health. People with pre-existing illness are more likely to get seriously ill from Covid-19.
In the first large study of the effect of underlying illness, researchers in China analyzed 1,590 patients from throughout the country with laboratory-confirmed disease. They calculated how existing illnesses affected the risk of being admitted to intensive care, being put on a ventilator, or dying.
After taking into account the patients’ ages and smoking status, the researchers found that the 399 patients with at least one additional disease (including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hepatitis B, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney diseases, and cancer) had a 79% greater chance of requiring intensive care or a respirator or both, or of dying.
The numbers are these: While patients who reported no health conditions had a case fatality rate of 0.9%, patients with health conditions had much higher rates—10.5% for those with cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for diabetes, 6.3% for chronic respiratory disease, 6.0% for hypertension, and 5.6% for cancer. Case fatality rate was also very high for cases categorized as critical at 49.0%.
Like any virus, SARS-CoV / Covid-19 attacks people with low immune systems and people who get ill easily due to weak immunity responses. The Immune system is built on beneficial live bacteria that lives in the gut (built from fiber-rich foods) which protect the human body from disease. When the immune system response is low, weak, or damaged it becomes a open invitation for either contagious (coronavirus) or non contagious diseases (diabetes, heart disease, cancer).
Plant-based foods increase and help the intestinal flora, the intestinal “good” bacteria, and the overall gut microbiome health which makes up to 85% of the body’s immune system. On the contrary, animal foods deplete the body from good bacteria, promote inflammation, and are the underlying cause of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hepatitis B, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney diseases, and cancer.
Fending off contagious or non-contagious diseases depend in great part on an individual’s diet and nutrition. Eating organic whole plant foods with good amounts of leafy greens and fiber-rich foods (legumes, whole grains, beans, vegetables), avoiding animal products including (poultry, fish, pork, beef, and dairy), and adding a lactobacillus probiotic to the everyday routine are key factors.
Protecting ourselves from disease goes beyond washing hands and wearing a mask. It requires providing the body with the appropriate defense mechanism to allow it to stay strong even during times of biological threat.
Begley, Sharon, et al. “Who Is Getting Sick? A Look at Coronavirus Risk by Age, Gender, and More.” STAT, 3 Mar. 2020, www.statnews.com/2020/03/03/who-is-getting-sick-and-how-sick-a-breakdown-of-coronavirus-risk-by-demographic-factors/.
Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology Team. “The Epidemiological Characteristics of an Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) – China, 2020.” China CDC Weekly, China CDC Weekly, 1 Feb. 2020, weekly.chinacdc.cn/en/article/id/e53946e2-c6c4-41e9-9a9b-fea8db1a8f51.
Liang, et al. “Comorbidity and Its Impact on 1,590 Patients with COVID-19 in China: A Nationwide Analysis.” MedRxiv, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1 Jan. 2020, www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.25.20027664v1.
Rinninella, et al. “Food Components and Dietary Habits: Keys for a Healthy Gut Microbiota Composition.” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 7 Oct. 2019, www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/10/2393/htm.
Thursby, E.; Juge, N. Introduction to the human gut microbiota. Biochem. J. 2017, 474, 1823–1836. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Laterza, L.; Rizzatti, G.; Gaetani, E.; Chiusolo, P.; Gasbarrini, A. The gut microbiota and immune system relationship in human graft-versus-host disease. Mediterr. J. Hematol. Infect. Dis. 2016, 8, e2016025. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Arumugam, M.; Raes, J.; Pelletier, E.; Le Paslier, D.; Yamada, T.; Mende, D.R.; Fernandes, G.R.; Tap, J.; Bruls, T.; Batto, J.M.; et al. Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome. Nature 2011, 473, 174–180. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Rinninella, E.; Raoul, P.; Cintoni, M.; Franceschi, F.; Miggiano, G.A.D.; Gasbarrini, A.; Mele, M.C. What is the healthy gut microbiota composition? a changing ecosystem across age, environment, diet, and diseases. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 14. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Tang, W.H.W.; Bäckhed, F.; Landmesser, U.; Hazen, S.L. Intestinal microbiota in cardiovascular health and disease. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2019, 73, 2089–2105. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Ley, R.E.; Bäckhed, F.; Turnbaugh, P.; Lozupone, C.A.; Knight, R.D.; Gordon, J.I. Obesity alters gut microbial ecology. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2005, 102, 11070–11075. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Pascale, A.; Marchesi, N.; Govoni, S.; Coppola, A.; Gazzaruso, C. The role of gut microbiota in obesity, diabetes mellitus, and effect of metformin: new insights into old diseases. Curr. Opin. Pharmacol. 2019, 49, 1–5. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Raza, M.H.; Gul, K.; Arshad, A.; Riaz, N.; Waheed, U.; Rauf, A.; Aldakheel, F.; Alduraywish, S.; Rehman, M.U.; Abdullah, M.; et al. Microbiota in cancer development and treatment. J. Cancer Res. Clin. Oncol. 2019, 145, 49–63. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Gentile, C.L.; Weir, T.L. The gut microbiota at the intersection of diet and human health. Science 2018, 362, 776–780. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Fasano, A. Zonulin and its regulation of intestinal barrier function: The biological door to inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. Physiol. Rev. 2011, 91, 151–175. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Scaldaferri, F.; Gerardi, V.; Lopetuso, L.R.; Del Zompo, F.; Mangiola, F.; Boškoski, I.; Bruno, G.; Petito, V.; Laterza, L.; Cammarota, G.; et al. Gut microbial flora, prebiotics, and probiotics in IBD: Their current usage and utility. BioMed Res. Int. 2013, 2013, 435268. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Purchiaroni, F.; Tortora, A.; Gabrielli, M.; Bertucci, F.; Gigante, G.; Ianiro, G.; Ojetti, V.; Scarpellini, E.; Gasbarrini, A. The role of intestinal microbiota and the immune system. Eur. Rev. Med. Pharmacol. Sci. 2013, 17, 323–333. [Google Scholar] [PubMed]
Roediger, W.E. Role of anaerobic bacteria in the metabolic welfare of the colonic mucosa in man. Gut 1980, 21, 793–798. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Tsukahara, T.; Iwasaki, Y.; Nakayama, K.; Ushida, K. Stimulation of butyrate production in the large intestine of weaning piglets by dietary fructooligosaccharides and its influence on the histological variables of the large intestinal mucosa. J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 2003, 49, 414–421. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Scott, K.P.; Gratz, S.W.; Sheridan, P.O.; Flint, H.J.; Duncan, S.H. The influence of diet on the gut microbiota. Pharmacol. Res. 2013, 69, 52–60. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
David, L.A.; Maurice, C.F.; Carmody, R.N.; Gootenberg, D.B.; Button, J.E.; Wolfe, B.E.; Ling, A.V.; Devlin, A.S.; Varma, Y.; Fischbach, M.A.; et al. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature 2014, 505, 559–563. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Jantchou, P.; Morois, S.; Clavel-Chapelon, F.; Boutron-Ruault, M.C.; Carbonnel, F. Animal protein intake and risk of inflammatory bowel disease: the E3N prospective study. Am. J. Gastroenterol. 2010, 105, 2195–2201. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Singh, R.K.; Chang, H.W.; Yan, D.; Lee, K.; Ucmak, D.; Wong, K.; Abrouk, M.; Farahnik, B.; Nakamura, M.; Zhu, T.H.; et al. Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. J. Transl. Med. 2017, 15, 73. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Świątecka, D.; Dominika, Ś.; Narbad, A.; Ridgway, K.P.; Kostyra, H. The study on the impact of glycated pea proteins on human intestinal bacteria. Int. J. Food. Microbiol. 2011, 145, 267–272. [Google Scholar] [PubMed]
Butteiger, D.N.; Hibberd, A.A.; McGraw, N.J.; Napawan, N.; Hall-Porter, J.M.; Krul, E.S. Soy protein compared with milk protein in a western diet increases gut microbial diversity and reduces serum lipids in golden syrian hamsters. J. Nutr. 2016, 146, 697–705. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Vázquez, L.; Flórez, A.B.; Guadamuro, L.; Mayo, B. Effect of Soy Isoflavones on growth of representative bacterial species from the human gut. Nutrients 2017, 9, 727. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Miao, S.; Zhao, C.; Zhu, J.; Hu, J.; Dong, X.; Sun, L. Dietary soybean meal affects intestinal homoeostasis by altering the microbiota, morphology and inflammatory cytokine gene expression in northern snakehead. Sci. Rep. 2018, 8, 113. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Cândido, F.G.; Valente, F.X.; Grześkowiak, Ł.M.; Moreira, A.P.B.; Rocha, D.M.U.P.; Alfenas, R.C.G. Impact of dietary fat on gut microbiota and low-grade systemic inflammation: mechanisms and clinical implications on obesity. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2018, 69, 125–143. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Hildebrandt, M.A.; Hoffmann, C.; Sherrill-Mix, S.A.; Keilbaugh, S.A.; Hamady, M.; Chen, Y.Y.; Knight, R.; Ahima, R.S.; Bushman, F.; Wu, G.D. High-fat diet determines the composition of the murine gut microbiome independently of obesity. Gastroenterology 2009, 137, 1716–1724. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Ruengsomwong, S.; La-Ongkham, O.; Jiang, J.; Wannissorn, B.; Nakayama, J.; Nitisinprasert, S. Microbial community of healthy thai vegetarians and non-vegetarians, their core gut microbiota, and pathogen risk. J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2016, 26, 1723–1735. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Losasso, C.; Eckert, E.M.; Mastrorilli, E.; Villiger, J.; Mancin, M.; Patuzzi, I.; Di Cesare, A.; Cibin, V.; Barrucci, F.; Pernthaler, J.; et al. Assessing the influence of vegan, vegetarian and omnivore oriented westernized dietary styles on human gut microbiota: A cross sectional study. Front. Microbiol. 2018, 9, 317. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Wong, M.W.; Yi, C.H.; Liu, T.T.; Lei, W.Y.; Hung, J.S.; Lin, C.L.; Lin, S.Z.; Chen, C.L. Impact of vegan diets on gut microbiota: An update on the clinical implications. Ci Ji Yi Xue Za Zhi 2018, 30, 200–203. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Salas-Salvado, J.; Bullo, M.; Estruch, R.; Ros, E.; Covas, M.I.; Ibarrola-Jurado, N.; Corella, D.; Aros, F.; Gomez-Gracia, E.; Ruiz-Gutierrez, V.; et al. Prevention of diabetes with Mediterranean diets: A subgroup analysis of a randomized trial. Ann. Intern. Med. 2014, 160, 1–10. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Kastorini, C.M.; Milionis, H.J.; Esposito, K.; Giugliano, D.; Goudevenos, J.A.; Panagiotakos, D.B. The effect of Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome and its components: A meta-analysis of 50 studies and 534,906 individuals. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2011, 57, 1299–1313. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Lourida, I.; Soni, M.; Thompson-Coon, J.; Purandare, N.; Lang, I.A.; Ukoumunne, O.C.; Llewellyn, D.J. Mediterranean diet, cognitive function, and dementia: A systematic review. Epidemiology 2013, 24, 479–489. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Psaltopoulou, T.; Sergentanis, T.N.; Panagiotakos, D.B.; Sergentanis, I.N.; Kosti, R.; Scarmeas, N. Mediterranean diet, stroke, cognitive impairment, and depression: A meta-analysis. Ann. Neurol. 2013, 74, 580–591. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Garcia-Mantrana, I.; Selma-Royo, M.; Alcantara, C.; Collado, M.C. Shifts on gut microbiota associated to mediterranean diet adherence and specific dietary intakes on general adult population. Front. Microbiol. 2018, 9, 890. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
De Filippis, F.; Pellegrini, N.; Vannini, L.; Jeffery, I.B.; La Storia, A.; Laghi, L.; Serrazanetti, D.I.; Di Cagno, R.; Ferrocino, I.; Lazzi, C.; et al. High-level adherence to a Mediterranean diet beneficially impacts the gut microbiota and associated metabolome. Gut 2016, 65, 1812–1821. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Mitsou, E.K.; Kakali, A.; Antonopoulou, S.; Mountzouris, K.C.; Yannakoulia, M.; Panagiotakos, D.B.; Kyriacou, A. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with the gut microbiota pattern and gastrointestinal characteristics in an adult population. Br. J. Nutr. 2017, 117, 1645–1655. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]