• The influence of a blend of probiotic lactobacillus and prebiotic inulin on the duration and severity of symptoms among individuals with COVID-19

      Thomas, Robert; Aldous, Jeffrey William Frederick; Forsyth, Rachel; Chater, Angel M.; Williams, Madeleine; ; Bedford & Addenbrooke’s Cambridge University NHS Trusts; University of Bedfordshire; Cambridge University; Bedford Hospital (Gavin Publishers, 2021-11-16)
      Background: Gut microfloral dysbiosis is known to affect the majority individuals suffering with a Covid-19 infection. This study evaluated whether a specific lactobacillus and inulin blend, which aimed to improve gut health, could reduce the severity of early and chronic Covid-19 symptoms. Methods: From May 2020 to May 2021, we evaluated 126 participants with Covid-19, with an average duration of symptoms of 108 days, who were given 30 days of this pre and probiotic capsule within the ongoing UK national Phyto-v study. Symptoms were recorded using the validated Cough Symptom Score, the Subjective Well-Being questionnaire and the Chandler fatigue questionnaire. The group was analysed as a whole and then subdivided into 40 (32%) in an early phase of infection (average symptoms 10 days before baseline) and the 86 (68%) in a chronic phase (average symptoms 120 days before trial baseline). Results: Cough, fatigue and subjective well-being scores significantly improved over the 30 days in both the early and chronic phase cohorts. Participants who were more likely to have gut dysbiosis at trial entry, such as sedentary, hospitalised, older males with GI symptoms, had a statistically significantly better response to the probiotics. Gut symptoms improved in 25 of 31 (82%) who reported them at baseline. Two (1.5%) patients reported mild increased bloating and diarrhoea. Discussion: Following this nutritional intervention, participants had a significant improvement in GI and non-GI symptoms resulting in a meaningful improvement in overall well-being. Although some participants with early disease would have improved spontaneously, such a rapid improvement in the majority who had been experiencing symptoms for over 6 months, was clinically relevant and welcomed, especially among those more likely to have pre-existing gut dysbiosis. Going forward, our research group are now evaluating whether intake of this blend now known as yourgutplus+, could also enhance antibody titres levels post Covid vaccination.
    • A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating concentrated phytochemical-rich nutritional capsule in addition to a probiotic capsule on clinical outcomes among individuals with COVID-19— the UK Phyto-V Study

      Thomas, Robert; Williams, Madeleine; Aldous, Jeffrey William Frederick; Yanagisawa, Yuuki; Kumar, Rajeev; Forsyth, Rachel; Chater, Angel M.; ; Bedfordshire Hospital NHS Trusts; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (MDPI, 2022-03-22)
      Gut microflora dysbiosis affects the majority of individuals after COVID-19, contributing to both gastro-intestinal (GI) and non-GI symptoms. Natural phytochemicals have reported anti-viral properties and favourable effects on inflammatory and oxidative pathways, both important for tissue damage post-viral pneumonia. This study involved 147 participants with symptomatic COVID-19, randomised to receive a placebo (P) or a phytochemical-rich concentrated food capsule (PC) in addition to a pre/probiotic lactobacillus capsule. Participants taking the PC had an almost two-fold reduction in mean fatigue scores compared to P [p = 0.02], a three-fold reduction in cough score and more than a double improvement in overall well-being scores [p = 0.02]. Two (1.5%) participants reported mild, increased bloating which they felt was attributable to the capsules, although GI symptoms improved in 25 of 31 participants (82%) who reported them at baseline. Sedentary, older, previously hospitalised men with GI symptoms had a statistically significantly improvement among those given the probiotic. Although some participants with early disease would have improved spontaneously, such a rapid improvement observed in the majority of participants, who had been suffering for an average of 108 days, was clinically relevant and welcomed, especially among those more likely to have pre-existing gut dysbiosis. We are now evaluating whether this blend could also enhance antibody titres post-COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Replacing sugary snacks with fruit, nuts and seeds at nurses’ stations within a UK oncology unit: a pilot intervention study

      Thomas, Robert; Williams, Madeleine; Smit, Graham; Chater, Angel M.; Bedford Hospital NHS Trust; University of Bedfordshire (2021-02-02)
      Aim - This real-world service intervention study evaluated NHS staff weight and subjective happiness over a three-month period, by replacing processed, sugary foodstuffs with fruit, nuts and seeds. Method - Forty four staff at the Primrose Oncology Unit, Bedford Hospital, volunteered to abstain from cakes, biscuits, sweets, sugary drinks and chocolates whilst at work between June 2019 and September 2019. Participants’ weight and subjective happiness scores were recorded at baseline, three months (completion) and five months (post-completion). Fresh and dried fruit, and bags of raw nuts and seeds were made available to all staff (including those not participating). Participants resumed their usual diet outside of working hours. One hundred consecutive patients attending the department during the intervention were asked whether removing sugary food from public view was a positive move and whether it would have a likely influence on their future eating habits. Results - At five months, twenty (46%) participants lost weight >1kg (average 3.01 kg), seven participants gained >1kg (average 2.23 kg), and 17 remained the same weight (T-test p< 0.03). Average happiness score increased from 21.65 to 23.44 (+6.6%), T-test p< 0.04). Amongst those who lost >1kg weight, average happiness score increased from 21.54 to 23.75 (+9.3%), p<0.03. In those who gained >1 kg weight, average happiness score decreased from 22.28 to 21.43 (-3.8%), p< 0.08. There was a 13.1% difference in the happiness score in those loosing >1kg compared to those gaining >1kg in weight p< 0.001). 94 (94%) patients indicated that this initiative gave a good impression and ninety seven (97%) indicated that the initiative would encourage them to reduce sugar in their own diet. Conclusion - The results demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in weight loss and increase in mood in just under half of the participants. Whilst this level of weight loss was similar to the best designed weight loss programmes, a larger study is required to validate these results.