Articles, Blog

Flu Vaccine is More Effective with Probiotics

November 18, 2019

Hi, this is Dr. Ruscio. And let’s discuss if probiotics can actually
help make vaccines, specifically the flu vaccine, work more effectively. And I’d like to answer an audience question. I’m going to use my super high-tech method
here of playing her question. “Hi, Dr. Ruscio. My name is Kelly. I listen to your podcast all the time. Thank you so much for making sure that they’re
understandable by the layperson, such as myself. I am in the process of healing my leaky gut,
and I am curious to know your thoughts on the flu shot and how that impacts gut health
and your thoughts on if it’s worth getting the flu shot or not. I have read a lot of research, both positive
and negative, in terms of getting the flu shot. And I was just curious about your opinion. Thank you so much.” Ok. So great question by Kelly, and certainly
at this time of year an understandable question. Now, in adults, in immunocompetent adults,
I’m not highly concerned about the flu vaccine in either direction. The benefit seems to be minimal, but the risk
also seems to be minimal. So what I tell my patients is I’m not highly
concerned about this one way or the other. Now, in higher risk populations like children
and those who are elderly, it’s a different conversation. But in immunocompetent or adults with normal
immune systems, there does seem to be some benefit. But that benefit seems to be minimal. It does not mean that benefit is necessarily
nonexistent, but it does appear to be minimal at least to the best of my knowledge. But the risk also seems to be minimal because
in an immunocompetent and well-formed adult, there’s not the same potential risks that
there may be in other populations. Now, I should also mention that I have not
performed a comprehensive review of the literature here. So that recommendation I’m making or that
comment I’m making may be shown to be not the most accurate or the most reflective of
what the evidence shows. But I think it’s a pretty reasonable recommendation
that it doesn’t seem to make a huge difference detrimental or beneficial, one way or the
other, in immunocompetent adults. So I wouldn’t be too worried about it. However, there is some interesting information
that may be able to help you mitigate any potential damage to your gut that you’re
describing, your leaky gut. And that may be with probiotics. And the probiotics may actually be able to
help not only with helping to keep your gut healthy but also to enhance the effectiveness
of the vaccination. And I’d like to share with you a study. The study is entitled “The Influence of
Probiotics on Vaccine Response: A Systematic Review.” Now, remember, a systematic review reviews
all the literature. So in a sense, this is a semi-comprehensive
review of the literature on the relationship between probiotics and vaccines as a general
class. So to quote, “We found 26 studies involving
3812 patients, investigating the effects of 40 different probiotics and response to 17
different vaccines.” So a pretty good review. A beneficial effect of probiotics was reported
in about half of these studies. So again, not bad. And the strongest evidence was actually found
for the influenza vaccination and also for other vaccinations that were administered
orally. And they conclude, “The studies in our review
suggest that probiotics offer a relatively cheap intervention to improve vaccine efficacy
and duration of protection.” So that’s pretty interesting information. We see that probiotics may help vaccines to
work more effectively, and the duration of the response may be prolonged from using probiotics. And they may also help any negative gut consequences
that may be secondary to the flu vaccine. There was another paper—I couldn’t find
it—that I recently read that also showed that probiotics, when co-administered along
with vaccines, may help to reduce any negative side effects. And I’ve searched for. I couldn’t pick that one out. But essentially, if you’re going to use
a vaccine as an adult that doesn’t have any other frank immune issues, then I don’t
think you’re going to garner a huge benefit. But I also don’t think there’s going to
be much in the way of detriment. So you can really go either way. And if you have your general practitioner
or someone who’s leaning on you to get one, again, it’s not a huge deal in my opinion
either way. Using a probiotic may help protect the gut,
not that I think there’s a lot negative that’s going to occur in the gut anyway
from a vaccine. But it may help protect from any potential
negative gut side effects. And may actually help the vaccine work more
effectively. So just a few of the thoughts for you there,
Kelly, and a few thoughts on the relationship between vaccines and probiotics at large and
gut health. And hopefully, this information helps you
get healthy and get back to your life.


  • Reply David Simons February 16, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Why would I want to take the flu vaccine when it has tons of mercury in it?!!? Not trying to be rude, mean, or nasty. Just trying to say that I have a LOT of concerns about taking this flu vaccine. My question might have sounded rude, but that's definitely not how I intend for it to sound. Love your videos!!! And, thanks!!!

  • Reply I AM Khauel April 20, 2019 at 6:53 am

    Yeah naa its a no for vaccines aye!

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