Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Probiotics Plus Vitamin C Decrease Upper Respiratory Infections

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Probiotics Plus Vitamin C Decrease Upper Respiratory Infections




A recently published clinical trial indicates that supplementation with probiotics plus vitamin C reduce upper respiratory infections in children. Children have approximately three to eight viral respiratory infections per year and adults have an estimated two to four colds per year.

The subjects in this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial included 57 children three to six years of age attending a preschool facility. The subjects received daily supplementation with a placebo or 50 mg vitamin C plus 1.25 × 1010 colony-forming units of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp, lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and two strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus for six months. The investigators assessed the incidence of respiratory tract infections, duration of respiratory tract infections, absence from preschool, use of medications, and levels of plasma cytokines, salivary immunoglobulin A and urinary metabolites.

The probiotic plus vitamin C group had a 33% decrease in the rate of upper respiratory tract infections (URIs). The probiotic plus vitamin C group also spent an average of 21 fewer days with URI symptoms and absence from preschool was reduced by 30% compared to the placebo group. Probiotics plus vitamin C significantly reduced the use of cough medicine. The use of antibiotics, painkillers, or nasal sprays was lower in the probiotic plus vitamin C group compared to the placebo group, although this difference was not statistically significant. The researchers did not find a significant difference between the groups for the rate or duration of lower respiratory tract infections or levels of plasma cytokines, salivary immunoglobulin A, or urinary metabolites.

The investigators concluded, "Supplementation with a probiotic/vitamin C combination may be beneficial in the prevention and management of URTIs."

The amount of vitamin C used was trivial and so it is likely the benefit was primarily due to the probiotics.


Garaiova I, et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Sep 10. [Epub ahead of print.]