16 May DDW21: Fewer Respiratory Infections In Obese Patients Taking Daily Probiotics
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin Mullish PhD
NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer
Department of Metabolism
Digestion and Reproduction
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Which probiotic did you use and why?
Response: We recently reported the results of a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial in which participants who were overweight or with obesity (aged between 30-65 years of age) were randomized to receive probiotics or placebo for six months. The primary focus was on weight loss and metabolism. The probiotic used was Lab4P, containing three different strains of Bifidobacteria and two of Lactobacilli, which have shown to be safe and efficacious for use in rodent models and earlier clinical studies.
Of note, probiotics have also been shown to have other beneficial effects upon human health. Previous studies have suggested that they may have a role in preventing upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in healthy people and children; however, this has not been explored in older people or overweight/ people with obesity, even though such groups have higher rates of URTIs.
We looked back at our trial, and reviewed symptom diaries completed by participants daily during the study. We were looking at recorded symptoms most consistent with upper respiratory tract symptoms (including cough, wheezing and headache), and explored if rates of these were different between those participants taking probiotics compared to placebo over the six month course of the study.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: In addition to undergoing loss of weight and improvement in certain metabolic parameters, study participants taking probiotics experienced a 27% reduction in URTI symptoms versus those participants taking placebo, with those ≥45 years or BMI ≥30 kg/m2 experiencing greater reductions. This symptom reduction began to become apparent within 2 weeks of probiotic use.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Probiotics may be a safe, cost-effective, easily administered approach to reducing upper respiratory tract infections in people who are overweight or with obesity, and those of older age.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: In this study, we used symptoms consistent with upper respiratory tract infection as our main outcome, but did not have laboratory data biologically confirming true infection; further prospective studies of this nature will be important. Better understanding the mechanisms as to how our gut bacteria may influence immune responses in our respiratory tract (‘gut lung axis’) is also a priority area for future research.
Citation: DDW 21 abstract
“Daily probiotic use is associated with a reduced rate of upper respiratory tract symptoms in overweight and obese people,” abstract 739,
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