A randomised double blind placebo controlled trial evaluating a phytochemical rich nutritional capsule in addition a probiotic capsule and on clinical outcomes among individuals with Covid-19

Results (summary) of the UK Nutritional intervention Phyto-V Study



Background:

Since  the pandemic started in March 2020 researchers from across the world have found an imbalance of the friendly to unfriendly bacteria in the gut affected the majority of individuals suffering from a Covid-19 infection. This contributed to the gut symptoms experienced by over a quarter of people with covid such as bloating, diarrhoea and indigestion.

An imbalance of the healthy bacteria such as lactobacillus leads to a thinned, inflamed gut which allows toxins to leak into the body triggering an excessive chronic inflammatory response. This drain on the immune system uses up the immune cells leading to a reduced immunity and at the same time creates excess, inappropriate inflammation – which causes swelling and damage in the normal tissues including lung, muscles, joints and brain. This situation makes individuals even more susceptible to both the lung damage and general symptoms such as fatigue, lack of energy, indigestion headache, joint pains and lack of smell. People with these multiple symptoms are very much more likely to go onto develop a long covid syndrome.

Probiotic capsules: Previous studies have shown probiotics helped prevent upper respiratory viral infections. The massive King’s app study reported that people who took probiotics and vitamin D had a reduced chance of catching covid.

Phytochemical rich concentrated foods have been found to have multiple health benefits particularly reducing chronic degenerative disease. They have been found to reduce excess inflammatory and enhance oxidative pathways both important factors in tissue damage post viral pneumonia. The phytochemical rich in the foods selected for this study have also reported  direct anti-viral properties in laboratory studies as well as acting as potent prebiotics synergistically enhancing healthy gut probiotic colonisation. Despite these biochemical properties the benefit of boosting their intake with a nutritional capsule  had not been demonstrated clinically, hence the rationale for this study.

Methods and results: 147 participants with a symptomatic Covid-19 infection were randomised to receive a placebo or a phytochemical rich concentrated food capsule for 30 days.  Participants were also given of a pre and probiotic capsule providing 10 billion colony forming units of lactobacillus per day. Sixty three were male, 84 female, average age 53 years. The average time from covid diagnosis to trial entry was 108 days.

Formal cough, fatigue, bowel symptoms and overall well-being scores all significantly improved over the 30 days the whole group despite many of the participants having symptoms for over 100 days. On top of this,  participants randomised to the phytochemical rich capsule had 2-3 fold further improvement in mean symptoms compared to those given placebo. Statistically significant benefits were seen for patients with both early disease (symptoms less than 14 days) and chronic covid groups.

Those participants more like to have poor gut health at trial entry did even better – this included sedentary, older, previously hospitalised men with pre-existing indigestion of history of  bowel problems.

Going forward, this research group is now evaluating whether this blend could also enhance antibody titres levels post covid vaccination.

 

Note: Despite these significant results and the robust nature of this ethically approved scientific trial, these capsules are classed as foods not drugs so cannot be prescribed by medical practitioners.

These cannot be obtained from the trials centres but the manufactures, independent of the research unit do have them available online