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Probiotics May Help You Beat the Common Cold

Probiotics may boost the immune system and reduce the risk of catching a cold according to a study published in the September 2010 issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that are found in your gut. Maintaining a healthy level of these bacteria is essential for healthy digestion, and in turn, immune system function.

Researchers from Sweden’s Probi AB recruited 272 participants for the study. The participants were randomly assigned to receive a probiotic supplement containing one billion colony forming units or a placebo for 12 weeks.

Participants who were given the probiotic supplement saw a 12% reduction in the incidence of colds at the end of the study. Additionally, if the participants in the probiotic group did catch a cold, they generally had less severe cold symptoms and the symptoms lasted on average 2 days less.

This study adds to a growing body of science showing that a healthy gut is directly linked to improved immune system function.

Probiotics have also been shown to improve digestion, reduce the risk of chronic disease and aid in weight loss. These benefits are especially apparent among people over the age of 60 because the level of good bacteria in your gut tends to decrease as you age.

To boost probiotic levels in your gut, try consuming more yogurt and cultured milk products. You can also try incorporating a quality probiotic supplement into your diet. Make sure the supplement contains several probiotic strains and is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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