I've never gotten COVID... and I take a daily probiotic. Is there a connection? (opinion piece)

JoAnn Ryan

A few years ago, a wise nurse practitioner suggested I start taking a daily probiotic. I'd been having reoccurring trouble with pesky things like strep throat, yeast infections and styes in my eyes.

I didn't want to keep taking antibiotics for these conditions. While the antibiotics seemed to help in the short term, overtime they just tended to stop working. By then, I'd also read a lot of research reporting the adverse effects of taking too many antibiotics, and thus it didn't seem like too good of a thing to keep it up.

Photo byMaximeonUnsplash

Prior to this, I'd found that an all-natural treatment I'd heard of seemed to help when I tried it myself. It consisted of eating a crude paste of raw crushed garlic, honey and ground cayenne pepper (the latter helps to numb pain). It worked wonders, really, but it was acutely unpleasant.

I love adding fresh garlic to my food, but just eating it straight, along with the cayenne, was just plain nasty.

Plus, it gave me the sweats. I didn't want to keep that up either, and when I told my wise nurse practitioner about my garlic treatment, she just stuck out her tongue a bit and said: Yucky!

Will taking probiotics really help? I asked her.

I'm a born skeptic... always have been... yes, that's a bit of a bad joke.

I take one every day, she said, I swear by it.

But which one do I take?

She suggested I try Florajen for women. While it's not kept on shelves due to needing constant refrigeration, it's readily available upon request from most major pharmacies.

So, I started to take it. Every day. Just to give it a go.

The result?

Let's just cut to the chase here and say I never had to worry about the above-named afflictions ever again. It also helped with my sensitive teeth and gums.

As a traveler, I visit the Caribbean a lot, and while Florajen doesn't always seem available in the places I go, I did find a suitable comparison to take: the Primadophilus pictured below.

ProbioticsPhoto byJoAnn Ryan

It's also kept refrigerated. Thus, a simple visit to the pharmacy counter is required for purchase.

Keep in mind this has nothing to do with affiliate links or anything like that. I don't make any money from these companies and am in no way connected to their business... other than taking their products and being a happy consumer.

Also, in reference to the afore mentioned wise nurse practitioner, who certainly deserves all the credit, her name is Susan Kaeser in Orlando, FL. She has since retired from practice. Sad, as she was a wealth of smart advice.

No COVID ever... is boss!

Fast forward a few years and I've managed to live through the entire pandemic without getting COVID thus far. Throughout most of this time, I've worked with the public at large in some way. Never did I have the privilege of being able to hide away at home in those early days.

After losing my beloved pre-COVID job, I was forced to take grunt work for a while. Hey, I'm not above it. I survived, although I did mask up.

In 2021 and 2022, as I'd previously mentioned, I did however have the privilege of traveling outside of the U.S. to the Caribbean and Central America due to a run of good fortune, but I still never got COVID.

Important to note, I did get my COVID vaccine. The two original recommended doses I got as soon as they became available in 2021, as well as one booster shot about a year ago now.

Currently, as we sit upon the cusp of 2023, I'm hearing various reports from friends and even from my own brother that they have come down with COVID, just in the last few months. My brother's bout with it proved particularly nasty.

In his own words: "relentless fever, chills, coughing, and breathlessness."

I know we are probably all saying the same thing:

Will this sh*t ever end?

Many of these friends have chosen not to get the vaccine though and none, when I've asked, have reported taking a daily probiotic.

What does science say about COVID and probiotics?

Now, I know just as well as anyone else that one person's experience is just that... one person's experience. This has merely been me reporting my experience while hastily mentioning those around me, and just because it's worked for me doesn't necessarily mean it will work for others.

But, what does the science seem to say? From what I've gathered, there is indeed quite a bit of research pointing to the efficacy of taking probiotics to assist in staving off COVID.

In an article written by Dr. Liji Thomas, MD and published in News Medical, "Probiotics may be beneficial in COVID-19 treatment", the author points to a study that seems to indicate the effectiveness of taking probiotics to fight against the symptoms of COVID:

Strengthening host immunity is among the most effective ways to reduce the severity of COVID-19. Probiotics appear to offer a useful and plausible way to accomplish this."

In another article published in Healthline, authored by Gabrielle Kassel and medically reviewed by Adam Bernstein, MD, ScD, the benefits to taking probiotics was also highlighted:

Probiotic supplementation can support overall gut health, which can then support immune health. As such, probiotic supplements can be used as one part of an immune-boosting protocol to help reduce the likelihood of infection. They may also reduce the incidence of some COVID-19 symptoms."

No one is saying probiotics alone can prevent someone from getting COVID. Taking probiotics, getting vaccinated, following a healthy diet and doing whatever else can be done to keep from getting COVID can and should be done.

I for one have become a believer, but what about you? Have you had success in beating COVID? Do you take a daily probiotic?

Warning: Author is a non-medical professional. This article should not be taken as medical advice but rather used for informational purposes only.

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