Upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold can cause fever, cough and headaches. It’s one of the most common reasons for doctor visits and often results in the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics (Think twice before you take an antibiotic). They are most commonly caused by viruses and are self-limiting in healthy people.
While there is no “cure” for the common cold, there are some things that you can do to boost your immune system to fight off infection. A reasonable list of immune boosting strategies include:
Since probiotics have been shown to regulate and support immune function, clinical studies have been performed to determine whether or not they alleviate symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections. A meta-analysis that included 13 randomized controlled trials involving 3,720 people and with an average age of 40 years old showed that probiotics performed better than placebo in approximately half of the participants. In addition, the duration of acute symptoms resolved approximately 1.89 day’s sooner when a participant was taking probiotic supplement.
So, if you find yourself fighting off symptoms of the common cold, skip the antibiotic and reach for a probiotic. Some of the most commonly studied strains of probiotics are in the table below and are included in my top 10 list. If you are interested in viewing the published studies, links are provided in the reference section below.
|Upper Respiratory Tract infections|
|Probiotic Strain||Rank||References||Dose Per Day||Duration||Strains|
|Lactobacillus rhamnosus||1||1, 2, 3||1-10 billion||3-12 months||GG|
|Lactobacillus casei||2||4, 5, 6||10-40 billion||3-5 months||NA, DN-114|
|Lactobacillus acidophilus||3||4, 7||2-20 billion||3 months||NA|
|Bifidobacterium lactis||4||2, 3||1-10 billion||3-12 months||BB-12|
|Bifidobacterium bididum||5||7, 8||50 million - 1 billion||3 months||NA, MF 20/5|
|Lactobacillus bulgaricus||6||6, 9||20-320 billion||3 months||NA, OLL1073R-1|
|Streptococcus thermophilus||7||6, 9||20-790 billion||3 months||NA, OLS3059|
|Bifidobacterium longum||8||8||50 million||3 months||SP 07/3|
|Lactobacillus plantarum||9||9||1 billion||3 months||HEAL9|
|Lactobacillus rhamnosus||10||10||10 billion||3 months||HN001|
Keep in mind that dose and duration of the probiotic supplementation is important. As you can see in the table above, the clinical studies showing efficacy of probiotics were performed with probiotic supplements that were taken for at least 3 months. In addition, I think a safe bet for most people is to take a probiotic that has at least 10 billion CFU’s per serving (see the table above).
A healthy and diverse population of gut microorganisms are necessary for wellness. Based on the clinical studies listed here we know that boosting the immune system with the intake of beneficial probiotics reduces the effects of upper respiratory tract infections.
It’s estimated that in the United States alone, we spend $40 Billion each year on doctors visits and lost work as a result of the common cold. Taking a daily probiotic has been shown, through clinical studies, to boost our immune system and fight back against infections of all sorts.
Recently I described how probiotics are effective against infectious diarrhea (Top 10 Probiotic Strains to Combat Infectious Diarrhea) and here I list the probiotics strains that have been tested to fight against the viruses that cause upper respiratory tract infections. Next time I’ll address allergies. Do probiotics work to reduce the affects of allergies? If so, what types of probiotics works best?
In future blogs I’ll examine the clinical studies that tested probiotics against Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections, weight loss and much more. If you’re interested in learning whether or not probiotics are useful in these cases, sign up to this blog and follow me on Twitter and like our Facebook Page Liberty Bion.
About Liberty Bion and Hero Probiotics:
At Liberty Bion, Inc.™ (www.libertybion.com), our mission is to deliver quality natural supplements and healthy living strategies that promotes good health and adds value to the lives of our customers. Our Hero Probiotics™ brand is formulated to support your effort to create a diverse microbiota by delivering 30 billion CFUs of 10 diverse and beneficial probiotic strains per serving.
Order Hero Probiotics at a discount from Amazon.com here.
About the Author:
Douglas Toal, Ph.D is a medical microbiologist with extensive knowledge and expertise in clinical and environmental microbiology with additional training in biochemistry, metabolism and anti-aging medicine. Dr. Toal is founder of Liberty Bion, Inc. You can connect with Dr. Toal on his blog or on Twitter @DrDougToal.
Douglas Toal, PhD is a medical microbiologist with extensive knowledge and expertise in clinical and environmental microbiology with additional training in biochemistry, metabolism and anti-aging medicine. He is board-certified in Medical & Public Health Microbiology and has performed extensive research in the cell-to-cell signaling strategies that bacteria use to communicate. His current interests include validating innovative diagnostic methods for the identification of clinical disease. He frequently blogs about the application of probiotics in human health, recent discoveries in gut microbiota function and trends in anti-aging medicine and wellness.