Help From Probiotics In The COVID-19 Era

Monday, November 30th, 2020

PSA: Remember that you are not alone, that your microbiota can be of help, and that the billions of conscientiously selected probiotic bacteria from clinically-backed products can support your health in many ways during these trying times. By Nina Vinot area sales manager & product development from Probiotical.

We are living a momentous time that has changed the way we live in unprecedented ways. The new daily routine is more than ever lived remotely and brings a whole range of new challenges. Living indoors and unexposed to environmental microorganisms weakens our immune defenses in the time they are most needed. Anxiety builds up and the ways to offload are very limited when gyms are closed and you are not authorised to meet up with your loved ones. Stress triggers cravings and comfort food is ready at hand. Wearing masks and hand sanitation worsen atopic dermatitis and acne.

In this unique context, interest towards health and prevention has been rising at the global scale, which brings opportunity in the sector of food supplements, with particular attention towards vitamins and probiotics.

Indeed, probiotics can bring a lot of help in this arduous time. But not any probiotics: microorganisms health effects are strain specific and efficacy will depend on choosing the right product at the right dose.

Probiotics selected and studied for their ability to stimulate the immune system while keeping in check the inflammation as well as oppose pathogens are a great help in reducing the occurrence, severity and duration of respiratory diseases including from viral origin*. The Chinese authorities, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, even recommended the use of probiotics in the aim of preventing secondary infection*. Some strains are particularly good at counteracting pathogens, including respiratory ones*.

In the context of increased stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia, probiotics can also play a protective role. For example, Probiotical’s Bifizen is based on the synergistic action of strains selected for their ability to produce GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter, for their anti-inflammatory and anti-pathogen activity, and for their protective effect on leaky gut, which also participates to low grade chronic inflammation, an underlying factor of depression. 

This probiotic food supplement was clinically tested in healthy students and led to significant improvements in fatigue, anger and depressive mood after three weeks of supplementation, an effect that was deepened after 6 weeks and even more present three weeks after washout*. Bifizen also improved the quality of sleep. It is available in association with recognised actives including adaptogens and vitamins for a broader application to stress, focus, prevention of neurodegeneration, sleeping and kids.

With regards to snacking, the role of the microbiota in satiety and metabolic health is ever more investigated, and the expectations on next generation probiotics such as Akkermansia muciniphila are gaining momentum. Mechanisms of action include the production of metabolites including short chain fatty acids, immunomodulation, and even gene regulation. A recent study on the intake of strains B. breve BR03 and B632 in overweight and obese children and adolescents* showed significant benefits in terms of weight loss and insulin metabolism.

Finally, with Covid-19 at our door, we don’t go out without wearing a mask, and at almost every new door we cross, we are welcomed by hydroalcoholic gel. For roughly half of acne-sufferers, masks make matters worse*; for atopic dermatitis sufferers, hand washing and sanitation aggravate lesions and itch, and for both skin affections, stress participates to relapses and severity. Again, while the microbiota-skin axis is less well-known than the role of microbiota in immunity and in the gut-brain axis, it is an area with flourishing science and growing consumer interest*. Specific probiotics participate to alleviating the inflammation and rebalancing the immune response which is at the root of the skin reaction, and they are also able to oppose pathogens associated with the lesions (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus for atopic dermatitis and Cutibacterium acnes for acne). Interestingly, they are proven to be effective in alleviating the symptoms as supplements taken orally*. And when the itch eases down, sleep quality improves and serenity comes back within reach.

In conclusion, good luck to everyone in this time of adaptation and hardship—remember that you are not alone, that the trillions composing your microbiota can be of help, and that the billions of conscientiously selected probiotic bacteria from clinically-backed products can support your health in many ways.


*References available upon request.


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