Probiotics For Asthma Studies (Latest Research)

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, causing difficulty breathing, wheezing, and coughing.

In 2001, the CDC estimated that 11 Americans died per day from asthma and contributed to thousands of deaths per year that could have been prevented.

In this blog post I am going to look at the latest studies on Probiotic usage for Asthma to see what the experts say. Some of the latest research is from 2022 and potential links between gut-lung axis have been hypothesized.

Potential Links Between Microbiome & Asthma


Whilst there is growing evidence that the microbiome plays a role in the development of asthma, researchers have attempted to modulate the pulmonary immune response, prevent and treat asthma through improving the gut microbiome in adults without much success.

Some studies have found that probiotics, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium breve, assist with allergies and asthma but other studies have found that probiotics have no significant benefits in asthmatic children. Further research is needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of probiotics and fecal microbiota transplantation in preventing and treating asthma.

This study suggests that the microbiome of the lower airways may play a role in the development of asthma. The study found that the lower airway harbors diverse microbial communities but once again it was unclear what role if any this played in adult asthma.

This same study did however find a unique lower airway microbiome in those with chronic respiratory disease like asthma versus those with Asthma. Because of that, it was suggested that dysbiosis may contribute to the development of asthma, especially in those with steroid-resistant asthma.

Based on this hypothesis, the study said was interested in potential for therapies like Probiotic supplementation for targeting and correcting lower airway Dysbiosis to restore a "healthy" lung microbiome and potentially alleviate symptoms of asthma.

Dr. Sara Mesilhy told us that "Probiotics may rebalance immune response, repair dysbiosis and minimize airway inflammation. As a result, probiotics may improve asthma."

L. Acidophilus, B. Infantis & B. Bifidum With Prebiotics

A Serbian study from 2016 aimed to determine the optimal time efficiency of a synbiotic in controlling respiratory infections and wheezing disease in children under five years old. The synbiotic contained Lactobacillus Acidophilus Rosell-52, Bifidobacterium Infantis Rosell-33, and Bifidobacterium Bifidum Rosell-71.

The study found that after three months of supplementation with the synbiotic, the incidence of respiratory infections decreased and the state was maintained after six and nine months.

The decrease in respiratory infections was accompanied by a falling incidence of wheezing. The study also found that the synbiotic led to an increase in tIgA serum for three months and a decrease in total IgE serum for nine months. 

Overall, the research concluded that the optimal duration of the synbiotic for controlling respiratory infections was three months, and six months for controlling the frequency of wheezing with no adverse events reported.

L. Acidophilus, L. Rhamnosus & B. Animalis

In this study from March 2022, male mice were used to explore the role of probiotics and prebiotics in regulating acute airway inflammation and the TLR4/NF-kB pathway.

25 billion CFU of Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium Animalis Lactis BB-12 along with FOS and GOS prebiotic fiber was used. 

The mice were acclimatized to standard laboratory conditions for one week before the experiments began and the experiments were conducted in accordance with protocols approved by the Institutional Animal Ethical Committee ensuring the mice weren't hurt.

The conclusion was that Probiotic treatment was able to control airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophil infiltration, and mucus secretion, as well as reduce the levels of immunoglobulins and gene expression of TLR4 and CCL11. 

Prebiotic treatment was able to control peribronchial inflammation and PI3K gene expression and both treatments induced tolerance in allergic reactions and altered immune responses in allergic conditions. It's unclear if these results could also cross over into adult humans with asthma.

B. Lactis

The study from October 2021 found that co-administering a probiotic called Bifidobacterium lactis Probio-M8 with conventional therapy (Symbicort Turbuhaler) significantly decreased the fractional exhaled nitric oxide level at day 30 and improved the asthma control test score at the end of the intervention.

The level of alveolar nitric oxide concentration decreased significantly among the probiotic receivers at day 30 and the symptom relief effect was even more obvious at day 90. The probiotic was taken twice per day at 30 billion Colony Forming Units.

Bifidobacterium lactis M8 Probiotic isolated from human breast along with the Asthma medication increased the resilience of the gut microbiome, which was reflected by only minor fluctuations in the gut microbiome diversity.

Additionally, the probiotic receivers showed significantly changes in some species-level genome bins, namely, increases in potentially beneficial species and decreases in others.

The gut metabolic potential of probiotic receivers exhibited increased levels of predicted microbial bioactive metabolites and serum metabolites during/after intervention.

Overall, the results suggest that co-administering Probio-M8 with conventional therapy could alleviate but not treat or cure diseases associated with the gut-lung axis, like asthma.

Probiotics During Pregnancy May Prevent Asthma

This recent study 2022 from the University of Southampton, UK found that early administration of probiotics to pregnant women may reduce the likelihood of their children developing allergic conditions.

Six studies out of 850 were eligible for inclusion in the review, which searched Medline, CINAHL and Embase databases for randomised controlled trials comparing probiotic supplementation to a placebo.

Two studies found no effect of maternal probiotics on the outcomes measured, two found a reduction in eczema or atopic dermatitis, and one found no overall effect on atopic sensitization but a reduction in a subgroup of children at high risk of allergic disease.

However, the results were inconsistent and more research is needed to provide a more definitive answer. The analysis by immunologist RJ Joost Van Neerven, recommends that future research focus on at-risk groups.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, there is growing evidence that the microbiome of the gut plays a role in the development of asthma, whilst Some studies have found that probiotics may assist with allergies and asthma.

They key takeaway however is that further research is needed to confirm probiotic's efficacy and safety and until that happens, they should not be used as a treatment for asthma. It is however clear that most Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium probiotics can't make asthma worse.

One of the studies I analysed for this blog post seemed to suggest that the microbiome of the lower airways may play a role in the development of asthma but it's unclear if what role it plays in adults with asthma.

Probiotics and prebiotics however have been shown to regulate immune responses so in this sense there could be some benefits for asthma. Specifically though, more research is needed to determine what strains are best.

If you have Asthma always follow your treatment from your doctor and never use probiotic supplements as a replacement to any medication prescribed by your doctor. The content in this blog post is not medical advice and I am not a Doctor.

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