Chinese University of Hong Kong scientists create G-NiiB formula after research shows good gut bacteria can reduce the severity of COVID-19 and likelihood of long COVID and may enhance immune antibody response to COVID vaccinations.
HONG KONG, Feb. 15, 2022 — IMI – Integrated Medicine Institute, Asia’s largest natural health clinic, is pleased to announce the availability of G-NiiB Immunity Pro and G-NiiB Immunity Plus probiotic formulas designed to tackle gut bacterial imbalances (dysbiosis) – a widespread health issue linked to poor antibody response to COVID vaccinations[i], severity of COVID-19 symptoms[ii], and development of long COVID[iii], according to research by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
In a press release by CUHK, Professor Francis KL CHAN, Dean of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at CUHK remarked, “Gut dysbiosis is an important marker of impaired immunity. Our study findings showed 40% of Hong Kong people had evidence of significant dysbiosis comparable to that of COVID-19 patients, which is alarming to us. We should take immediate action to restore the balance in gut microbiota and hence to help the public boost immunity against the threats of emerging infections such as COVID-19.”[iv]
The G-NiiB oral microbiome immunity formulas were developed by the CUHK team after its world-first study highlighted a deficiency of certain good bacteria paired with an excess of bad bacteria in the guts of COVID-19 patients. The greater the gut bacteria imbalance (more than 100 trillion or so ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria collectively known as gut microbiota live in the gut), the more severe were the symptoms during and after infection.
A deficiency in good gut bacteria Bifidobacterium adolescentis has also been linked to poor efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines SinoVac and BioNTech, according to joint research by CUHK and the University of Hong Kong (HKU)[i]. Given 40% of local Hong Kongers have significant dysbiosis and 85% are either lacking or missing Bifidobacterium adolescentis[v], it’s become even more critical to restore the bacterial balance, researchers advise.
Made up of three probiotics and three prebiotics, G-NiiB Immunity Pro and G-NiiB Immunity Plus are dietary supplements designed to replenish carefully selected bacterial strains in the gut. Gut microbiota can help prime immunity and prevent the development of a chronic imbalance in immune reactions. Given its clinical strength G-NiiB Immunity Pro (10 billion CFU/sachet) is a prescription-only probiotic available upon consultation with one of the naturopaths. To schedule a consultation, called +852 2523 7121 or send us a message here.
G-NiiB Immunity Plus (2 billion CFU/sachet) is available at our in-clinic dispensary or online at https://shop.imi.com.hk. This formula is suitable for both adults and children.
For guidance on which supplement is right, please consult with one of the naturopaths. This is especially relevant for people who have digestive issues.
At a Glance: CUHK’s research findings
- An alarming 40% of the local population have medium to severe microbial imbalance in their gut, which also affects their immunity.
- Compared to people without COVID-19, patients had higher levels of unfavourable bacteria like Ruminococcus gnavus, Ruminococcus torques and Bateroides dorei species and lower levels of beneficial bacteria like Faecaibacterium prausnitzii, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium adolescentis. The severity of the imbalance closely correlated to the severity of disease in COVID-19 patients.
- Bacterial imbalances in the gut persist long after the virus has left the body and are associated with ‘Long COVID’*. 80% of recovered patients with dysbiosis suffer from at least one symptom six months on and a third suffer from more than three symptoms. These lingering symptoms include fatigue, memory loss, shortness of breath, hair loss, and sleep difficulties.
- People lacking gut bacteria Bifidobacterium adolescentis showed poor antibody response to COVID-19 vaccines. 57% of participants who took the Sinovac vaccine and had a poor antibody response lacked Bifidobacterium adolescentis. Among people who took the BioNTech shot, the 25 per cent with the lowest antibody level also lacked the bacteria.
- Bifidobacterium adolescentis is very low or missing altogether in 85% of otherwise healthy Hong Kong people.
How to increase beneficial gut bacteria Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Faecaibacterium prausnitzi and support a healthy, balanced gut microbiota
G-NiiB Immunity Pro and G-NiiB Immunity Plus contain Bifidobacterium adolescentis to restore gut microbiota, and boost immunity. CUHK’s researchers propose this may support COVID vaccine efficacy, for example when taken after booster shots[i][vi].
Of course, a healthy diet is essential too. High polyphenol foods like blueberries and green tea are known to increase levels of Bifidobacteria while a high fibre diet that includes oats, wild rice, and most vegetables increases Faecaibacterium prausnitzi.
Certain prebiotics can feed both Faecaibacterium and Bifidobacterium. To avoid harming these and other good bacteria, it helps to avoid the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
If anyone is wondering if they have or are susceptible to gut dysbiosis, IMI offers gut microbiome profiling. The GI Map can determine both the Bifidobacterial and Faecaibacterium prausnitzii levels, as well as other key beneficial bacteria essential for a healthy gut microbiota. Connect with the naturopathic team for a consultation, to learn more about testing, and for personalised support, data-backed advice on which formula is best.
For more information and to schedule consultation, call our reception at 2523 7121 or send us a message here.
*On other preconditions increasing the risk of “long COVID” see:
Yuan et al, Multiple Early Factors Anticipate Post-Acute COVID-19 Sequelae, Cell (2022) DOI10.1016/j.cell.2022.01.014
In addition to the gut dysbiosis mentioned above, this study found predisposition to long COVID included Diabetes Type 2 and Epstein Barr Virus (Glandular Fever or “Mono”) and auto-antibodies.
[ii] Zuo T, Zhang F, Lui GCY, et al. Alterations in Gut Microbiota of Patients With COVID-19 During Time of Hospitalization. Gastroenterology 2020; 159(3): 944-55.e8