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Probiotics (Bl-04) may reduce common cold risk in active adults: Clinical trial

By Stephen Daniells , 14-Oct-2013
Last updated on 23-Oct-2013 at 23:56 GMT

“This study adds important new information regarding the effects of probiotic supplementation for respiratory illness”
“This study adds important new information regarding the effects of probiotic supplementation for respiratory illness”

Daily supplements of the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis subsp lactis Bl-04 may reduce the risk of the common cold (upper respiratory tract infections or URTIs) in active adults, says a new study from Australia.

Data from a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial with 465 active adults indicated that supplements of B. lactis subsp lactis Bl-04 were associated with a 27% reduction in the risk of the common cold, compared to placebo.

Supplements containing the probiotic combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis Bi-07 also showed a reduction in the risk of the common cold, but this result did not reach statistical significance, wrote researchers from Griffith University, the Australian Institute of Sport, the Australian National University, the University of Sydney, and DuPont Nutrition & Health.

“This study adds important new information regarding the effects of probiotic supplementation for respiratory illness,” they wrote in Clinical Nutrition . “The positive effects of probiotic supplementation appear to extend beyond individuals considered to have a higher susceptibility to illness.”

Probiotics are defined as "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host".

Study details

Led by Allan Cripps from Griffith University, the researchers randomly assigned 465 healthy people with an average age of 35.5 to one of three groups: The first group received the BI-04 supplement (2 billion cfus); the second group received the combination probiotic of NFCM and Bi-07 (5 billion cfus); and the third group received placebo.

“The choice of the probiotics was made on the basis of previous data showing effects on immune-related outcomes in adults15 and in children,” explained the researchers.

After 150 days of intervention, the researcher found that the Bl-04 group had a 27% reduction in risk of URTIs, compared to placebo. The risk reduction as 19% in the NFCM and Bi-07 group, but this did not reach statistical significance.

In addition, the median time to an illness episode was delayed by 0.7 and 0.9 months in the Bl-04 and NCFM & Bi-07 groups, respectively, compared to placebo.

Another interesting observation made by the researchers was that participants in the NCFM & Bi-07 group reported a lower level of exercise intensity but substantially higher exercise duration. “The reason for the greater amount of physical activity undertaken by those in the NCFM & Bi-07 group may have been through the delayed time to illness,” they explained. “The findings from the current study indicate that NCFM & Bi-07 supplementation may be a useful nutritional adjunct to reduce the negative effects of illness on patterns of physical activity.”

Commenting on the study's findings, Didier Carcano, health platform leader, DuPont Nutrition & Health, said: “These results reinforce our existing documentation on probiotic solutions for immune health and open new opportunities for the HOWARU Protect range.”

Source: Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.10.002
“Probiotic supplementation for respiratory and gastrointestinal illness symptoms in healthy physically active individuals”
Authors: N.P. West, P.L. Horn, D.B. Pyne, V.J. Gebski, S.J. Lahtinen, P.A. Fricker, A.W. Cripps

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