Probiotics Research Shows Benefit for Kids 3-5 years

A research study was conducted on the probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom Incidence and duration in children.


The study was conducted by Gregory J. Leyer PhDa, from the Department of Research and Development, Danisco, Madison, Wisconsin, Shuguang Li, MSb, of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Medical College of Tongji University, Shanghai, China, Mohamed E. Mubasher, PhDc, of Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Texas at Houston, Dallas, Texas, Cheryl Reifer, PhDd of the Department of Scientific Affairs, SPRIM USA, Frisco, Texas and Arthur C. Ouwehand, PhDe from Department of Research and Development, Danisco, Kantvik, Finland

Their objective was so evaluate the probiotic consumption effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in healthy children during the winter season.

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 326 eligible children (3–5 years of age) were assigned randomly to receive placebo (N = 104), Lactobacillus Acidophilus NCFM (N = 110), or L acidophilus NCFM in combination with Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis Bi-07 (N = 112). Children were treated twice daily for 6 months.

The results showed that relative to the placebo group, single and combination probiotics:
- reduced fever incidence by 53.0% (P = .0085) and 72.7% (P = .0009),
- coughing incidence by 41.4% (P = .027) and 62.1% (P = .005), and
- rhinorrhea incidence by 28.2% (P = .68) and 58.8% (P = .03), respectively.

  • Fever, coughing, and rhinorrhea duration was decreased significantly, relative to placebo, by 32% (single strain; P = .0023) and 48% (strain combination; P
  • Antibiotic use incidence was reduced, relative to placebo, by 68.4% (single strain; P = .0002) and 84.2% (strain combination; P
  • Subjects receiving probiotic products had significant reductions in days absent from group child care, by 31.8% (single strain; P = .002) and 27.7% (strain combination; P

They concluded that daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe and effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.

Published online July 27, 2009
Pediatrics - Vol. 124 No. 2 August 2009, pp. e172-e179