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Probiotic Strain May Reduce Risk of Developing Common Cold, Flu

While there is not yet a cure for the common cold, steps than can be taken to reduce the likelihood of developing it. A recent study suggests that taking the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071 may result in more healthy days and a lower incidence of cold or flu.

Participants in the study included 581 academically stressed undergraduate students who took either Lactobacillus helveticus R0052, Bifidobaceterium longum ssp. infantis RR0033, Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071 or a placebo daily for six weeks.

The participants all recorded the intensity of nine cold or flu symptoms every day, with 0 being no symptoms and 3 being very intense symptoms. If their accumulated score was six or more, the day was considered a cold or flu day.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that the B. bifidum group had a higher proportion of healthy days when compared with the placebo. Additionally, the percentage of participants reporting less than one day of cold or flu during the six-week study period was also lower with the B. bifidum group.

No effects on either outcome were reported with the B. infantis group or the L. helveticus group.

Researchers from the University of Florida conducted the study. It was published on February 3, 2015, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

While probiotics are most commonly associated with improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including strengthening the immune system and reducing the 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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