ADM collaborates in a trial to test the effects of probiotic supplements in patients with COVID-19


The three live probiotic strains of ADM administered in a dietary supplement have been shown in previous preclinical studies to exert anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune system-supporting effects.

ADM and Sagunto Hospital, one of the leading hospitals in the Valencia Region, are conducting a clinical trial on the effects of using a nutritional supplement containing live microbial strains to promote the balance of intestinal microbiomes and help improve the health of patients with COVID-19 in high-risk groups.

On March 18, Xavier Cortés, a gastroenterologist at Sagunto Hospital, contacted medical professionals in China who had observed that patients with COVID-19 had shown abnormal changes in their intestinal microbiome. Reports indicated that a significant percentage of those infected were experiencing gastrointestinal problems in the early stages of the disease, a trend very similar to that he was observing in Spain. This trend is particularly prevalent in elderly patients, "who tend to have lower levels of beneficial bifidobacteria in their intestinal microbiome," explains Cortés.

Following this evaluation, Xavier Cortés decided to conduct an intervention trial to assess the effects of administering standard medication to elderly patients with COVID-19, along with a supplement with live microbial strains to enhance intestinal health as well as immune function. Therefore, Cortés asked ADM for advice on which probiotic strains would potentially be most suitable for use during the trial and invited its team of experts to collaborate with Sagunto Hospital in designing the research.

Gasteel Plus, a nutritional supplement containing live probiotics and marketed by Laboratorios Heel España, S.A.U. and formulated using probiotic strains of ADM, as well as essential nutrients such as vitamin D, selenium and zinc, was selected for this intervention. The product has been administered to patients with symptoms of COVID-19, as well as to hospital health staff in high-risk groups (over 60 years of age or with chronic diseases), to strengthen their intestinal microbiome. The three probiotic strains of ADM contained in Gasteel Plus (Bifidobacterium longum CECT7347, Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CECT9950 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus CNCM-I4036) "have been shown in preclinical trials to exert anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune system-supporting effects," assures Daniel Ramon, Vice President of R&D for ADM's Health & Wellness.

"Thanks to the joint efforts of the three teams at Sagunto Hospital, Heel Laboratories and ADM Biopolis, we were able to begin the trial in late March and are discovering innovative solutions to health and wellness concerns," said Francisco Climent, Managing Director of ADM Health & Wellness in EMEAI.

One hundred patients

"More than 75 patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 have already been enrolled in the trial, and regular samples of blood, faeces, urine and nasopharyngeal exudate are being taken to measure changes in immune parameters and other factors such as viral load," explains Xavier Cortés. "Using these indicators, we will evaluate the effectiveness of Gasteel Plus as a complementary solution to support the health of the elderly population, which is especially vulnerable to this viral infection".

In this regard, Climent added that "in the coming weeks we will intend to extend the scope of this study to 100 patients and, at the same time, explore the possible beneficial effects of additional ingredients such as extracts, oils and botanical fibers in separate pre-clinical studies. Through this research, we hope to be able to create more unique solutions from our health and wellness ingredients that can help support those for whom COVID-19 poses the greatest threat".

A leader in probiotic solutions

ADM is a leader in the development of probiotic solutions and its products have been recognized with multiple awards, most recently at the NutraIngredients Awards 2020. ADM's product Bio-Kult Migréa® won the Probiotic Product of the Year award for its role in managing migraines and its ingredient Bifidobacterium lactis BPL1 won Ingredient of the Year: Weight Management for the weight management category. A third recognition, the Editor's Award for Functional Food Innovation, went to Bacillus subtilis PXN®21®, a live bacterial strain that has been shown to reduce the aggregation of α-synuclein, the protein that causes Parkinson's disease.