Asthma A study into a prebiotic that aims to reduce the severity of exercise-induced asthma has posted positive results, its producers have said.

The suppliers of Bimuno (B-GOS), Clasado Biosciences Ltd, said the human study, carried out by Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology, demonstrated a significant 40% reduction in the severity of exercise-induced asthma following consumption of B-GOS. 

This is the first human study to demonstrate the potential for a prebiotic to be used as an adjunct therapy in exercise induced asthma, and airway inflammation.

The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, noted that the prebiotic posted a “substantial” reduction in airway narrowing and inflammation in adults with exercise induced asthma following intake of B-GOS for 3 weeks.  

Graham Waters, CEO of Clasado, said: “The finding that B-GOS can reduce exercise induced bronchoconstriction will be of great interest to clinicians and asthma sufferers alike. Although this is early stage work, it raises the prospect that our unique carbohydrate complex could be used as an adjunct to existing asthma therapy. This could potentially benefit millions of sufferers.

“This new study adds to Clasado’s growing portfolio of clinical and pre-clinical research demonstrating efficacy across a wide variety of different health conditions from metabolic syndrome to anxiety.”

The clinical study is the latest in a 12-year on-going research programme of pre-clinical and clinical trials being undertaken by Clasado in collaboration with a range of internationally recognised research institutes. These studies have demonstrated efficacy in a diverse range of health areas including metabolic syndrome immune function, irritable bowel syndrome, stress management and pathogen protection.

Dr Neil Williams, a lecturer in exercise physiology and nutrition at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology, said: “Our study shows that B-GOS could be used as a potential additional therapy for exercise-induced asthma. 

“We are only just starting to understand the role the gut microbiome plays in health and disease – and it is becoming increasingly recognised that microbes living in the gut can have a substantial influence on immune function and allergies which is likely to be important in airway disease.

“B-GOS significantly increases the growth and activity of good gut bacteria. This in turn may reduce the inflammatory response of the airways in asthma patients to exercise. Importantly, the level of improvement in lung function that appears after administration of B-GOS is perceivable by the patient and therefore potentially clinically relevant.”

More than 5 million people have asthma in the UK, and exercise-induced asthma can affect up to 90% of asthma patients. The Global Asthma Network Steering Group estimates from studies in The Global Asthma Report 2014 that the economic cost of asthma to society was $56 billion in the US in 2007 and €19.3 billion in Europe in 2011. Indirect costs of asthma, especially the negative impact on productivity, are at least as large as the direct costs.