Vaccine Plus Probiotic, Prebiotic Use May Offer Stronger Flu Protection

These results suggest that the use of prebiotics and probiotics may improve the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines in adults.
These results suggest that the use of prebiotics and probiotics may improve the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines in adults.

This article is part of MPR's coverage of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, taking place in Orlando, Florida. Our staff will report on medical research related to asthma and other respiratory conditions, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from AAAAI/WAO 2018.


A recent meta-analysis found that patients who received the flu vaccine and also took probiotics or prebiotics may be better protected against several strains of the influenza virus. This combination increased both seroconversion and seroprotection rates, especially in older adults receiving treatment for longer durations.

The research was presented at the 2018 joint congress of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the World Allergy Organization, held March 2-5, 2018, in Orlando, Florida.

The meta-analysis summarized evidence from 9 randomized controlled trials including 623 patients. Cochrane Review risk-of-bias randomized clinical trial assessment tools were used to assess trial quality prior to inclusion of any study.

Patients who took probiotics or prebiotics had significant improvements in H1N1 seroprotection rates (odds ratio [OR], 1.83; 95% CI: 1.19-2.82, P=.006), H3N2 seroprotection rates (OR, 2.85; 95% CI: 1.59-5.10, P<.001), and influenza B strain seroconversion rates (OR, 2.11; 95% CI 1.38-3.21, P<.001).

Probiotic use was associated with improved H3N2 seroconversion rates in subgroup analysis by intervention type (OR, 3.52; 95% CI: 1.45-8.53, P=005). Duration of probiotic/prebiotic use was positively correlated with influenza B and H1N1 seroconversion rates after meta-regression analyses.

Further subgroup analysis also found that healthy older adults taking probiotics or prebiotics had improved responses to all flu strains when compared with healthy younger adults and unhealthy older adults.

These results suggest that the use of prebiotics and probiotics may improve the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines in adults.

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Reference

Lei WT. Effect of probiotics and prebiotics on immune response to influenza vaccination in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Poster presentation at: 2018 AAAAI/WAO Joint Congress; March 2-5, 2018; Orlando, FL. Abstract 382.