Gut microfloral dysbiosis is known to affect the majority individuals suffering with a Covid-19 infection, especially those with GI symptoms or prolonged disease coined “long covid”. This study evaluated whether a specific non-dairy, 5 blend of lactobacillus pro-bacteria combined with high strength inulin made from chicory, which aimed to improve gut health, could reduce the severity of early and chronic Covid-19 symptoms.
From May 2020 to May 2021, 126 participants with Covid-19, from 147 within the National Phyto-v study were recruited from across the UK. Men and women with an average duration of symptoms of 108 days, were given 30 days of this pre and probiotic capsule. Symptoms were recorded using the validated Cough Symptom Score, the Subjective Well-Being questionnaire and the Chandler fatigue questionnaire. The group was analysed as a whole and then subdivided into 40 (32%) in an early phase of infection (average symptoms 10 days before baseline) and the 86 (68%) in a chronic phase (average symptoms 120 days before trial baseline.
Cough, chronic fatigue and subjective well-being scores significantly improved over the 30 days in both the early and chronic phase cohorts as did bowel and many other troublesome chronic symptoms.
Participants who were more likely to have gut dysbiosis at trial entry, such as sedentary, hospitalised, older males with GI symptoms, had a statistically significantly better response to the probiotics. Gut symptoms improved in 25 of 31 (82%) who reported them at baseline. The capsules were very well tolerated and safe – with only two (1.5%) patients reported mild increased bloating and diarrhoea.
Following this nutritional intervention, participants had a significant improvement in GI and non-GI symptoms resulting in a meaningful improvement in overall well-being. Although some participants with early disease would have improved spontaneously, such a rapid improvement in the majority who had been experiencing symptoms for over 6 months, was clinically relevant and welcomed, especially among those more likely to have pre-existing gut dysbiosis.
Although this study suggested a benefit for this specific probiotic/prebiotic blend, it would still be wise to also consider general lifestyle and dietary measures to improve and maintain gut health – read more. Obviously during the pandemic it’s vital to fallow social distancing rules and get the vaccine.
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Within a few weeks , the second phase of this study will be analysed by the independent statistical team and will be presented online and submitted for publication. The researchers will be able to reveal the additional impact of the phytochemical rich purified food supplement to the probiotics.
Going forward, our research group are also evaluating whether intake of this blend now commercially known as yourgutplus+ combined with vitamin D could enhance antibody titres levels post Covid vaccination. This study, sponsored by Roche Pharmaceuticals is due to start in January 2022 will also measure the impact of regular exercise on antibody titres.