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Study Shows Probiotics Could Help Long Covid Sufferers

A study has shown that two capsules a day of a probiotic combination could help patients suffering from Long Covid.

The investigation was undertaken at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Bedfordshire.

The research suggests that treating the gut with a combination of five bacteria called lactobacillus probiotics, in combination with naturally occurring polysaccharides called ‘inulin’– which are commonly extracted from chicory – could help those with acute and long-term Covid symptoms. (Inulin is a prebiotic which helps to feed the lactobacillus in the capsules taken on the study and other friendly bacteria that are in the gut).

Professor Robert Thomas, oncology consultant at Addenbrooke’s and Bedford hospitals, said they began the study after reports worldwide suggested that Covid patients were found to be suffering from dysbiosis – a disruption in the ratio of friendly to unfriendly gut bacteria.

This was especially true of those with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as nausea, indigestion and diarrhoea.

Also, a team at Kings’ College, London, developed an app-based study, involving more than 400,000 people, which showed those who took regular probiotic supplements had a lower risk of catching Covid.

Until now, it was not known whether taking probiotics after catching Covid could help. But the research of the Cambridge and Bedford teams suggests that they do. The study involved 126 people, a third of whom had an acute Covid infection, with the majority reporting a wide variety of symptoms lasting for more than 100 days.

The results showed that cough, fatigue, gut and well-being scores improved. Many participants reported that gut symptoms they had suffered for years were also resolved.

Such a rapid improvement in the majority who had been experiencing symptoms for more than eight months was clinically relevant and welcomed, especially among those more likely to have pre-existing gut dysbiosis. The authors believe that the importance of interventions to improve gut health should emphasised to people with Long Covid,” said Dr Thomas.

Going forwards, our research group is analysing the second phase of this study, which evaluated whether a whole phytochemical rich nutritional capsule, in additional to the probiotics, could further enhance Covid recovery.”

To read the original study please click here.

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