Probiotics Boost Immunity

Probiotics, beneficial bacteria in food or dietary supplements, are the subject of ongoing research for their potential to help boost immunity.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study done at the University of Wisconsin found that children who received two doses a day of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis for 6 months had a major reduction in acute winter illnesses.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that fever was decreased by 73%, cough by 62% and runny nose by 59%, compared to placebo. Children who received Lactobacillus acidophilus only, also fared better than those receiving placebo, but did not do as well as the children receiving the combined supplement.

The research team led by Greg Leyer concluded: “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence…” (Leyer et al.)