Probiotics show potential against common cold

According to new research from probiotic researchers from Swedens Probi AB, daily supplements with probiotic Lactobacillus strains may reduce the incidence of acquiring the common cold by 12%


The results published in the European Journal of Nutrition of a randomised, parallel, double-blind placebo-controlled study with 272, subjects showed that daily consumption of Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9 (DSM 15312) and Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 (DSM 13434) reduced the incidence of one or more episodes of the common cold from 67% in the placebo group to 55%,

Also, the number of days of symptoms for the cold was significantly reduced in people taking the probiotic supplements, from an average of 8.6 to 6.2, compared with placebo.

“Intake of the probiotic strains Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9 (DSM 15312) and Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 (DSM 13434) reduces the risk of acquiring common cold infections,” state the researchers, led by Anna Berggren from Sweden’s Probi AB.

Probiotics, alone or in combination with prebiotics, have been reported to potentially reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections.
Earlier this year Croatian researchers reported that Lactobacillus GG may decrease the risk of upper respiratory tract infections including rhinitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, otitis, and the common cold in children attending day care centres.

Study details

Berggren and her co-workers tested the effects of L. plantarum HEAL 9 (DSM 15312) and L. paracasei 8700:2 (DSM 13434) on the incidence of the
common cold in 272 healthy subjects. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either the daily probiotic supplements (one billion colony forming units) or a control for 12 weeks.

Results showed that, in addition to a reduction in the incidence of getting the common cold and the number of days with symptoms, a reduction in the severity of symptoms was also recorded. According to the EJN report, “the total symptom score was reduced during the study period from a mean of 44.4 for the control group to 33.6 for the probiotic group”.

European Journal of Nutrition