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New Study Highlights Immune Boosting Potential of Probiotics

A new study conducted at Griffith University in Australia shows that taking a daily probiotic supplement may help males fight respiratory tract infections. The study was published in the April 2011 issue of the Nutrition Journal.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria found in your gut. Maintaining a healthy level of these good bacteria is essential for digestive health and immune system function.

For the study, the researchers recruited 64 male and 35 female competitive cyclists with an average age of 35. They were randomly assigned to receive a probiotic supplement or placebo every day for 11 weeks. All of the participants had respiratory tract infections at the start of the study.

The researchers chose to use athletes in their study because heavy exercise has been shown to reduce key immune system functions.

Male participants receiving the probiotic supplement reported a significant decrease in the symptoms of upper respiratory illness, including duration and severity. Specifically, they saw a 50% decrease in symptoms compared to those in the placebo group.

Female participants did not experience any benefits from the probiotic supplementation. The researchers plan to conduct further studies to investigate why only males responded positively to the supplementation.

Probiotics have also been shown to help aid in weight loss, improve digestion and reduce the risk of chronic disease. You can get more probiotics by eating certain foods such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut.

For many people, taking a high quality supplement is an easier approach. If you choose this option, be sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture which can easily kill probiotics.

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