Probiotics Help Prevent and Ease Common Cold
Colds are miserable and yet conventional medicine has no cure or preventative medicine. Contrasting this, multiple studies have found that probiotic supplementation does more than just help digestion and intestinal issues. Recent research now finds that probiotic supplementation reduces incidence and duration of the common cold among schoolchildren.
Children studied for three months
Researchers from Thailand’s Srinakharinwirot University Department of Pediatrics have conducted a three-month study of 80 children between eight and 13 years old. The students were randomized and given either a placebo or a supplement consisting of two strains of probiotics – Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum for three months, during the height of the cold and flu season.
The children were given the probiotic supplement or the placebo twice a day for 90 days.
During the three month period, 39 children in the placebo group contracted a cold – recognized by at least one cold symptom – equivalent to 95% of the children. However, only 31 children of the probiotic supplement group contracted a cold during the same period – 77% of the children. In addition, the probiotic group had less severity of symptoms of their colds, and had less school absence, less coughing, and lower fevers than the placebo group.
The researchers concluded:
“A two-strain probiotic combination given twice a day for 3 months was able to reduce the symptoms of the common cold and school absenteeism in schoolchildren.”
Other studies confirm probiotics fight the cold
Other studies have resulted in similar findings. In fact, a new review of research from South Korea’s Hallym University College of Medicine analyzed ten different double-blind placebo-controlled studies that included 2,894 human subjects involving probiotic supplementation and the common cold. The meta-data analysis found that probiotic supplementation of three months or less resulted in an average reduction of the common cold by 19%.
Of course this kind of large-scale review blends the effects of studies that used more and less active strains of probiotics, at different dosages and live culture levels. And multiple studies over the past few decades have illustrated that different probiotic strains have different effects.
The new Thailand study, using Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, illustrated a significantly higher reduction level and was not included in the review.
Rerksuppaphol S, Rerksuppaphol L. Randomized controlled trial of probiotics to reduce common cold in schoolchildren. Pediatr Int. 2012 Oct;54(5):682-7.
Kang EJ, Kim SY, Hwang IH, Ji YJ. The effect of probiotics on prevention of common cold: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trial studies. Korean J Fam Med. 2013 Jan;34(1):2-10.
Homayouni Rad A, Torab R, Mortazavian AM, Mehrabany EV, Mehrabany LV. Can probiotics prevent or improve common cold and influenza? Nutrition. 2013 Jan 7.
del Giudice MM, Leonardi S, Ciprandi G, Galdo F, Gubitosi A, La Rosa M, Salpietro C, Marseglia G, Perrone L. Probiotics in childhood: allergic illness and respiratory infections. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct;46 Suppl:S69-72.
Fashner J, Ericson K, Werner S. Treatment of the common cold in children and adults. Am Fam Physician. 2012 Jul 15;86(2):153-9.
Adams C. Probiotics – Protection Against Infection: Using Nature’s Tiny Warriors To Stem Infection and Fight Disease. Logical Books, 2009.