Probiotic may boost Covid-19 antibody response in healthy adults: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Kira-Yan / Getty Images
© Kira-Yan / Getty Images

Related tags Probiotics Biogaia COVID-19 Vaccine Gut health immune support

BioGaia Protectis (L. reuteri DSM 17938) may increase the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response upon infection in healthy adults, according to a randomised, triple-blinded, placebo-controlled study.

Previous studies have shown that probiotics may protect against respiratory tract infections and increase the efficiency of certain vaccinations. The new study, published in Gut Microbes,​ indicated that the probiotic increased SARS-CoV-2 antibody titres in healthy volunteers when 28 days or more had elapsed from vaccination, thereby suggesting that probiotic supplementation may enhance the long-term protection against breakthrough infections.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the effect of probiotic supplementation on different SARS-CoV-2 antibody classes, including virus neutralising antibodies in an antibody-naïve cohort,” said Robert Brummer, professor of gastroenterology and clinical nutrition and director of the Nutrition-Gut-Brain Interactions Research Centre at Örebro University in Sweden, where the study was performed.

Study details

The study included 159 healthy adults without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 vaccination. The participants consumed either BioGaia Protectis (Limosilactobacillus reuteri​ DSM 17938, 100 million CFU twice per day) + vitamin D3 (10 micrograms twice per day), or a placebo product that contained only vitamin D3 for 6 months.

During the intervention period, 12 subjects were infected, and 17 were fully vaccinated and sampled 28 days or more postvaccination, said the researchers.

Upon infection with SARS-CoV-2, the researchers found that the probiotic group had statistically non-significant increase in serum anti-S and anti-RBD IgG titers.

In addition, in the subgroup of fully vaccinated individuals with more than 28 days postvaccination, the probiotic-receiving participants had statistically significantly higher anti-RBD IgA levels, compared to people in the placebo group.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to analyze the effects of probiotic supplementation on different anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody classes, including virus-neutralizing antibodies, throughout the whole seroconversion event,” wrote the researchers.

“Overall, these findings would suggest that L. reuteri DSM 17938 supplementation might increase the long-term efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against breakthrough infections via enhanced IgA response after vaccination,” they added.

“This potentially could have considerable benefits for at-risk individuals and for the prevention of community outbreaks. However, as our study was not designed to investigate this question, this hypothesis should be tested in a larger cohort with fixed sampling times and a controlled postvaccination observational period.”

Source: Gut Microbes
Volume 15, 2023 - Issue 1, doi: 10.1080/19490976.2023.2229938
“Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 supplementation and SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody response in healthy adults: a randomized, triple-blinded, placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: R.A. Forsgård, et al.


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