Probiotics may help fight off cold symptoms
- Published: 24/10/2012 at 01:34 PM
- Online news:
In a new small study announced Monday, probiotic supplements show promise for reducing symptoms of colds and upper-respiratory infections.
A team of researchers from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Health Related Professions in the US tested a group of 198 university students living in close quarters during a cold outbreak. In a double-blind study, subjects took either probiotic supplements or a placebo for 12 weeks while responding to survey questions daily.
New US research finds that supplementing with probiotics may help take the edge off a cold. ©wavebreakmedia ltd/shutterstock.com
While all of the students caught colds at roughly the same rate, the students who supplemented with probiotics had shorter colds by two days, symptoms that were 34 percent less severe, and fewer missed school days.
"Cold symptoms like a stuffy nose and sore throat are the body's inflammatory response toward a virus, not a direct action of the virus itself," says lead researcher Tracey J. Smith. "Probiotic microorganisms may soften your immune system's reaction by reducing your body's inflammatory response."
But before self-medicating with probiotics, the researchers urge you to talk with your doctor first to be sure if probiotics are right for you. Plus, not all probiotics are created equal, Smith says. The study supports the combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG [LGG] and Bifidobacterium animalis lactis BB12 [BB12], which can be found over the counter, but it's important to read the label carefully, she adds. "There also are some yogurts that contain LGG and/or BB12 but check the labels, since companies change the probiotics strains often."
The findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
A separate study published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 also supports probiotic supplementation to fight off colds. In the small study of 20 long-distance runners training outdoors during the winter, daily supplementation of the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum helped cut cold and upper respiratory illness rates.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency