How Probiotics Can Help Manage Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can often result in death or disability, especially in young adults. People with severe TBI have a 60% chance of dying. Managing severe TBI can be complicated because of its severe symptoms and poor prognosis.

What are the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Several problems may also result after a TBI, like abnormal cellular metabolism, hormonal changes, and defective immune system. These conditions may further lead to very severe inflammation as indicated by extremely high levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, endothelin (ET)-1, and C-reactive protein (CRP), which may, in turn, result in secondary injuries.

How can Probiotics help with Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms?

Although studies have shown that nutritional support can help with these complications, many doctors often neglect its importance in managing severe TBI.

Probiotics may regulate immune functions, further improve intestinal barrier functions and reduce the growth of potentially disease-causing microorganisms. However, we still don’t know if probiotics can influence CRP and ET-1 in patients with severe TBI.

In this study, we looked at how probiotics combined with early enteral nutrition (or tube feeding) might affect levels of CRP, ET-1, and other inflammatory factors in people with severe TBI. Our findings could help us better appreciate the role of probiotics in TBI and provide evidence that probiotics may help treat patients with severe TBI.

The Study Method on Probiotics for Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

76 severe TBI patients were divided randomly and equally into two groups: one group given both probiotics and enteral nutrition, and one group given enteral nutrition only, within 48 hours after hospital admission. General treatment for severe TBI was the same for both groups.

The administration of enteral nutrition was initially at about 400 to 500 mL on the first day, then increasing by 400 mL every day to a total of 1,600 to 2,000 mL at the rate of 25 mL/hour, and increased to 80 to 100 mL/hour after 3 to 5 days. Probiotic treatment was in tablet form (210 mg/per tablet) that combines Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Enterococcus faecalis. Patients were given six tablets twice a day either by gastric tube injection or by oral administration if possible. Both treatments were continued for 15 days.

Blood samples were collected at admission (0 days) and 1, 3, 5, 7, and 15 days after admission.

The Results

Serum levels of all the inflammatory factors gradually decreased with increasing treatment time in both groups. However, the decreases in ET-1 at 15 days and IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α, and CRP at 7 and 15 days were more significant in the combined group. Hospitalization duration and pulmonary infection rates were also significantly reduced in the combined compared with the other group. These results indicated that probiotics combined with early enteral nutrition helped reduce serum levels of ET-1, CRP, and other inflammatory factors in patients with severe TBI.

The Conclusion

Probiotics combined with early enteral nutrition could reduce serum levels of ET-1, CRP, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α and could thus improve the recovery of patients with severe TBI.


Effects of Probiotics Combined with Early Enteral Nutrition on Endothelin-1 and C-reactive Protein Levels and Prognosis in Patients with Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

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