Great Gut Blog

The connection between the gut and lungs

Posted by Brad Dennis, Ph.D. on

The connection between the gut and lungs

The more we learn about the gut, the more important we understand it to be to the health of the other organs and systems in our bodies. We already know the gut houses the majority of our body’s immune system, as well as the important role it plays in the immune system’s development and functioning, and we’ve also heard a lot about the gut-brain connection and the idea of the gut as a second, independent brain. But scientific evidence has found direct connections between the gut and many other of our organs – including the lungs.

Researchers discovered that, much like the gut and brain are in communication, the gut and the lungs are talking, too, along the connection called the “gut-lung axis.” And, just like changes in the gut can affect brain function and moods, changes in the gut microbiome have also been linked to immune responses in the lungs and airways. In short, an unhealthy gut can cause inflammation in the lungs and airways – not too surprising, since poor gut health has been linked to inflammation throughout the body.

It goes even further; the composition of the microbiota in the gut can make it easier – or more difficult – for your body’s immune system to fight off respiratory infections, and can also affect how severe those infections become. It also seems to be involved in chronic respiratory conditions. A small study published in Nature Communications found that people with COPD have a very distinct makeup in their gut microbiome, with populations of certain bacteria that have a correlation to reduced lung function, and other research is looking into whether gut dysbiosis may play a part in hard-to-control asthma.

Prebiotics and Probiotics are good for your lungs

The good news, though, is that the same things that are good for your gut, can also be good for your lungs! Research found that people who regularly included probiotics in their diet had a lower chance of catching an upper respiratory infection than those who didn’t use probiotics, especially amongst those who were 45 and older, and other research is looking into the therapeutic potential of fiber for COPD.

Taking care of your gut takes care of your lungs. And adding in a daily regimen of probiotics and prebiotics – like our Great Gut Prebiotic Extra-Strength Fiber – is an easy way to take better care of not just your gut, but your overall health and wellbeing.


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