According to a new study, COVID-19 patients who consumed probiotics once a day for a month had lower remission rates. They also saw shorter duration of symptoms and viral load.

The placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical trial sheds light on the gut-lung axis and has now been submitted for peer review.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Hospital General Manuel Gea Gonzalez in Mexico City, and was completed in February 2021.

Preliminary, but promising clinical trial

“The preliminary results of this clinical trial are encouraging and we are extremely excited to have been a part of such timely research,” said lead investigator Pedro Gutierrez-Castrellon, MD, said. “Further research is needed to corroborate and explore additional benefits, however it’s important to note that probiotics are well known for their health benefits on the host, when administered in adequate amounts.”

As is a common practice with all preliminary studies, the researchers cautioned that additional studies are needed to corroborate the findings. The additional studies will also help confirm if the same results are possible with all strains of probiotics.

“As stated by the WHO [World Health Organization], they require well-designed clinical trials to be considered as such, and their benefits are strictly strain-specific, therefore positive evidence in a clinical trial for a particular health condition, efficacy cannot be extrapolated or extended to other strains without clinical evidence,” said Dr. Gutierrez-Castrellon.

Study details

The study included 300 non-hospitalized adult participants with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 and mild symptoms. For 30 days, half the group received a placebo capsule, while the others were given a once-a-day probiotic.

The probiotic supplement used included a blend of four probiotic strains—three strains of L. plantarum and one strain of P. acidilactici.

In addition to impacting remission rate and symptoms, there was no intensive care unit admissions observed during the study period, and there was no adverse event noted associated with the probiotic strain blend.

Once the study is peer-reviewed, researchers plan to share detailed efficacy and safety results.

Gut health critical component of immune system

With 75 percent of the immune system being associated with gut cells, the gut microbiota has been shown to be significantly involved in regulating the development and function of the immune system. With this in mind, experts are increasingly pointing to the connection between the gut and immunity, especially in light of COVID-19.

In November 2020, research published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology queried: “Is the gut microbiome an under-recognized contributor to the COVID-19 pandemic?”

Then in December, an analysis of 300,000 UK users of a COVID-19 tracking app found that supplementation of probiotics—in addition to other nutrients—was associated with a lower risk of self-reported SARS-CoV-2 infection.

In recognition of the importance of maintaining a healthy gut, Optimal Health Systems offers a number of products containing multiple-strain probiotic blends. Click links below for more information:

Optimal Flora Plus
21-Day Blitz Challenge Package
Exposure Protection Pak
Natural Z Pak
Optimal Defense

– – –

Sources: ClinicalTrials.gov database, Nutrition Insight.