ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Washington University researchers, led by Dr. Ashley Steed, have found a natural compound coupled with a specific gut microbe may prevent severe cases of the flu.

“We screened a number of metabolites, 84 in fact, and we found one that reproducibly acted in that fashion, and that was desimino tyrosine,” Steed says.

In this mouse study, desimino tyrosine didn’t prevent flu infection or lessen it, but it did lessen the consequences of the virus, including lung infection. This raises the possibility, Steed says, of one day people protecting themselves from the flu by supplementing their diets with pills or foods that activate the microbiome and make influenza less dangerous.

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