Probiotic strains reduce cold, flu symptoms in children

by Jeff Gelski
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MADISON, WIS. — Daily dietary supplementation involving two probiotic strains reduced the incidence of cold and flu symptoms in children, according to a study appearing in the August issue of Pediatrics, the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study involved 326 children ages 3 to 5 in a child care center in China. Twice a day for six months, one group took Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM. Another group took a combination of L. acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis Bi-07. A third group took a placebo.

Compared to the placebo group, the group taking the combination of probiotics saw a 73% reduction in fever incidence, a 62% reduction in coughing incidence and a 59% reduction in runny nose incidence. Compared to the placebo group, the group taking L. acidophilus NCFM saw a 53% reduction in fever incidence, a 41% reduction in coughing incidence and a 28% reduction in runny nose incidence.

In the combination probiotic group, incidence of antibiotic use dropped 84% and days absent from group child care dropped 28%. In the L. acidophilus NCFM group, incidence of antibiotic use dropped 68% and days absent from group child care dropped 32%.

Danisco sponsored the study called "Probiotic Effects on Cold and Influenza-Like Symptom Incidence and Duration in Children." Danisco uses both probiotic strains in its line of Howaru Protect formulations, which may be delivered via capsules, powder sachets and chewable tablets, and as an ingredient in dairy applications.

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