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As COVID-19 Cases Rise, Probiotics Could Reduce Symptoms and Infection, Study Suggests

Researchers at Duke Health found that ‘good bacteria’ could have antiviral properties By Melissa Rudy . Fox News

Published January 4, 2024 6:09am EST

In March 2020, Duke Health concluded a blind study indicating probiotics delay the onset of COVID and reduce symptoms by 50%.

Dr. Osborn shared with FOX News Digital his thoughts on the results of the study. The study included 182 participants who were unvaccinated and recently exposed to the virus in their households.

Half of them received lactobacillus, which is the probiotic found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and kimchi, and the other half received a placebo pill.

The participants who took the probiotic were about half as likely to have contracted COVID-19 and experience symptoms verses the participants in the placebo group. Similar studies have concluded those who take probiotics daily can reduce respiratory infections by 32% to 50%. They can also reduce the length of respiratory and viral illness by two days or more.

Probiotics, or “good” bacteria, are live bacteria and yeasts that offer advantages to the digestive system and promote gut health.

Additional benefits of probiotics include an increase of the production of T-cells, reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.

"This outcome aligns with the known anti-inflammatory properties of probiotics," he told Fox News Digital.

Dr. Osborn stated COVID-19 provokes a “robust inflammatory response” that can affect the lungs, heart, brain and peripheral nervous system.

"The induced inflammation is a critical factor in the severity of the disease, which is precisely why the first effective treatment in the early days of the pandemic was corticosteroids, potent anti-inflammatory agents," he went on. "While probiotics offer a less robust anti-inflammatory effect, they still contribute to reducing inflammation.

"Despite the limited size of the study, it shared significant valuable information about the protective effects probiotics produce against COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.

The full version of this article was originally published in Fox News digital on January 4, 2023 and was authored by Melissa Rudy.