Here at Norkem, we’re proud to support the fight against COVID-19. Whether we’re supplying much-needed chemicals to the healthcare industry or helping supply laboratory stocks, we’ve been keeping vital industries moving during the pandemic and continued our chemicals supply service throughout the last year. Recent research has revealed that Norkem is helping in another unexpected way: through our provision of high-quality fibrous dietary supplements. A study of symptoms suffered by COVID-19 patients has shown that high-fibre diets may prove instrumental in helping people recover from the impact of COVID-19: particularly when it comes to minimising ‘Long Covid’ symptoms of inflammation in the gut.
What are these common gastrointestinal health effects of COVID-19?
A common effect of COVID-19 is an exacerbated inflammatory response, which accompanies gastrointestinal symptoms of the virus. Often, patients with COVID-19 report an array of symptoms such as vomiting and abdominal pain, which can be traced back to viral entry into intestinal cells which change those cells normal functions.
In addition, there have been several studies that indicate COVID-19 changes patient gut microbiota, which shows a decrease in SCFA’s - bacteria which secrete short-chain fatty acids. These changes in microbiota can be attributed to the presence of the infection.
How can fibre help against the effects of COVID-19?
Professor Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiologist at King's College London, focuses on the relationship between the gut microbiome and its role in aiding or impacting the body’s health. Spector says that there may additionally be a link between the microbiome makeup and inflammation - meaning that gut bacteria can help to regulate the immune system. Healthy gut bacteria produces many beneficial chemicals and activates Vitamin A in food, which provides additional support for the body’s immune system.
Crucially, an in-vitro study by the University of Campinas in Brazil found that the fermentation of insoluble fibre in the gut of patients who had contracted COVID-19 reduced the expression of a cytokine receptor that tends towards inflammation, as well as a gene that is instrumental in viral cell entry. To put it another way, this fibre helps the body to resist the gut inflammation that can accompany the contracting and aftereffects COVID-19.
A diet high in fibre can provide the microbiome diversity necessary to ensure a healthy gut and resist inflammation caused by COVID-19. So, how can you boost the fibre in your diet? One proven way to ensure a diet rich in beneficial fibres is to utilise a dietary supplement like GOFOS. GOFOS, or short chain fructo-oligosaccharides, is a supplement made from beet sugar which is an easy way to increase nutritional fibre in your dietary intake.
GOFOS is both low in calories and has a low glycaemic index, which means that the supplement is able to reduce sugar levels of any product to which it is added. GOFOS is both sweet and soluble, meaning it can be added to various drinks, foodstuffs and nutritional powders like protein powders and smoothie powders. Its nutritional fibre content means that the fibre content of the product is ameliorated at the same time as cutting down its calorific value, making it the perfect addition to baby foods, baked goods, cakes and sweets (where it also improves the item’s shelf-life). Crucially, GOFOS contains significant amounts of fibre - making it the perfect nutritional addition to these foodstuffs.
By adding GOFOS to products designed for consumption, manufacturers can provide a fibre boost - potentially helping to protect the consumer against these inflammatory effects of COVID-19.
To speak to a member of our friendly team about the benefits and supply of GOFOS in the UK, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.