Recent evidence has shown that our gut microbiome and the cross talk between our respiratory system (the gut-lung axis), plays an important role in the severity and recovery from respiratory illnesses. Previous studies have shown that friendly bacteria play a role in respiratory infections such as cold and influenza.  

Based on this evidence, a recent study has been published in Gut Microbes which shows the use of friendly bacteria in supporting recovery from Covid-19.  

Study outline 

300 patients (men and women aged 18 to 60) who had a positive Covid-19 test, active symptoms but not hospitalised were recruited. They were split into two groups; friendly bacteria (collection of strains termed AB21) and placebo (inactive substance). They each took either their friendly bacteria or placebo capsule each day for 30 days.  

Almost half of them had additional Covid risk factors including obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which are all linked to worse outcomes from the infection. The Centre for Translational Health Science Research in Mexico City which led the study, reported results for Covid clearance in this high-risk group were just as good. 

The study was double blind, meaning neither the doctors nor patients knew who was getting the friendly bacteria or placebo capsule.  

Study results  

  • Complete remission achieved by 78 of 147 (53.1%) in the probiotic group compared to 41 of 146 (28.1%) in the placebo group
  • Significant effect on the duration of symptoms from as early as 3 days after start of treatment 
  • COVID-19 symptoms lasted 3.3 days less, on average, in the healthy bacteria supplement group than the placebo group
  • Significant reduction in viral load in the healthy bacteria supplement group compared to placebo, suggesting they may be less likely to suffer from long COVID-19 
  • Boost to the acquired immune response to COVID-19.  Levels of two different types of antibodies were two-folds higher in the healthy bacteria supplement group compared to the placebo group, suggesting healthy bacteria supplement may benefit people being vaccinated

What this means? 

The study shows a promising result for those suffering from Covid as well as long Covid and further highlights the importance of the gut microbiome in respiratory infections.  

To learn more about the use of probiotics in respiratory infection, book a free 1-1 nutrition consultation with one of our nutritionists today via this link.  

Gutiérrez-Castrellón, P., Gandara-Martí, T., Abreu Y Abreu, A., Nieto-Rufino, C., López-Orduña, E., Jiménez-Escobar, I., Jiménez-Gutiérrez, C., López-Velazquez, G. and Espadaler-Mazo, J., 2022. Probiotic improves symptomatic and viral clearance in Covid19 outpatients: a randomized, quadruple-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Gut Microbes, 14(1).