Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Daily Probiotics Regimen Reduces Colds, Fevers in Children

A new study from probiotics producer Danisco shows that daily supplement of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains may reduce the incidence of cold and flu-like symptoms in children by 50 per cent. Further, a combination of the two strains has been linked to reductions in fever incidence by 73 per cent, a reduction in the occurrence of runny noses by 59 per cent, and drop in the incidence of coughing by 62 per cent, according to findings published in the journal Pediatrics.

“Daily probiotic dietary supplementation during the winter months was a safe, effective way to reduce episodes of fever, rhinorrhea [nasal issues], and cough, the cumulative duration of those symptoms, the incidence of antibiotic prescriptions, and the number of missed school days attributable to illness,” wrote the authors, led by Gregory Leyer, an R&D scientist for Danisco in Madison, Wisconsin.

This research showed that L acidophilus alone was effective, but also indicated a trend for a broader protective effect when it is combined with Bifidobacterium.

Indeed, used by itself, L. acidophilus cut the fever incidence by 53 per cent, the occurrence of runny noses by 28 per cent, and the incidence of coughing by 41 per cent.

Leyer and his co-investigators from Tongji University (Shanghai), the University of Texas (Houston), and Sprim USA recruited 326 children aged between three and five in a child care centre in China. The children were randomly assigned to one of three groups, and received twice a day for six months the single L. acidophilus NCFM strain, the combination of the strains, or a placebo.

In addition to the reductions in the incidence in fever, coughing, and runny noses, the researchers noted a reduction in the use of antibiotics in children either of the probiotic interventions, while these children also missed fewer days of child care.

“Although the reduced incidence of antibiotic prescriptions for all indications noted in an earlier study was confirmed, this study is the first to indicate a trend toward more-significant results with a combination versus single strain preparation,” wrote the authors.

I think it is important to note here that getting a good dose of probiotics into a child means something more than just eating some yogurt. (In fact, one major yogurt manufacturer is being sued because their claims for probiotic content are so overblown.) Always check the amount of "CFU's" (colony-forming units) in your probiotics product and go for those that show billions and not millions of these good bugs.


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