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Probiotic Drink May Lower Incidence of Common Cold, Flu

While there is no cure for the common cold, there may be ways to protect against it, and shorten its duration when it happens. A recent study suggests that taking a probiotic drink may reduce the frequency of flu-like symptoms and the common cold.


Participants in the study included 134 people who had the common cold or a flu-like respiratory illness at least four times in the previous year. Half of the group was given 150 ml of a probiotic drink containing the probiotics Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus casei 431, and Lactobacillus fermentum PCC. The other half was given a 150 ml placebo. They were instructed to consume their drinks after lunch every day for 12 weeks.


The researchers took blood and fecal samples at the onset and conclusion of the study. They also used a daily questionnaire to track compliance and to measure participant health and wellness.


At the conclusion of the study, 11 participants from the placebo group had influenza-like illness, including a body temperature higher than 100.4 °F and at least one upper respiratory infection symptom. In comparison, only three of the probiotic group had the same. In addition, the probiotic group had a lower average number of days of illness compared to tthe placebo group.


Researchers from Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital led the study. It was published in the June 2018 issue of Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology.


While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including a stronger immune system.


Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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