A novel mixture of Bifidobacteria species taken as a pill was effective at alleviating several symptoms associated with post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS), or long COVID, according to a Hong Kong study shared at the recent Digestive Disease Week conference in Chicago.
The study included 463 subjects who had at least one of 14 common long-COVID symptoms four months after infection. Subjects were randomized and assigned either to receive an oral placebo or the oral microbiome formula called SIM01 for six months.
Authors said it's the first randomized controlled trial that shows modulation of the gut microbiome—our symbiotic collection of trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi—can alleviate gastrointestinal and neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with long COVID.
SIM01 contains probiotics from the Bifidobacteria strains galactooligosaccharides and xylooligosaccharide, along with resistant dextrin, a soluble fiber. Fiber is a prebiotic, the food necessary for probiotics such as Bifidobacteria strains to metabolize and proliferate, and is often used in conjunction with probiotics.
After six months of treatment, the patients taking SIM01 had better improvement in symptoms of fatigue, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, digestive problems, and general unwellness than the control group.
Bifidobacteria are foundational to immunity and are believed to have many health-promoting properties such as strengthening the intestinal barrier, stimulating hormones, and keeping inflammation at bay. They are among the first bacteria to form the immune system in newborns.
A healthy gut microbiome plays an important role in battling viral attacks on the body, and it’s increasingly clear COVID-19 causes dysbiosis and prolonged symptoms associated with the microbiome. However, the vaccinations may be no better in protecting against microbiome damage.