The new school year inevitably brings with it a whole new rash of colds and coughs for our children.
But a new study has shown that a simple combination of probiotics and vitamin C could hold the key to keeping kids healthy in classrooms during the upcoming winter season.
In the trial 57 children aged 3 to 5 were given Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteriumprobiotic strains and vitamin C, or an identical looking placebo, and observed over a six month period. None of the children received the flu vaccine during the study period.
Results published in the European Journal of Clinical Nurition showed a 33% reduction in the incidence of upper respiratory tract infection (URTIs) and a 30% reduction in the number of missed school days.
“The conclusion of that analysis was that probiotics led to a decrease in intensity and duration of 30%,” he said. “That’s quite a consistent effect, and I don’t think the traditional combination of vitamin C and zinc, for instance, achieves that kind of consistency. Our trial has confirmed that effect – and more. We looked at practical outcomes including absence from pre-school, visits to the doctor, the use of antibiotics and other medication.”
Other meta-analyses have also shown that probiotics are effective in preventing upper respiratory tract infections.
In the current study the supplement combination which which proved effective was a chewable tablet one chewable tablet containing 12.5 billion colony-forming units of Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL21, Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL60,Bifidobacterium bifidum CUL20 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactisCUL34, plus 50 mg vitamin C .