February 2, 2023

New study demonstrates the effects of probiotic supplementation in patients with asthma

Asthma has become more prevalent over the past several decades. Many patients have managed their asthma with medication and avoiding environmental triggers.

According to a new study published last week in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, researchers investigated the improvement of clinical asthma symptoms in patients with asthma taking probiotic supplementation.

This study was a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial including 40 patients with asthma with a mean age of thirty-eight. Each patient was given probiotic supplementation or placebo for 8 weeks. The supplementation given was a 24 billion CFU multi-species probiotic consisting of L. acidophulus, L. rhamnosus, L. bulgaricus, B. breve, B. longum, and S. thermophilus. Assessments included pulmonary function tests, IL-4 and IFN-γ levels, and expression of microRNAs. These were obtained at baseline and after treatment.

The results demonstrated that the expression of miR-16, miR146-a and IL-4 levels after probiotic supplementation was significantly reduced and miR-133b expression was increased. In addition, the pulmonary function tests demonstrated a significant improvement in Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 s and Forced Vital Capacity after receiving probiotics.

As a result, probiotic supplementation for 8 weeks led to a reduction in Th2 cells-associated IL-4 and improved Forced Expiratory Volume and Forced Vital Capacity. Probiotics should be considered as an adjunct to traditional asthma treatment.

Probiotics exert their effects in a few different ways. They can affect the immune system providing metabolites, cell wall components and DNA. Also, probiotics can systematically affect the function of immune cells by producing short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and modulate inflammatory responses.

This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial included 160 children ranging from 6 to 18 years of age with asthma. Each child received either a supplement of Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus fermentum, a combination of the two, or a placebo for 3 months.

Previous research has also shown a benefit of Lactobacillus probiotics in children with asthma. Compared with the placebo group, the children receiving Lactobacillus containing probiotics all had lower asthma severity and higher C-ACT scores. In addition, the group that received both Lactobacillus strains demonstrated increased peak expiratory flow rates and lower IgE levels.

Other nutrients to consider to relax the airways and provide anti-inflammatory properties include magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and fish oil.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Sadrifar S, Abbasi-Dokht T, et al. Immunomodulatory effects of probiotic supplementation in patients with asthma: a randomized, double‑blind, placebo‑controlled trial. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2023 Jan 2;19(1):1.