Probiotics may be a useful preventive strategy against colds and flus in children, according to a study published in the August issue of Pediatrics.
In this study, the effects of probiotic intake on incidence and duration of cold and flu symptoms during the winter season were evaluated in healthy children aged 3 to 5 years.
Of 326 children enrolled in the study, 104 were randomly assigned to receive placebo, 110 to L. acidophilus , and 112 to L acidophilus in combination with a Bifidobacterium species. The children received doses twice daily for six months.
Compared with the placebo group, the children receiving single and combination probiotics had 53 percent lower incidence of cold and flu symptoms.
The combination of L acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bacteria had an even greater reduction in symptoms (73 percent lower than the placebo group).
Supplementation with probiotics also results in fewer days absent from school, shorter duration of any cold and flu symptoms that did occur, and reduce need for antibiotics.
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