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Probiotic Strain Linked With Reduced Risk of Common Cold

While researchers still haven’t found a cure for the common cold, a recent study suggests that taking the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis subsp. lactis BI-04 may reduce the risk of developing an upper respiratory tract infection by as much as 27%.

Participants in the study included 241 men and 224 women with an average age of 35 who were healthy and active. Over the course of 150 days, they underwent one of three interventions:

1. 2 billion CFUs of BI-04;

2. 5 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM (NCFM) and B. animalis subsp. lactis BI-07 (BI-07);

3. a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, the individuals in the BI-04 group had a 27% reduced risk of developing an upper respiratory tract infection when compared with the placebo group. The combination NCFM and BI-07 group had a 19% reduction in risk.

The average time before an incidence of the common cold was 2.5 months in the placebo group, 3.2 months in the BI-04 group, and 3.4 months in the NCFM plus BI-07 group.

Another interesting result was that the combination probiotic group undertook more physical activity (8.5%) than the BI-04 group (6.7%). The placebo group, in comparison, had a decline of 10% in physical activity.

Researchers from Griffith University, the Australian Institute of Sport, the Australian National University, the University of Sydney, and DuPont Nutrition & Health conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 14, 2013, in the journal Clinical Nutrition.

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, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

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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