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Probiotics Study Shows Reduced Symptoms of the Common Cold

A not-yet-published study suggests that the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis may reduce the frequency and severity of the common cold in healthy, physically active adults. The findings were presented at the International Scientific Conference on Probiotics and Prebiotics in Kosice, Slovakia on June 15, 2011.

The researchers are from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Australia. The study was funded by Danisco, a large supplier of probiotics based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The researchers recruited 474 healthy adults who were given Bifidobacterium lactis over the course of 150 days. The participants reported a 30-50% decrease in upper respiratory tract illness and chest illness during the course of the study. Participants also experienced a reduction in the duration and severity of symptoms, leading to a reduction in the use of medication.

These results are impressive because physically active, healthy individuals are less susceptible to common colds and respiratory illnesses than sedentary people or those undertaking prolonged intense exercise. Therefore, the researchers are encouraged that “these findings, which demonstrate benefits in healthy individuals, hold promise for other groups in the population who may be more susceptible to respiratory infections such as the young and elderly.”

Subjects in this study were given Bifidobacterium lactis in supplement form. It’s a strain of probiotics that is commonly found in supplement form. Please keep in mind when purchasing a probiotic supplement to be sure it is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily harm probiotics.

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