The Influence of a blend of Probiotic Lactobacillus and Prebiotic Inulin on the Duration and Severity of Symptoms among Individuals with Covid-19
Gut microbial irregularities can lead to increased gut inflammation and gut membrane damage in people with long covid. Symptoms such as cough and breathlessness are apparent in Covid 19 patients with harmful gut bacterial overgrowth. In Covid patients, antibiotic and dexamethasone treatment also aggravates gut microbial imbalances. Lactobacillus supplementation has been shown to lessen upper respiratory tract infection, increase gut bacterial diversity, improve gut wall integrity, reduce gastrointestinal symptoms and gut inflammation, decrease oxidative stress and improve immunity. This study analysed the efficacy of probiotics and prebiotics combined supplements in reducing the severity and longevity of symptomatic Covid infection. 126 participants with Covid symptoms consumed two capsules a day for a month of a supplement containing 5 species of Lactobacillus and chicory inulin. 32% of participants were in the early phase of infection, and 68% were in the late phase. Both early and late phase participants showed significant improvements in cough, fatigue, and subjective wellbeing after 30 days of intervention. The gut symptoms of 82% of the participants improved after a month of intervention. Inulin and Lactobacillus strains need to be studied further robustly to determine whether they provide additional benefits. Healthcare practitioners can use the results of this study to consider symbiotic interventions for those with Covid symptoms.
Ultra-processed Foods and Drinks - NED Infobite
Ultra-processed foods and drinks (UPF) are mostly or entirely lacking in whole foods and fibre and are often high is salt, fat, sugars and chemical additives. Regular consumption of these foods and drinks has been associated with obesity and metabolic dysregulation. This NED Infobite includes articles on childhood health impacts of UPF consumption and associations between UPFs and Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and low-grade inflammation.
Investigating the Relationship between Vitamin D and Persistent Symptoms Following SARS-CoV-2 Infection.
Plain language summary
Persistence of symptoms following COVID-19 infection is known as long COVID and occurs in up to a third of sufferers and can last for as long as 6 months post infection. Tiredness and reduced capacity to exercise are characteristic of long COVID, however why these symptoms persist in a handful of patients is unknown. Vitamin D deficiency is gaining attention for its potential to improve symptoms of tiredness, however there are few studies examining its relationship with long COVID. This observational study of 149 patients who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 aimed to determine the relationship between symptoms of long COVID, inflammation in the body and vitamin D levels. The results showed that fatigue was common, but there was no association between vitamin D levels and fatigue, inflammation, or capacity to exercise. Interestingly women were more likely to experience fatigue in this study. It was concluded that fatigue and reduced exercise capacity are independent of vitamin D in those who have had COVID-19. This study could be used by healthcare professionals to understand symptoms of long COVID, and that vitamin D may not be effective for those symptoms.
The emergence of persistent symptoms following SARS-CoV-2 infection, known as long COVID, is providing a new challenge to healthcare systems. The cardinal features are fatigue and reduced exercise tolerance. Vitamin D is known to have pleotropic effects far beyond bone health and is associated with immune modulation and autoimmunity. We hypothesize that vitamin D levels are associated with persistent symptoms following COVID-19. Herein, we investigate the relationship between vitamin D and fatigue and reduced exercise tolerance, assessed by the Chalder Fatigue Score, six-minute walk test and modified Borg scale. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were used to evaluate the relationships. A total of 149 patients were recruited at a median of 79 days after COVID-19 illness. The median vitamin D level was 62 nmol/L, with n = 36 (24%) having levels 30-49 nmol/L and n = 14 (9%) with levels <30 nmol/L. Fatigue was common, with n = 86 (58%) meeting the case definition. The median Borg score was 3, while the median distance covered for the walk test was 450 m. No relationship between vitamin D and the measures of ongoing ill-health assessed in the study was found following multivariable regression analysis. These results suggest that persistent fatigue and reduced exercise tolerance following COVID-19 are independent of vitamin D.
Effects of a 6 Week Low-Dose Combined Resistance and Endurance Training on T Cells and Systemic Inflammation in the Elderly.
Plain language summary
As age advances, a gradual deterioration of immune function happens termed Immunosenescence, where different components of the immune system make a behavioural shift towards gradual decline. Immune ageing is characterized by changes in the ratio of naive memory T cells and CD4:CD8 and is associated with inflammatory cytokine production, which accelerates inflammatory ageing. This randomised controlled trial aimed to examine the effect of low-dose combined resistance and endurance training on the ageing immune system and inflammation in elderly subjects. Thirty participants (between the ages of 65 and 75) took part in a controlled low-threshold and care-oriented combined resistance and endurance training program for six weeks. This study showed an increase in CD4:CD8 ratio, decrease in low-grade inflammation and an improvement in strength capacity denoting improved immunosenescence and inflammaging among elderly participants. However, the study was conducted on a small sample for a short period. Therefore, robust long-term studies are required to elucidate further positive effects of different levels of physical activities in the elderly. Healthcare professionals can use these findings to understand how exercise influences immunosenescence and inflammation in the ageing body.
With increasing age, the immune system undergoes a remodeling process, affecting the shift of T cell subpopulations and the development of chronic low-grade inflammation. Clinically, this is characterized by increased susceptibility to infections or development of several diseases. Since lifestyle factors can play a significant role in reducing the hallmarks of immune aging and inflammation, we investigated the effect of a 6 week low-dose combined resistance and endurance training program. Forty participants (70.3 ± 5.0 years) were randomly assigned to either a training (TG) or control group (CG) and performed a controlled low-threshold and care-oriented 6-week-long combined resistance and endurance training program. Changes in anthropometrics as well as strength capacity were measured. In subgroups of TG and CG, T cells and their subpopulations (CD4+, CD8+, naïve, central, effector memory, T-EMRA) were analyzed by flow cytometry. The changes of various plasma cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and adipokines were analyzed by luminex assays. The exercise program was followed by an increase in strength capacities. Participants of TG showed an increase of the CD4+/CD8+ T cell ratio over time (p < 0.05). Significant decreases in systemic levels of interleukin (IL-) 6, IL-8, IL-10 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) (p < 0.05) were observed for participants of TG over time. Even short-term and low-threshold training can reduce some of the hallmarks of immune aging in elderly and thus could be beneficial to stimulate immunity. The specific characteristics of the program make it easily accessible to older people, who may benefit in the longer term in terms of their immunocompetence.
Impact of Probiotics on the Performance of Endurance Athletes: A Systematic Review.
International journal of environmental research and public health. 2021;18(21)
Plain language summary
The relationship between the gut microbiome and exercise has recently been explored to ascertain potential methods of improving athletic performance. Athletes have begun utilising probiotics to improve performance, support the immune system and reduce gastrointestinal problems, however no systematic review has been done to assess the efficacy behind these notions. The aim of this study is to review the use of probiotics in endurance athletes and assess both the direct and indirect associative factors. This review included nine studies and found improvements in athletic performance, oxidative stress markers, immune support, and incidence of upper respiratory tract infections with probiotic use. While there is little scientific evidence on the causative relationship between probiotics and performance, the authors conclude probiotics can enhance athletic performance by ameliorating the indirect consequences of oxidative stress and infection.
Conflicts of interest:
A: Meta-analyses, position-stands, randomized-controlled trials (RCTs)
B: Systematic reviews including RCTs of limited number
C: Non-randomized trials, observational studies, narrative reviews
D: Case-reports, evidence-based clinical findings
E: Opinion piece, other
- There is current interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of probiotic strategies to support training and in-race performance for endurance athletes.
- Probiotic supplements are typically used by endurance athletes to limit or prevent upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), reduce oxidative stress, support the immune system and modulate gastrointestinal function.
- Based on a limited number of articles sourced in this review (n=26), only 9 met the underlying quality and inclusion criteria. This highlights an important need for further research to be undertaken in this area.
- The review highlighted that different preparations, number of bacterial colony-forming units (CFUs), species type, timecourse and study objectives makes it difficult to determine fundamental conclusions on the efficacy of probiotics.
- That said, papers reviewed indicated the potential for a 55% increase in anti-inflammatory cytokines, reduced prevalence of URTIs, reduced Epstein-Barr and cytomegalovirus citrate antibodies, and improved recovery times.
- Probiotic supplementation likely enhances microbiota diversity and may indirectly support increased training load, and performance maintenance through immune defence. However, there were no indications that endurance performance was specifically enhanced.
Clinical practice applications:
- Most of the papers reviewed used formulae containing either Lactobacillus spp. (e.g. Plantarum, Acidophilus, Casei Shirota) or Bifidobacterium spp. (e.g. animalis subsp., bifidum, lactis, longum subsp.) or combinations. There was little mention of prebiotic or symbiotic strategies.
- Any impact of probiotics on exercise performance is likely to relate to both immune modulation and/or mechanisms leading to reduced muscle damage.
- Surprisingly, there was only partial mention of the use of probiotics for GI support and several notable papers were not included in the review. That said, the authors did note that with increased prevalence of exercise-induced gastrointestinal symptoms with endurance sport due to acute GI hypoperfusion and localised ischemia, acute probiotic strategies have resulted in reduced GI symptom frequency and severity in athletes.
- Importantly no adverse events following probiotic supplementation in endurance athletes were reported.
Considerations for future research:
- Clearly further research is warranted in terms of probiotic strain specific benefits both in training and in-race event effectiveness.
- The authors reported that there were no studies found on the effect of probiotics on hormonal or nervous systems in endurance athletes.
- Further research is needed to consider the impact of acute versus chronic probiotic use on intestinal metabolites, especially considering recent interactions between specific bacterial strains and short-chain fatty acid production being associated with performance (see: https://www.nutrition-evidence.com/article/31235964?term=31235964.
BACKGROUND Probiotic supplements contain different strains of living microorganisms that promote the health of the host. These dietary supplements are increasingly being used by athletes to improve different aspects such as athletic performance, upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), the immune system, oxidative stress, gastrointestinal (GI) problems, etc. This study aimed to identify the current evidence on the management of probiotics in endurance athletes and their relationship with sports performance. METHODS A systematic review of the last five years was carried out in PubMed, Scopus, Web of science, Sportdiscus and Embase databases. RESULTS Nine articles met the quality criteria. Of these, three reported direct benefits on sports performance. The remaining six articles found improvements in the reduction of oxidative stress, increased immune response and decreased incidence of URTIs. There is little scientific evidence on the direct relationship between the administration of probiotics in endurance athletes and sports performance. CONCLUSIONS Benefits were found that probiotics could indirectly influence sports performance by improving other parameters such as the immune system, response to URTIs and decreased oxidative stress, as well as the monitoring of scheduled workouts.
The Effects of Exercise on Indirect Markers of Gut Damage and Permeability: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.). 2021;51(1):113-124
Plain language summary
Gut permeability and intestinal cell damage are often observed in various gastrointestinal and metabolic conditions. Based on recent findings, exercise appears to cause damage to intestinal cells, leading to an increase in gut permeability. The aim of this review was to determine the effect of an acute bout of exercise on gut damage and permeability and explore the plausible mechanisms underlying these effects. This review analysed 34 studies that evaluated biomarkers of gut permeability and cell damage in response to exercise compared to resting controls. These findings revealed a significant impact of exercise on gut damage and permeability, and the markers were exacerbated when exercise was performed in hot conditions. The duration of exercise did not have any impact on cell damage or permeability. Based on these results, the authors conclude a single bout of exercise increases gut damage and permeability and they encourage further investigation into nutritional strategies to prevent adverse effects during the post-exercise period. Future research should consider the efficacy nutritional interventions to minimize these negative effects to optimise athletic health and performance.
AIM: Exercise appears to cause damage to the endothelial lining of the human gastrointestinal tract and elicit a significant increase in gut permeability. OBJECTIVE The aim of this review was to determine the effect of an acute bout of exercise on gut damage and permeability outcomes in healthy populations using a meta-analysis. METHODS PubMed, The Cochrane Library as well as MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus and CINHAL, via EBSCOhost were searched through February 2019. Studies were selected that evaluated urinary (ratio of disaccharide/monosaccharide excretion) or plasma markers [intestinal Fatty Acid Binding Protein (i-FABP)] of gut permeability and gut cell damage in response to a single bout of exercise. RESULTS A total of 34 studies were included. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed, and showed a large and moderate effect size for markers of gut damage (i-FABP) (ES 0.81; 95% CI 0.63-0.98; n = 26; p < 0.001) and gut permeability (Disaccharide Sugar/Monosaccharide Sugar) (ES 0.70; 95% CI 0.29-1.11; n = 17; p < 0.001), respectively. Exercise performed in hot conditions (> 23 °C) further increased markers of gut damage compared with thermoneutral conditions [ES 1.06 (95% CI 0.88-1.23) vs. 0.66 (95% CI 0.43-0.89); p < 0.001]. Exercise duration did not have any significant effect on gut damage or permeability outcomes. CONCLUSIONS These findings demonstrate that a single bout of exercise increases gut damage and gut permeability in healthy participants, with gut damage being exacerbated in hot environments. Further investigation into nutritional strategies to minimise gut damage and permeability after exercise is required. PROSPERO database number (CRD42018086339).
Does the gut microbiome increase cardiovascular disease?
In this blog post, Alex Manos discusses the role played by the diversity of the intestinal microbiota in cardiovascular disease. He presents us with the intestinal microbial communities that widely differ between patients with symptomatic atherosclerosis and healthy controls. This article is a precious source of information as it lets the reader understand how closely blood pressure is affected by the diversity of the gut microbiome, and how specific classes of microorganisms can positively or negatively impact our risk of cardiovascular disease development.
Oral hygiene and COVID-19 is there a link? with Dr. Victoria Sampson
Dr. Victoria Sampson is an award-winning functional dentist whose findings have been published in both the British Dental Journal and Nature in April 2020. Through her work, she unveils the staggering statistics that link poor oral health and gum disease to increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and severe Covid-19 development. Through this interview, we learn how periodontal disease causes systemic inflammation, producing high levels of inflammatory markers which are also elevated in Covid-19 and cardiovascular disease.
Overweight and Obesity - NED Infobite
Obesity and its impact on the prevalence of diabetes and subsequent cardiovascular disease is one of the major health burdens in Western societies. Intensive lifestyle intervention programmes have been shown to be successful, even in individuals with pre-diabetes. Nutrition and lifestyle interventions targeting blood sugar regulation, fibre intake for microbiome health and healthy habits formed in childhood all have a role to play.
The Role of Inflammation - NED Infobite
Low-grade chronic inflammation contributes to the development of various chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus type 2 and cardiovascular diseases. This BANT Infobite highlights some of the latest research on diet and inflammation, including a study on the role of the gut microbiome.