Probiotics and Natural Immunity

Jacob Collyer-Smith Lifestyle Writer

Winter is now on the horizon which means a heightened period of activity for all of our immune systems as we try to cope with the cold and flu season. But can probiotics help with boosting our natural immune health?

US researchers certainly think so as they’ve revealed that a blend of Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12®, the probiotic in Bifidobacteria & fibre, was able to reduce the duration of common colds amongst college students.

The Chr. Hansen-sponsored study observed a group of 200 US college students, based at Framingham State University, who were divided into two groups and supplemented with either a placebo or 2 billion colony forming units of L. rhamnosus LGG and B. lactis BB-12® probiotic formula. The researchers observed that the probiotic group experienced colds that lasted an average of 4 days, as opposed to 6 in the placebo group. The probiotic group also experienced a 34% reduction in cold symptom severity.

Birgit Michelsen, Chr. Hansen’s director of scientific affairs in health and nutrition, commented on the significance of the study, “There have been other studies that have shown similar effects but this shows a significant result in a key population typically under extreme stress and prone to colds and flus as a result.”

A 2010 study, led by Mario Cazzola, also revealed that a multi-strain probiotic & prebiotic formula, containing Lactobacillus acidophils Rosell-52, Bifidobacterium infantis Rosell-33, Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell-71 and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) prebiotic, as found in OptiBac 'For babies & children', was able to reduce the risk of occurrence of common infectious diseases in children.

OptiBac For babies & children

The French researchers devised a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that observed 135 children between the age of 3-7 years old. The children were supplemented daily with either the For your child’s health probiotic formula, or a matched placebo.

The results revealed that the probiotic group was 25% less likely to contract common winter diseases and their risk of absence from school due to illness was also reduced. The full study is available on request: Efficacy of a synbiotic supplementation in the prevention of common diseases in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study