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Capsules with probiotics and inulin could aid long Covid patients, Cambridge and Bedfordshire study finds

Two capsules a day containing a scientifically chosen blend of natural ingredients could help patients suffering from long Covid, experts at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust have found.

The year-long investigation was undertaken by CUH, Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Bedfordshire, and volunteer patients in both counties.

Addenbrooke’s and Bedford hospitals oncology consultant, Professor Robert Thomas
Addenbrooke’s and Bedford hospitals oncology consultant, Professor Robert Thomas

Now, a research paper just published in the open access journal Infectious Diseases Diagnosis and Treatment has found that treating the gut to a blend of five different friendly bacteria called lactobacillus probiotics, combined with a chicory-rich ingredient known as an inulin, could help with acute and long-term Covid symptoms.

The study started after researchers worldwide began reporting that Covid patients were suffering a disruption in the ratio of friendly to unfriendly bacteria in the gut, called dysbiosis.

London’s King’s College developed an app-based study, 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.

The study involved 126 people, a third of whom had an acute Covid infection, with the majority reporting a wide variety of longer-term symptoms lasting more than 100 days.

Addenbrooke’s and Bedford hospitals oncology consultant, Professor Robert Thomas, said: “Such a rapid improvement in the majority who had been experiencing symptoms for over 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 be emphasised to people with Covid.

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

“In addition, with the support of Roche pharmaceuticals, they are evaluating whether intake of this blend together with vitamin D could also enhance antibody titres levels post-Covid vaccination.”

More information about the trial can be found at http://phyto-v.com. Advice on long Covid can be found on the NHS website.

Earlier this year, Prof Thomas and his colleagues in Cambridge and Bedford published research that showed that pomegranate, turmeric, tea and broccoli could ease common symptoms of menopause.

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