Probiotics Taken With Vitamin C May Reduce Illness, Missed School for Children
Schools tend to be a breeding ground for germs and illness and children miss school every year due to contagious illnesses. A recent study suggests that taking probiotics in combination with vitamin C daily may lower the incidence of respiratory tract infections and reduce missed school days by more than 30%.
Participants in the study included 57 children between the ages of three and six who were given Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic strains and 50 mg vitamin C or a placebo daily for six months.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that taking the probiotic/vitamin C combination was associated with a 33% reduction in incidence of upper respiratory tract infection and a 30% reduction in the number of missed school days.
Additionally, the number of days of use of antibiotics, painkillers, cough medicine and nasal sprays by the probiotic/vitamin C group was lower than that of the placebo group.
Researchers from Cultech Ltd. in the UK, Comenius University in Slovakia, Dunajská Streda in Slovakia, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK and Imperial College in the UK conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on September 10, 2014, in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health. However, they have also been shown to help strengthen the immune system and reduce 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.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that has been linked to numerous other health benefits including heart health, brain health, eye health and improved mood. It can be found in high levels in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens such as cantaloupe, oranges, kiwis, and papaya, and in dark leafy greens such as broccoli and kale.