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COVID-19

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A first study of its kind shows that gut microbes could predict how seriously ill a Covid-19 patient might become. In the hopes to identify why some individuals with COVID-19 fare better than others, researchers created a risk score based on blood biomarkers found in severe COVID-19 patients. Scientists found that these biomarkers are linked closely with a core set of gut microbiome characteristics, as well as with increased inflammatory cytokines. COVID-19 is linked closely to the gut. As the virus enters the body, it binds to ACE2 enzymes, which play a large role in regulating intestinal inflammation and gut microbe make-up. COVID-19 patients who experience GI symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting) also tend to suffer from a more severe state of the disease, so it makes sense that the gut microbiome and disease severity are strongly associated. MedRxiv Takeaway: Scientists who conducted the research concluded that based on the…

If you’re like many of us, grasping for ways to protect yourself and your family during this vulnerable time has become a daily commitment. In doing so, you may have stumbled upon recommendations to take a vitamin D supplement for COVID-19 prevention. Many information outlets are promoting vitamin D as a lifesaving supplement during this time, and we’d like to present you with the facts and take a deep dive into this issue. First, we know that vitamin D plays a key role in our immunity by boosting the function of immune cells, both T-cells and macrophages, and by regulating our immune response in preventing an excessive release of cytokines. In the case of COVID-19, too many cytokines, referred to as a “cytokine storm”, can lead to excessive inflammation in the lungs and sometimes death. Studies have shown that insufficient vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of…

Weight gain during the coronavirus pandemic has become a thing and is jokingly referred to as “the Covid 19” – a play on “the freshman 15”; the 15 pounds many college freshmen gain when left to their own devices for the first time. If you find yourself turning to food to de-stress and can’t seem to break the cycle of overeating, oversnacking, or eating unhealthy foods that are easy on the palate but hard on the gut and waistline, the answer may not lie in the food itself, but instead, in the lifestyle practices surrounding the food. Here are our top 5 tips to adhering to a healthy diet during quarantine, and while some of them may not seem food-related, if you follow these tips, you’ll find yourself making better choices in the kitchen that may even lead to a few pounds lost. Tip 1: Sleep – Sleep is strongly…

Kaye was in her mid 60’s with a long history of hypertension, a cardiac arrhythmia that had been stable for several years, and an eye condition that wasn’t well defined but seemed to be progressing. She contacted me via our website to ask if I could help with some constipation she’d been experiencing over the last month. Normally I don’t do telehealth visits for new patients (only follow-up visits for out of town patients), but nothing about the last few months had been normal and she sounded like she was struggling so I agreed to help. Her medical history was complex, and included multiple trips to the Cleveland Clinic for second opinions for her eye problems, as well as several different specialists here in Washington DC. But my part in all this seemed pretty straightforward – stool was stuck in her colon and I just needed to help her come…

The pandemic has brought forth challenges for many people dealing with autoimmune diseases and other chronic illnesses. This is also true for those with celiac disease. Many patients are wondering if having celiac disease puts them at a greater risk of coronavirus infection and complications. According to the National Celiac Foundation, in general, those with celiac disease experience the same risk as the general population. But there are some exceptions: Individuals who experience celiac symptoms more often or who experience more severe symptoms are more likely at a higher risk for COVID-19.Those on immunosuppressive drugs such as steroids or biologics are also at a greater risk due to the immune suppressing nature of their medications. If this is you, check out Dr. Chutkan’s discussion with Our Health Talks as well as our webinar on medications during the pandemic, where different classes of medications are addressed, as well as important questions…

New research shows that excessive weight is a main determining factor in who experiences complications from COVID-19 and who doesn’t. COVID-19 complications are heavily defined by respiratory symptoms – specifically acute respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome – that can be driven by characteristics common in obese individuals, including chronic, low-grade inflammation and hyperventilation (breathing at an abnormally high rate). A March study conducted across 14 states found that approximately 48.3% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 were obese. A second study found that BMI was strongly associated with the severity of disease; as BMI increased, so did the likelihood of being admitted to critical care. A third study also found that those with obesity were significantly more likely to need mechanical ventilators for care. While the respiratory capacity of excessively overweight individuals is compromised, putting them at a greater risk for COVID-19 complications, the underlying inflammation that is ever-present…

In this webinar with Dr. Chutkan, hosted by Our Health Talks, you will learn the following: How Dr. Chutkan’s “Live Dirty, Eat Clean” mantra applies to health todayDr. Chutkan’s produce-cleaning regimeHallmark foods in a “clean eating” dietRisk of antibioticsDoes having a GI issue make someone more susceptible to contracting illness? Explaining IBS vs. IBDCan nature exposure and sunlight help in combating the spread of COVID-19? What are some self-care practices that you using right now? How is the practice of medicine going to change after all this?Do you think it’s a good idea to increase dosage of probiotic supplements right now? Are you recommending prebiotics in conjunction with probiotics?Is sourdough considered a healthful fermented food?What is the role of hand sanitizers in the COVID-19 battle?How are you staying educated on our understanding of the disease right now? How do you think we could better prepare for the next time something…