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Probiotic shows post-treatment throat infection efficacy in children

By Will Chu , 12-Dec-2016
Last updated on 12-Dec-2016 at 14:02 GMT2016-12-12T14:02:11Z

Studies have extolled the virtues of maintaining a beneficial microbiome in the oral cavity through probiotic supplementation. ©iStock/CREATISTA
Studies have extolled the virtues of maintaining a beneficial microbiome in the oral cavity through probiotic supplementation. ©iStock/CREATISTA

Evidence for the BLIS K12 probiotic strain's role in oral health continues to build momentum as a study highlights its protective effects against multiple non-streptococcal infections even after its use was stopped.

A treatment period of 90 days followed by a nine month follow-up found a 90% reduction in the episodes of streptococcal pharyngitis in children compared to the untreated control group.

In addition, children in the BLIS K12 probiotic group showed a significantly lower number of episodes of tracheitis (95%), viral pharyngitis (90%), rhinitis (89%), flu (87%), laryngitis (98%), acute otitis media (100%) and enteritis (75%).

Stratum Nutrition and Blis Technologies’ BLIS K12 probiotic strain has been shown to reduce streptococcal pharyngitis and acute otitis media in children, as well as streptococcal pharyngitis in adults. However, this is the first study that demonstrates its long-term effectiveness post-treatment.

Streptococcal pharyngitis, which is also known as 'strep throat', is an infection of the back of the throat including the tonsils caused by group A streptococcus.

The infection is a common bacterial infection in children. Several European investigations which have examined the carriage rates in children and adults found the highest infection rate to be in subjects aged 14 years or less (10.9%).

Strep study

Some preliminary studies have indicated that BLIS K12 may also help prevent episodes of oropharyngeal infections of viral origin. ©iStock/VladimirFLoyd

Lead researcher Dr Francesco Di Pierro from the University of Parma in Italy enrolled 124 male and female children between the ages of 3 and 10 years.

48 children who displayed streptococcal pharyngitis the previous year were given BLIS K12 probiotic.

76 children who did not experience streptococcal pharyngitis in the previous year were enrolled into the untreated control group.

The BLIS K12 probiotic was administered for 90 days with an additional 9-month follow-up.

The team reported a 90% reduction of streptococcal pharyngitis cases in children taking the BLIS K12 probiotic (154 episodes vs. 16 episodes). In the untreated control group, actual episodes increased by appoximately 30%.

“These new findings demonstrate a persistent, protective effect even after cessation of usage,” said Dr Joseph Evans, founder & president of consulting and contract research firm P & N Development Ventures.

“Since standard of care treatments for these unpleasant conditions are limited and are associated with absences from school and work, safe and effective prophylactic supplements would be welcomed by parents and practitioners.”

Probiotic profile

Whilst the results of this study appear to show much promise, the authors acknowledge that the observational study method used meant the results could not be used to draw firm conclusions.

In addition they also recognised that the study might contain significant bias due to the relatively small number of treated subjects and the absence of a control, placebo, or alternative probiotic treatment.

Source: Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety

Published online ahead of print, doi.org/10.2147/DHPS.S117214

“Positive clinical outcomes derived from using Streptococcus salivarius K12 to prevent streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis in children: a pilot investigation.”

Authors: Di Pierro F, Colombo M, Zanvit A, Rottoli AS

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