Cold season's coming. So everything you can do to keep your kids healthy helps. Evidence is mounting that probiotics can help. The latest evidence shows that giving your kids probiotics can help them fight off respiratory infections. . . .

This interesting double-blind, placebo-controlled study took a novel approach. There were 225 kids in the study, ranging in age from three to twelve. The researchers waited until someone in their family got sick with a respiratory infection. They then immediately gave the kids either a placebo or 5 billion colony forming units of probiotics (acidophilus and bifidus) and 50mg of FOS, a prebiotic that helps the probiotics to grow. They gave the kids the placebo or the probiotics for two weeks or, if they got sick, until they got better.

Fewer kids in the probiotic group got sick, but the difference was not significant. But, here's the good news. If the kids did get sick, they got better way faster if they were taking the probiotic. Their respiratory infections were, on average, a significant two days shorther: five days instead of seven.

The kids who took the probiotics not only had shorter illnesses, but less severe ones: their symptoms were significantly milder.

So, although the probiotics did not significantly prevent colds, they did significantly treat colds.

This is just the latest in a series of studies showing the value of probiotics as a safe, effective remedy for colds.

Earlier research has also shown that probiotics help fight colds  (Adv Ther Respir Dis 2010;4:271–8). And, as we blogged recently, another study published this year did show that probiotics offer significant protection from colds and flus as well as reducing the severity (Br J Nutr 2015;113:426-34).

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015;doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2015.171




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