Changes in the Gut Microbiome Due to the Pandemic

What’s this about changes in the gut microbiome due to the pandemic? I was listening to a podcast and heard a researcher comment about this. I don’t mean changes in the gut for people who had COVID-19 but for the everyone else who was socially distancing and washing hands frequently. Apparently researchers have found that the gut microbiome has changed for many of us, with a decrease in diversity. This appears to be due to the decreased exposure to bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.

Changes in the Gut Microbiome Due to the Pandemic

The pandemic led many countries to have a lock down and travel restrictions to reduce transmitting viruses. These restrictions were mainly hand washing and use of antibacterial soaps, limited travel, and many people working from home. Therefore we weren’t sharing any microorganisms, including of course the COVID-19 virus. The result of that is a less diverse gut microbiome.

Because of the pandemic, many people did not see their doctor for routine health care. This resulted in having health issues escalate for many people.

Nobody really knows what the implications are for this but the more diversity in your gut microbiome, the better has been the consensus. Well, for the most part. Obviously there are some things that are better not to have.

Remember when Chris and I talked with Kristin Kirkpatrick and she mentioned the increase of alcohol consumption during the shutdown? Well, alcohol changes the gut too. There were also changes in diet and exercise for many of us too, all of which can change our gut diversity.

What Does This Mean?

Who knows what all of this means? I suspect nobody but it might be interesting to see how it matters long term. The combination of changes in eating, drinking, and exercise habits, exposure to microorganisms, and mental health changes all work to change our microbiome.

Those of us who are dealing with chronic illnesses may see some changes in our ongoing health so it’s probably important to be sure to be eating foods that support our health and to be getting adequate exercise and sleep. That sounds like the usual advice, doesn’t it? I guess all we can do is move forward and take care of ourselves as best we can.

If we experienced changes in the gut microbiome due to the pandemic, I’m assuming we can continue to make changes by focusing on being fit and strong.

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