Researchers randomly assigned 231 healthy college students to take a probiotic dietary supplement or a placebo (no probiotic) once daily for 12 weeks. The probiotic provided a minimum daily dose of one billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of two probiotic bacteria: Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG (LGG) and Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis BB-12. A colony-forming unit is one live, viable bacterium that can reproduce.
Neither the students nor the researchers knew who received the probiotic or the placebo, and 198 students (86%) completed the entire 12-week study. Study participants provided information on whether, and how severely, they experienced symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, as well as missed days of school and work throughout the research period.
Compared with students taking the placebo, those who received the probiotic supplement:
This study was small and of short duration, but still, it points to a relatively simple thing that may help college kids bounce back faster when they catch a cold. Our tips on picking a probiotic, along with other cold-quashing ideas can help you keep the people in your life healthier.
(Br J Nutr 2013;109:1999–2007)
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