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Probiotic Supplement May Support Upper Respiratory Health

Previous research has found that strenuous exercise may increase the risk of upper respiratory tract infection. A new study suggests that supplementation with a multi-strain probiotic may help reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in marathon runners.

Fourteen male marathon runners participated in the study. They received 5 billion colony forming units CFU of a multi-strain probiotic (consisting of 1 billion CFU of each of Lactobacillus acidophilus LB-G80, Lactobacillus paracasei LPc-G110, Lactococcus subp. lactis LLL-G25, Bifidobacterium animalis subp. lactis BL-G101, and Bifidobacterium bifidum BB-G90) or a placebo daily for 30 days before running a marathon.

The researchers measured plasma cytokines, salivary parameters, glucose, and glutamine at baseline, 24 hours before the marathon, and 1 hour after the marathon. Participants self-reported URTI for 7 days after the marathon using the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey.

During the 7 days after the marathon, 100% of the participants in the placebo group reported at least one URTI symptom, compared to 71% of the probiotic group. The symptoms reported by the probiotic group were less severe on the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th days compared to the placebo group.

Several plasma cytokines levels were lower 24 hours before the marathon in the probiotic group, compared to the placebo group. In addition, levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 were lower in the probiotic group 1 hour after the race compared to the placebo group.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Universidade Federal de São Paulo. It was published online ahead of print on April 27, 2021 in the journal Nutrients.

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