When cool weather arrives, people spend more time indoors – where they’re likely to be exposed to the common cold virus. Most people get two to three colds per year – and dealing with the sniffling, sneezing, and hacking cough isn’t fun – especially if you have to work and take care of a family. Is there a way to decrease the number of colds you get ‘” and how long they last?
A Way to Reduce Cold Frequency and the Length of a Cold?
A new, randomized, double-blind study involving 272 people offers hope to people who want to reduce the number of colds they get yearly. This group of men and women took either a probiotic supplement or a placebo pill daily for three months, while being closely monitored for cold symptoms.
Did the probiotic supplements offer benefits? The group who took the probiotics not only developed fewer colds, but their symptoms were shorter in duration and less severe. In fact when probiotic users developed a cold, the number of days they experienced symptoms was reduced by 1.5 days. Taking probiotic supplements not only decreased the number of colds, but the duration of cold symptoms as well.
Why Does Taking Probiotics Reduce Cold Frequency and the Length of a Cold?
Although this was a high quality study, it only involved a small number of people – but it adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that probiotics protect against certain types of infections, particularly gastrointestinal infections.
How do probiotics fight off cold viruses and other bugs? Probiotics have positive benefits on the immune system – the body’s main defense against viruses and bacteria. It’s this heightened immune response that helps protect against gastrointestinal infections, and, potentially, reduce cold frequency.
Be Careful Which Probiotic Supplements You Take to Reduce Cold Frequency
Not all probiotic supplements are created equal, and some probiotic bacteria may work better for certain conditions than others. In this study, researchers used Lactobaccilus planetarium, and Lactobacillus paracasei. It’s not clear whether other probiotic species would have had equal benefits.
A good probiotic supplement should contain at least a billion bacteria per gram. Always buy from a reputable manufacturer since some supplements may have too little bacteria to have benefits. Don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest brand.
Finally, talk to your doctor before taking probiotics to reduce cold frequency. They’re not suitable for everyone and may not be safe for people who have immune deficiencies or other medical problems. Another way to get probiotics is to eat yogurt containing active cultures each day. It’s a lot less expensive than buying probiotic supplements, although it may not be as effective.
Nutraingredients.com website. “Probiotics show potential against common cold: Study”