Can Probiotics Help Prevent The Common Cold?

Probiotics and ColdsOnce you have a virus like the common cold, the general advice is unfortunately to wait it out and treat the symptoms.

However, new research suggests that probiotics might actually help prevent viral upper-respiratory infections and shorten the duration of illness.

Is it true?

Let’s look at the evidence:

Review of 13 Probiotics Studies Shows Promise

The 13 randomized controlled studies were done with 3,720 participants, consisting of both children and adults from 8 different countries.

It was proven during the studies that probiotics worked better than a placebo in reducing the amount of acute upper respiratory infection occurrences by about 47 percent.

The duration of the illnesses were also decreased by about two days.

The number of antibiotic prescription rates and school related absences were reduced when a probiotic was used versus the placebo.

Study Shows Shorter Cold Duration

A second study showed that probiotics may be able to help influence immune responses by energizing antibody production and improving phagocytic activity of leukocytes.

The study looked at the effect of probiotics, particularly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, and evaluated their affect on the duration of respiratory infections.

Twenty trials were conducted, 10 trials on the use of probiotics in children between the ages of 12 months and 12 years, and 10 of the trials were the use of probiotics by adults.

Participants of the studies who received a probiotic preparation reported having shorter illness incidents than participants who took a placebo.

Twelve trials additionally reported that respiratory infection or common infectious related absenteeism was fewer for those taking probiotics, when compared to participants that received a placebo.

Boost the Immune System and Prevent the Cold

On a third note, there have recently been several additional studies performed to prove that probiotics can improve the body’s immune response.

In doing so, you can help the body be more prepared to fight off infections, such as the common cold.

Taking a probiotic on a daily basis showed it can lower your chances of getting a virus and help shorten the duration of how long it lasts as an effect of this.

Adding a vitamin C supplement to your daily routine with a probiotic can also help boost your immune system and prevent illnesses.

Study Shows Less Sick Days

Lastly, a study from Sweden was done on 181 factory workers who consumed a drink containing a probiotic, or a drink without one, for 80 days. 23 of the 87 workers who had consumed a drink without a probiotic, reported they had taken a sick day during the study.

Consider this when compared to only 10 of the 94 workers that drank a probiotic drink.

In the group of 53 shift workers: none of the 26 who consumed the probiotic drink daily, reported taking off work for any sick days.

This was compared to 9 out of 27 shift workers that were in the placebo group.

So What’s The Verdict?

When considering the findings of this recent research, it is plausible to conclude that yes probiotics can be helpful when consumed as part of your regular diet.

Not only do they show to help prevent viral infections, they can also help you fight off a virus once you are infected.

The research shows that probiotics fight the viruses by strengthening the body’s immune system, which can in result better fight the infection.

If you’re looking for ideas on which probiotics to take, check out our updated list of the best probiotic supplements.

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About the Author

About the Author: Kate Watson is the Lead Researcher and Founder of Kate started this site after successfully using probiotics to treat some digestive issues she'd had since childhood. In her free time Kate loves nothing more than a good book (and a good glass of wine).