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Probiotic Combo Shown to Reduce Cold and Flu by Over 50%

Probiotics have been touted for their many health benefits, most notably in regards to digestive and immune system health. Now, new findings show that these "good bacteria" may also help children stave off flu symptoms.

That was the conclusion of a double-blind placebo controlled study published in the August 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

For the study, researchers from Tongji University in Shanghai and the University of Texas at Houston recruited 326 children between the ages of 3 and 5 from a childcare center in China.

The children were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group received the probiotic strain L acidophilus NCFM, one received a combination of the L acidophilus NCFM and B lactis Bi-07 strains and the final group received a placebo.

Although reductions in flu symptoms were observed among the group that took only one strain of probiotics, the most dramatic results were seen among the group that took both strains.

That group saw a 73% reduction in the occurrence of fevers compared to the placebo group, a 59% reduction of runny noses and a 62% drop in the incidence of coughing.

The group that only received the L acidophilus NCFM saw fever incidence reduced by 53%, a 28% reduction in runny nose occurrences and the incidence of coughing fell by 41%.

The researchers note that this study was not designed to determine the mechanisms behind the findings, but that it is reasonable to assume the ability of probiotics to boost our immune system played a large role.

If you want to boost probiotic levels in your body, try consuming more foods like yogurt and cultured milk products. If this is not feasible, you can incorporate a quality probiotic supplement into your diet. Make sure the supplement contains several probiotic strains and is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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