Children pick up more than toys and social skills at preschool. They are three times more likely than children who stay home to contract a respiratory infection.
Antibiotics are routinely given but not always helpful.
Could probiotics prevent some of the runny noses and aching coughs?
Researchers in Slovakia and the United Kingdom asked if probiotics plus Vitamin C would do just that.
Fifty-seven children aged 3-6 years received strains of the following in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled project:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium animalis
- 50 mg vitamin C or a placebo was added to each child’s dose daily for 6 months.
- 33% reduction in number of upper respiratory tract infections
- Reductions in number of days with the infection
- 30% reduction in absences from school
- Significant drop in use of cough medicine
- No differences in duration of lower respiratory tract infection
- No difference in levels of immune biomarkers
The study appears in September 2014 issue of European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
A prior study showed strains of Lactobacillus plantarum or Lactobacillus reuteri prevented respiratory tract infection in healthy mice. And several other studies have shown significant reductions in incidence and/or duration of URTI with probiotics alone.
Thus, probiotics along with Vitamin C may be of benefit in both prevention and management of upper respiratory tract infections in preschoolers.