Impact of Probiotic Supplementation in Asthmatics

By Patrick Zakka, MD - March 23, 2023

Researchers, led by Sina Sadrifar, evaluated whether probiotic supplementation impacted symptoms and immune profile characteristics in patients with asthma. The authors cited the preventative effects of probiotics against a wide range of diseases as support that they could also provide a benefit in asthmatics.

Based on their findings, the authors suggested probiotic supplementation reduced T-helper cell type 2 (Th2)-related interleukin (IL)-4 levels and improved pulmonary function test performance when compared with placebo after 8 weeks of treatment among asthmatics. The data were published in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.

Asthma Treatment With Probiotics Improves Outcomes

This was a double-blinded, controlled trial that randomized 40 patients with asthma to 1 capsule of probiotics or placebo per day for 8 weeks. The primary end points of the study were changes in pulmonary function tests, IL-4 and interferon (IFN)-γ plasma levels, and various microRNAs (miR) expression levels from baseline after treatment.

According to the report, probiotic treatment in patients with asthma significantly reduced their expression of miR-16 and miR146-a and levels of IL-4, while also concurrently increasing their expression of miR-133b. In addition, patients with asthma had significant improvements in forced expiratory volume over 1 second and forced vital capacity after treatment.

Findings were limited by the COVID-19 pandemic interfering with patient enrollment and limiting the final sample size of patients with asthma in the study. Investigators also noted they did not collect stool samples to compare microbiota features between the probiotic supplementation and placebo groups.

Overall, “our findings suggested that probiotics can be used short-term for asthmatic patients but long-term consumption of probiotic supplement requires more clinical trials,” the authors summarized.

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