The influence of prebiotic or probiotic supplementation on antibody titers after influenza vaccination: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Drug Des Devel Ther. 2018 Jan 25;12:217-230. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S155110. eCollection 2018.


Background: Influenza infection is a common disease with a huge disease burden. Influenza vaccination has been widely used, but concerns regarding vaccine efficacy exist, especially in the elderly. Probiotics are live microorganisms with immunomodulatory effects and may enhance the immune responses to influenza vaccination.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the influence of prebiotics/probiotics/synbiotics supplementation on vaccine responses to influenza vaccination. Studies were systematically identified from electronic databases up to July 2017. Information regarding study population, influenza vaccination, components of supplements, and immune responses were extracted and analyzed. Twelve studies, investigating a total of 688 participants, were included in this review.

Results: Patients with prebiotics/probiotics supplements were found to have higher influenza hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers after vaccination (for A/H1N1, 42.89 vs 35.76, mean difference =7.14, 95% CI =2.73, 11.55, P=0.002; for A/H3N2, 105.4 vs 88.25, mean difference =17.19, 95% CI =3.39, 30.99, P=0.01; for B strain, 34.87 vs 30.73, mean difference =4.17, 95% CI =0.37, 7.96, P=0.03).

Conclusion: Supplementation with prebiotics or probiotics may enhance the influenza hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers in all A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B strains (20%, 19.5%, and 13.6% increases, respectively). Concomitant prebiotics or probiotics supplementation with influenza vaccination may hold great promise for improving vaccine efficacy. However, high heterogeneity was observed and further studies are warranted.

Keywords: antibody titer; immune response; influenza; influenza vaccine; prebiotics; probiotics; synbiotics.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / immunology
  • Prebiotics*
  • Probiotics*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Prebiotics