A recent Cochrane review has revealed that Probiotics which are commonly found in yogurt and specific formulated supplements can provide a modest amount of protection against the common cold and other infections, helping patients stave off the need for more powerful antibiotics.
According to the study taking prophylactic doses of healthy bacteria in yogurt and supplements was associated with 12% fewer acute upper respiratory tract infections.
The study also found that the use of antibiotics to treat infections were also down when patients had been using probiotics regularly.
The study also found that probiotics may exert an immune-boosting effect by strengthening gut wall integrity and pushing up phagocytes activity which helps fend off infection.
Probiotics reduced the number of individuals who had at least one acute upper respiratory tract infection by 42% (odds ratio 0.58, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.92).
According to head researcher Bi Rong Dong, MD, of Sichuan University in Sichuan, China:
“The evidence is weak, but our review shows a benefit in using probiotics to prevent acute upper respiratory tract infections.”
While the research is hardly conclusive it shows promise in understanding yet another area of medicine in which probiotics can help fend off infections.
Do you believe that probiotics help fend off sickness?