A new study of 300 Covid sufferers published in the prestigious international journal Gut Microbes shows that boosting levels of healthy bacteria in the digestive system can help clear COVID-19 virus and offer new hope to ‘long Covid’ sufferers.

The double-blinded study where neither doctors nor patients knew who was getting the bacterial food supplement and who was getting a dummy capsule, found that after 30 days twice as many people receiving the active supplement had no symptoms and negative PCR tests.

The group who took part in the study were men and women aged 18 to 60 who had contracted COVID-19 and suffered continuing symptoms but had not required hospital treatment. 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. 

Significant findings from the study:

  • 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 probiotic group than the placebo group
  • Significant reduction in viral load in the probiotic group compared to placebo, suggesting they may be less likely to suffer from long COVID-19 
  • Boosted the acquired immune response to COVID-19.  Levels of two different types of antibodies were two-folds higher in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group, suggesting probiotics may benefit people being vaccinated

The new findings add to a growing body of interest in the role of the microbiome – the collection of microorganisms in the digestive tract that represents up to 75% of our immune system. The cells in our gut communicate not only with the microbiome, but with all other mucous membranes, especially those in our lungs, the so-called ‘gut-lung axis’, where immunity acquired in the digestive system can be transferred to our respiratory system.

One in three patients afflicted with COVID-19 have an abnormal gut microbiome and gastrointestinal symptoms cause increased severity of the disease. Boosting the microbiome is therefore vital for fighting off Covid and other infectious diseases.

Where people can get these healthy bacteria:
The bacteria used in the new study are four patented beneficial strains, collectively termed AB21; Lactobacillus plantarum KABP™ 033, Pediococcus acidilactici KABP™ 021, Lactobacillus plantarum KABP™ 022, Lactobacillus plantarum KABP™ 023. This blend of bacteria is available as a new specifically formulated food supplement called Probio7 Professionals AB21. The supplement can be taken long term and is also suitable for those who have been prescribed antibiotics. It has been complemented with vitamin D3, a more efficacious form of vitamin D which helps to support immune health.

Advance welcomed by healthcare professionals:
Commenting on the research, Staffordshire GP Dr Mike Brown said: “I was very impressed by this study. I would definitely think about recommending this type of health supplement for patients with Covid and long Covid. There isn’t anything else I’ve read about that’s been proven to have a benefit, so it is definitely worth considering.”

Senior practice nurse, Betsy Cheevers from Hastings, East Sussex also said the supplement would offer a potential solution for long Covid sufferers: “The study patients were monitored daily and asked to score themselves on how they felt each day, and it’s great to see people were seeing improvements and feeling better. The long Covid patients I see are asking for something that can help them function properly and deal with things like brain fog. At present, the only option is to refer them to a long Covid clinic, but there’s a two-month waiting list. If I can recommend a nutritional supplement that has been found to reduce Covid symptoms, then that’s great.”

For more information on this study, click here.

If you are struggling with long covid symptoms, please consult your GP for guidance.

READ MORE: From Fermented Foods To Reducing Stress: How To Give Your Gut Health An MOT