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Probiotics associated with fewer respiratory symptoms in older people

Posted on10 Jun 2021
Researchers re-analyzed detailed daily diaries of 220 patients who participated in an earlier double-blind placebo-controlled study on probiotics and weight loss. Reviewing the entries for common symptoms of upper respiratory infection, including cough, sore throat and wheezing, researchers found that participants who took probiotics during the six-month study had a 27 percent lower overall incidence of upper respiratory tract symptoms compared to the placebo group.

The effect was largest among participants who were aged 45 years or older, as well as those with obesity. People with obesity are at higher risk for respiratory infections. Previous research has shown that probiotics reduce upper respiratory infections in healthy adults and children, but little data exists on this vulnerable population of older, overweight and people with obesity.

"These findings add to growing interest in the gut-lung axis—how the gut and the lungs communicate with each other," Dr. Mullish said. "It's not just the gut sending out signals that affect how the lungs work. It works in both directions. It adds to the story that changes in the gut microbiome can affect large aspects of our health."

Benjamin Mullish, MD, a lead researcher on the study and clinical lecturer in the Division of Digestive Diseases, Imperial College London, England, "but it's further evidence that the gut microbiome has a complex relationship with our various organ systems. It doesn't just affect how our gut works or how our liver works, it affects aspects of how our whole body works."

Source - Digestive Disease Week 2021

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