Can daily consumption of WholeFiber protect against viruses such as COVID-19?
We already know that the main prebiotic fibers in WholeFiber, inulin and pectin, can modulate the gut microbiome and boost the human immune system. This insight is based on evidence that inulin and pectin increase the number of Bifidobacteria and other bacteria that can produce essential short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which play a crucial role in regulating our immune system.
Many researchers believe that fibers such as inulin and pectin can also protect against virus infections. This idea is supported by a series of studies with mice. In one such study, mice who had been fed inulin fiber proved much more tolerant of the influenza virus (flu) and had considerably fewer problems with respiration .
Of course, people are very different from mice. Yet the remarkable results of the mice studies have raised expectations that butyrate-producing gut bacteria may contribute to lower respiratory risk of viral infections in humans [2, 3, 4]. Other studies confirm the effect of the consumption of prebiotic fibers on the composition of the microbiome, and people’s sensitivity to viral and microbial infections under Intensive Care Unit (ICU) conditions, including the use of prophylactic antibiotics [5, 6, 7]. Currently scientists at Colombia University (USA) are conducting a study into the effect of daily inulin consumption by Covid-19 infected ICU patients .
Two authoritative publications of what is known about the health benefits of dietary fibers were published in 2019 in the leading medical journal The Lancet. These analyses are based on a large number of clinical studies. It clearly shows that a higher fiber consumption, of at least 25 grams per day, significantly reduces people’s lifetime risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, strokes, or some type of cancers [9, 10].
- Trompette et al. Dietary fiber confers protection against flu by shaping Ly6c–patrolling monocyte hematopoiesis and CD8+ T cell metabolism. Immunity. 2018; 48:1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2018.04.022.
- Mcloughlin et al. Soluble fibre supplementation with and without a probiotic in adults with asthma: A 7-day randomized, double blind, three way cross-over trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6712277/pdf/main.pdf
- Haak et al. Impact of gut colonization with butyrate-producing microbiota on respiratory viral infection following allo-HCT. Blood. 2018 Jun 28; 131(26): 2978–2986 doi: 1182/blood-2018-01-828996
- Lee et al. Butyrate-producing Gut Bacteria and Viral Infections in Kidney Transplant Recipients: A Pilot Study. Transpl Infect Dis 2019 Dec; 21(6):e13180. doi: 10.1111/tid.13180
- Fu et al. The relationship between dietary fiber intake and short chain fatty acid-producing bacteria during critical illness: a prospective cohort study. Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2020 March; 44(3): 463-471. doi: 10.1002/jpen.1682
- O’Keefe. The need to reassess Dietary Fibers in healthy and critically ill patients. Gastroenterol Clin North Am.2018 Mar;47(1):219-229. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2017.10.005.
- Freedberg, Impact of Fiber-Based Enteral Nutrition on the Gut Microbiome of ICU Patients Receiving Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics: A Randomized Pilot Trial. Critical Care Explorations: June 2020 – Volume 2 – Issue 6 – p e0135
- Reynolds, et al. Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The Lancet. 2019. 393; 10170: 434-445, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31809-9.
- O’Keefe. The association between dietary fibre deficiency and high-income lifestyle-associated diseases: Burkitt’s hypothesis revisited Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 December; 4(12): 984–996. doi:10.1016/S2468-1253(19)30257-2.