If you have a symptomatic bout of COVID-19, taking a probiotic supplement nearly doubles the chances that you’ll fully recover within a month.
That’s the promising finding of a new clinical trial. It tested probiotics in 300 symptomatic COVID patients. Half the subjects took a daily supplement that contained four probiotic strains. The other half took a placebo.
After 30 days, 53% of the probiotic takers had completely recovered. But only 28% of the placebo patients had gotten better.
What’s more, after patients started taking probiotics, they had lower levels of the coronavirus in their nose and throat. This means they may have been less likely to spread the infection to others.
Dr. Pedro Gutierrez-Castrellon led the study. He called it “an important step forward in our continued efforts to support COVID-19 patients.”
Dr. Gutierrez-Castrellon said that his research shows that probiotics “reduce viral load, lung infiltrates, and symptom duration.” Lung infiltrates are lung fluid and debris associated with pneumonia.
China Now Recommends Probiotics for COVID Patients
The study is only the latest to show that COVID patients may benefit from probiotics as part of their treatment. Researchers in China compared 150 COVID patients who took probiotics to 150 patients who did not.
The scientists discovered that those taking probiotics:
- Suffered from a fever for a shorter time.
- Spent less time in the hospital.
- Were contagious for a shorter time.
After the findings, China’s National Health Commission recommended that all patients with severe COVID be given probiotics as part of their treatment.
In October of 2021, the journal Clinical Nutrition published a major review of 21 studies that looked at the effects of probiotics in COVID-19 patients.
The review found that probiotics reduce inflammation and virus levels while increasing antibody production. The authors recommended that doctors “use probiotics as an adjunctive option in COVID-19” patients.
Choose the Right Probiotic Supplement
If you test positive for COVID, check with your doctor before taking a probiotic supplement. And choose your supplement wisely.
Make sure your probiotic formula has at least 10 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per serving. This is a measure of potency. Making sure the supplement is not past its expiration date will also help ensure its potency.
Probiotic strains used in COVID studies include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Streptococcus thermophilus
You’ll want to make sure that some or all of these strains are included in the supplement you choose.
Probiotics are best known for digestive health. But it’s becoming clear that they could provide important benefits for COVID patients.
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