Posted on Jun 10, 2014, 6 a.m.
Probiotics may decrease the duration of the common cold by up to a day.
Probiotics, microorganisms that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines, have become of greater interest as certain studies suggest their utility in a number of gastrointestinal conditions. Emerging evidence suggests a potential role for the GI-enhancing bacteria in a number of other body systems. Sarah King, from the York Health Economics Consortium (United Kingdom), and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of published studies, to assess the effects of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium on the duration of acute infections in otherwise healthy children and adults. The data analysis revealed that probiotics associated with significantly fewer numbers of days of illness per person, as well as shorter illness episodes by almost a day; as well as fewer numbers of days absent from school and work. The study authors submit that: “This systematic review provides evidence … that probiotics reduce the duration of illness in otherwise healthy children and adults.”
King S, Glanville J, Sanders ME, Fitzgerald A, Varley D. “Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 29:1-14.