Probiotic Prevents Infections in Children
Six hundred thirty-eight children (aged 3–6 years) attending day care or schools in the Washington, DC, area were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, a fermented dairy drink containing Lactobacillus or a placebo drink with no live cultures for 90 days.
The incidence of common infectious diseases, for example, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections was 19% lower in the active-treatment group than in the placebo group.
Probiotics are bacteria or yeast organisms that may have beneficial effects on human physiology and health. Probiotic organisms are believed to work in part by enhancing digestion and immune function, by competing with pathogenic microorganisms for binding sites on mucosal surfaces, and by producing chemicals that inactivate or kill pathogens. The results of the present study indicate that administration of a specific probiotic organism prevented infections in young children.