50% Covid-19 victims likely to suffer from Gastro-intestinal related complications


The outbreak of Covid-19 pneumonia is primarily defined by affecting the lungs and the heart. We have also now understood that the digestive system also gets badly affected due to the ill-effects of novel coronavirus. Dr. Bharat Kumar Nara, Sr. Consultant – Surgical Gastroenterology & HPB Surgeon at Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Lakdikapul reiterates that SARS COVID 19 does cause moderate to severe gastrointestinal complications among those who have or have recovered from Covid-19 infection.

Nearly 50% Covid-19 victims suffer from gastrointestinal linked complications such as nausea, vomiting and a upset tummy; and the impact of COVID 19 on human digestive system has been established via multiple studies throughout the world since the outbreak of this pandemic. It is thereby prudent to pay importance to all patients with a history of an epidemiological exposure, as Covid-19 infection may result in troubling and lasting gastrointestinal symptoms.

Novel coronavirus infection also affects the gut microbiome, the liver and the pancreas. In the liver Covid 19 may result in an abnormal liver function like the increase of liver enzymes; and these liver enzymes are associated with severity of Covid-19 infection. It may cause pancreatitis in a few patients and this is very troubling. It is thus important that the patients with preexisting gastrointestinal related complications must stay cautious, and ensure they seek right medical attention early instead of depending on home remedies or on unsolicited advice.

Right diet is the most important component to overcome any health complication including Covid-19 infection and related complications. The impact of dietary patterns on susceptibility to and severity of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been largely ignored by people at large. Several studies show than an optimal immune response depends on proper diet and nutrition to control SARS-CoV-2 infection. Consuming anti-inflammatory diet with antioxidant properties like Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Phytochemicals such as carotenoids and polyphenols are important.

Consuming plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and intake of whole grains adds to fiber intake and helps in promoting growth of good bacteria in the gut. The favorable intestinal microbiome composition in these foods reduces intestinal and systemic inflammation through fermentation by gut microbiota and the consequent formation of beneficial metabolic compounds. Hence it is important to focus on dietary practices to ensure human body is prepared to tackle any possible complications arising due to infections like novel coronavirus.