BY Benjamin Makeham May 18, 2020
Humans have evolved alongside the influence of beneficial communities of microorganisms living in and on them. It is no wonder then that a mutually beneficial relationship, where the health of humans and microbes is dependent on the other, has developed.
This link is even more intricate than we could have ever imagined.
We are now understanding that even the health of our lungs is dependent on the health of our gut microbiome.
Beneficial microbes in the gut lead to the fermentation of dietary fibre and in turn generate health-promoting metabolites, such as short chain fatty acids, as well as amino acids and essential vitamins.
These metabolites are absorbed by the gut and travel through circulation to the lungs, and other distant locations, where they have a profound effect on homeostasis and the maintenance of lung health, mostly due to their ability to regulate the immune system and levels of inflammation.
Disturbances in the gut-lung axis are now being implicated in the development of various lung conditions and poorer health outcomes.
When the composition of the gut microbiota is disturbed, it changes the type of metabolites being produced and the messages being sent from the gut to the lung. This can have a negative effect on levels of inflammation in airway tissue, and has also been demonstrated to contribute to immune dysfunction implicated in poor lung health.
Yet again we’ve found another crucial reason why you should tend to your gut health. It’s an ever growing list.
1. Dang AT, Marsland BJ. Microbes, metabolites, and the gut–lung axis. Mucosal Immunol. 2019;12(4):843–50.
2. Enaud R, Prevel R, Ciarlo E, Beaufils F, Wieërs G, Guery B, et al. The gut-lung axis in health and respiratory diseases: A place for inter-organ and inter-kingdom crosstalks. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020;10(February):1–11.
3. Frati F, Salvatori C, Incorvaia C, Bellucci A, Di Cara G, Marcucci F, et al. The role of the microbiome in asthma: The gut–lung axis. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(1):1–12.
4. Hufnagl K, Pali-Schöll I, Roth-Walter F, Jensen-Jarolim E. Dysbiosis of the gut and lung microbiome has a role in asthma. Semin Immunopathol [Internet]. 2020 Feb 18;42(1):75–93.
Leaf veins. A Sea Grape leaf photographed with a macro lens and lit from behind. Coccoloba uvifera grows naturally in tropical America.
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