Obstructive Sleep Apnea Related to Intestinal Dysbiosis and Leaky Gut

A recent study has delved into the correlation between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the gut microbiome. Findings suggest that an imbalance in microbiota, termed dysbiosis, is associated with varying degrees of apnea severity, be it mild, moderate, or severe. The human body relies on its microbiota, comprising bacteria, fungi, and viruses that coexist symbiotically within and on the body, for multiple functions, most notably an efficient immune response.

The term “apnea” refers to the cessation of breathing, often caused by the collapse of the upper airway, which disrupts the sleep cycle and necessitates mouth breathing. This pathological mechanism results in intermittent hypoxia, a condition characterized by inadequate oxygen delivery to tissues, thereby impacting circulation, cognition, and organ functionality.

Previous studies have demonstrated that alterations in bacterial levels can impact systemic inflammation, potentially exacerbating or alleviating symptoms concurrent with sleep apnea.

The new study was conducted at a sleep laboratory involving 48 Chinese participants utilized blood and stool tests to validate previous animal studies and bolster the hypothesis connecting obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to intestinal dysbiosis. The study also demonstrates that although the specific bacterial imbalance may vary depending on geographical location, disease progression and dysbiosis remain predictable.

Several studies, including this one, have demonstrated the correlation between sleep apnea, intestinal barrier damage, and an imbalance of microbiota. However, the latest research indicates that dysbiosis is directly influenced by repeated hypoxia.

Dysbiosis, a condition that often goes unnoticed by individuals unless they exhibit severe gastrointestinal problems, remains largely misunderstood in terms of its causes and implications. Moreover, sleep apnea, a sometimes silent disruptor, can manifest without the characteristic hallmark of snoring. Contrary to popular belief, this disorder can affect individuals of all sizes, including those who are lean or even children.

The study suggests that the new research findings on sleep apnea could potentially lead to innovative treatment methods. The inclusion of gut microbiome analysis may form a crucial component of personalized treatment approaches for sleep apnea patients. As researchers delve deeper into this realm, we may see significant advancements that could benefit individuals living with sleep apnea in the near future.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Obstructive sleep apnea is related to alterations in fecal microbiome and impaired intestinal barrier function