Effects of Gut Microbiome Modulation on Reducing Adverse Health Outcomes among Elderly and Diabetes Patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial (IMPACT Study)

Nutrients. 2023 Apr 20;15(8):1982. doi: 10.3390/nu15081982.


Gut microbiota is believed to be a major determinant of health outcomes. We hypothesised that a novel oral microbiome formula (SIM01) can reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes in at-risk subjects during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In this single-centre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, we recruited subjects aged ≥65 years or with type two diabetes mellitus. Eligible subjects were randomised in a 1:1 ratio to receive three months of SIM01 or placebo (vitamin C) within one week of the first COVID-19 vaccine dose. Both the researchers and participants were blinded to the groups allocated. The rate of adverse health outcomes was significantly lower in the SIM01 group than the placebo at one month (6 [2.9%] vs. 25 [12.6], p < 0.001) and three months (0 vs. 5 [3.1%], p = 0.025). At three months, more subjects who received SIM01 than the placebo reported better sleep quality (53 [41.4%] vs. 22 [19.3%], p < 0.001), improved skin condition (18 [14.1%] vs. 8 [7.0%], p = 0.043), and better mood (27 [21.2%] vs. 13 [11.4%], p = 0.043). Subjects who received SIM01 showed a significant increase in beneficial Bifidobacteria and butyrate-producing bacteria in faecal samples and strengthened the microbial ecology network. SIM01 reduced adverse health outcomes and restored gut dysbiosis in elderly and diabetes patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: adverse health outcomes; gut dysbiosis; gut microbiota; microbiome immunity formula; quality of life; vulnerable populations.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19*
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pandemics / prevention & control


  • COVID-19 Vaccines