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Probiotic Strain May Help Combat Common Cold Nasal Inflammation

Probiotics are most commonly associated with gut health, but more and more studies suggest that they may have health benefits for other parts of the body. A recent study suggests that taking a probiotic supplement may help the inflammatory response in the nose when it is presented with an infection of the common cold virus.


Participants in the study included 152 university students. For 28 days, half of the group was give a supplement of 2 billion CFUs of the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis Bl-04, while the other half was given a placebo. At the end of the supplementation period, they were exposed to the common cold virus, after which they continued taking either the supplement or the placebo for five days.


During that five-day period, the researchers collected specimens for assessment of host response, infection, and symptoms. The researchers also conducted nasal washes before supplementation, after the 28-day supplementation period, and for the five days after the cold virus was introduced.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that 76% of the supplement group shed the virus in their nasal secretions, compared with 91% of the placebo group. The probiotic was also associated with lower levels of an inflammatory marker in the nasal wash. The probiotic was not associated with lower respiratory inflammation, subjective symptom scores, or infection rate.


Researchers from University of Virginia School of Medicine conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 27, 2017, in Beneficial Microbes.


Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis Bl-04 is a strain of probiotic that has been associated in previous studies with reducing the length of the common cold. It can be found in dairy products or taken as a supplement. If you choose to take a supplement, make sure it’s packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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