Posted on Jul 29, 2014, 6 a.m.
Daily probiotic supplements may reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tract infections.
A New Zealand study conducted with professional rugby players sheds insights for ways to enhance infection protection in athletes. Brylee A. Haywood, from the University of Otago (New Zealand), and colleagues enrolled 30 rugby union players in a study where each subject received either a probiotic supplement (3 billion CFUs/day), or placebo, for four weeks. Then a four-week washout period was completed before subjects crossed over to the other intervention. Whereas 80% of the placebo group experienced a single episode of the common cold or stomach upset, 53% of those in the probiotic group encountered such illness. In the placebo group, the duration of illness was 5.8 days; duration among probiotic subjects was 3.4 days. The study authors submit that: “These positive effects of probiotic supplements provide evidence for the beneficial effects of daily supplementation with these probiotic strains in highly trained rugby union players.”
Brylee A. Haywood, Katherine E. Black, Dane Baker, James McGarvey, et al. “Probiotic supplementation reduces the duration and incidence of infections but not severity in elite rugby union players.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport Vol. 17, Issue 4, Pages 356-360.