Posted on Mon, 23 Jan 12
Looking for a way to stave off colds this winter? An analysis of 10 studies involving 3451 participants has found that probiotics may be a good way to reduce your risk of upper respiratory tract infections.
A systematic review conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration set out to ascertain the evidence for probiotics as a means of preventing upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). URTIs are typically caused by viral infections (e.g. the common cold) and treatment is usually palliative (e.g. pain killers, hydration) or initiated when symptoms become chronic (antibiotics), but not preventative.
Fourteen relevant studies were identified and 10 were included in the final analysis which found that probiotic therapy may reduce the development of acute infections and decrease the need for antibiotic use. Probiotics were also considered safe with side effects limited to minor gastrointestinal symptoms.
Hao Q, Lu Z, Dong BR, Huang CQ, Wu T. Probiotics for preventing acute upper respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Sep 7;9:CD006895.