Probiotic Effects on Cold and Influenza-Like Symptom Incidence and Duration in Children

Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-2666. Epub 2009 Jul 27.

Abstract

Objective: Probiotic consumption effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration were evaluated in healthy children during the winter season.

Methods: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 326 eligible children (3-5 years of age) were assigned randomly to receive placebo (N = 104), Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM (N = 110), or L acidophilus NCFM in combination with Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis Bi-07 (N = 112). Children were treated twice daily for 6 months.

Results: Relative to the placebo group, single and combination probiotics reduced fever incidence by 53.0% (P = .0085) and 72.7% (P = .0009), coughing incidence by 41.4% (P = .027) and 62.1% (P = .005), and rhinorrhea incidence by 28.2% (P = .68) and 58.8% (P = .03), respectively. Fever, coughing, and rhinorrhea duration was decreased significantly, relative to placebo, by 32% (single strain; P = .0023) and 48% (strain combination; P < .001). Antibiotic use incidence was reduced, relative to placebo, by 68.4% (single strain; P = .0002) and 84.2% (strain combination; P < .0001). Subjects receiving probiotic products had significant reductions in days absent from group child care, by 31.8% (single strain; P = .002) and 27.7% (strain combination; P < .001), compared with subjects receiving placebo treatment.

Conclusion: Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00599430.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bifidobacterium*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Common Cold / prevention & control*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus*
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Probiotics / adverse effects
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors

Substances

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00599430