BENGALURU, INDIA — Gut microbiota has been shown to affect pulmonary health through a cross-talk between the gut and the lungs, which is referred to as the “gut-lung axis,” according to a study that appeared online May 13 in Virus Research.

“Improving gut microbiota profile by personalized nutrition and supplementation known to improve immunity can be one of the prophylactic ways by which the impact of this disease can be minimized in old people and immune-compromised patients,” the study said.

Prebiotic compounds such as inulin, polydextrose and maize fiber have been shown to improve the immunity, gut diversity, digestion, etc. in people, especially elderly people, according to the researchers from Leucine Rich Bio Pvt. Ltd. In Bengaluru, India, and the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre in New Delhi, India.

After profiling people’s gut microbiota, the researchers recommended a diet that included prebiotics and probiotics such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS), galactooligosaccharides (GOS) and various lactobacilli strains. Such action may improve and accelerate recovery in patients, especially the elderly and the immune-compromised, who are infected with SARS-Cov-2 virus, which causes lung infection.

“Thus, effective nutritional strategy and specific functional foods aiming at the microbiota for specific population group may be the need of the hour,” the researchers said. “Research may be conducted to look at the effect of COVID-19 on the gut microbiota profile and vice versa.”