The nagging cough and stuffy nose–the downsides of living among people and pollutants–are strangers to only the lucky few.
Yet, most probiotic research involving respiratory conditions has focused on vulnerable subsets of the population: infants, the elderly, the sedentary or even the elite athlete facing extreme physical stress. Probiotics may reduce the rate, severity and duration of the illness, according to varied research.
But what about the average healthy individual? Can probiotics be of use for them?
Recent research looked at 465 of them, about even split of men and women. Group 1 received a strain of Bifidobacterium animalis; Group 2 received another B. animalis strain along with Lactobacillus acidophilus and Group 3, a placebo.
Preliminary results showed there was a 27% reduction in the risk of respiratory illness in the first group compared to the placebo group. However, there were no differences in illness risk between the second group and placebo. Final results gathered by the authors (effects of supplement usage on meds, doctors’ visits and immune markers) will be presented in May at the Vitafoods Europe global conference in Geneva.
Happily, the future looks good for the common man (and woman): probiotics may make that cold as well as other respiratory challenges less common.