The PROMAGEN Study: Viral pandemic link?

Probiotics reduce self-reported symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in overweight and obese adults: should we be considering probiotics during viral pandemics?

SUMMARY

A randomised, double-bind, placebo-controlled study with 220 overweight and obese adults aged 30-65.
The probiotic group (110) took 50 billion Lab4P probiotics every day for six months and the placebo group (110) took an identical-looking placebo.
Supplementation with Lab4P probiotics significantly reduced the incidence of viral specific upper respiratory tract infection symptoms particularly in older or obese adults.
Gut microbiota diversity remained stable in Lab4P supplemented older adults who developed upper respiratory tract infection symptoms.

Aim

This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study aimed to assess the effect of 6-months’ supplementation with the Lab4P probiotic on body weight, plasma cholesterol and wellbeing in healthy overweight and obese individuals. In addition, further analysis was carried out to investigate the impact of the Lab4P probiotics on the occurrence of specific upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) symptoms and their relationship with age, BMI and gut microbiota diversity and the results were published in a stand-alone paper.

Method

Results

Overall URTI symptoms

  • Significant reduction in the incidence of URTI symptoms (cough, sore throat, headache, muscle pain and wheeze) was seen in Group 2 compared to Group 1 (P< 0.0001).
  • The impact of Lab4 probiotic supplementation on the incidence of URTI symptoms was greater in participants 45 years and older or with BMI >30 (Fig 1).

Season differences in the URTI symptoms occurrence

  • In both groups, significantly fewer URTI symptoms were observed in the summer/early autumn months (July-September) compared to the late autumn/winter months (October-December).
  • Lab4P probiotic supplementation (Group 2) resulted in a lower incidence of URTI symptoms in both seasons compared to Group 1 (Fig 2).

Gut microbiota and URTI symptoms associations

  • In Group 1, the participants aged 45 and over showed a significant reduction in the diversity of gut microbiota and an increased number of days with URTI symptoms (P<05).
  • In contrast, supplementation with Lab4P probiotics minimised changes in the composition of the gut microbiota in participants 45 years old and over with URTI symptoms (Group 2).

Conclusion

Supplementation of overweight and obese adults with the Lab4P probiotic for 6 months resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of specific URTI symptoms with the greatest benefit seen in individuals 45 years and over and/or with BMI over 30.
Lab4P probiotics demonstrated a protective role in preventing changes in gut microbiota composition in the older participants who developed URTI symptoms.

Reference

Mullish BH et al. 2021 Probiotics reduce self-reported symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection in overweight and obese adults: should we be considering probiotics during viral pandemics? Gut Microbes 13(1): e1900997

Study links

2020

The PROMAGEN Study: URTI Symptoms

A randomised controlled study shows supplementation of overweight and obese adults with lactobacilli and bifidobacteria reduces bodyweight and improves well-being

2020

The PROMAGEN Study: Quality of Life

A randomised controlled study shows supplementation of overweight and obese adults with lactobacilli and bifidobacteria reduces bodyweight and improves well-being

2020

The PROMAGEN Study: Weight loss and Cholesterol

A randomised controlled study shows supplementation of overweight and obese adults with lactobacilli and bifidobacteria reduces bodyweight and improves well-being

2021

The PROBE Study

Daily supplementation with the Lab4P probiotic consortium induces significant weight loss in overweight adults

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