Dr Cherry MD from the Christian Post reports that there has been growing evidence to show that probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract, play an important role in immunity. Strains such as acidophilus and bifidobacterium aid in developing natural defenses against foreign intestinal bacteria and viral infections, and enhance the immune system. But recent studies looked more specifically at the effect probiotics may have on the flu and respiratory infections.
Note: These studies did NOT involve the H1N1 flu virus, as they were conducted before this year’s outbreak.
In the first study, More than 475 healthy men and women who had not received flu vaccines were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or a daily probiotic bacteria supplement combined with a vitamin and mineral supplement over the course of more than 5 winter/spring months.
Immune response tests showed a 'significantly higher' response in the supplement group, especially during the first 14 days of supplementation. Researchers also found that respiratory tract infections were reduced by more than 13% in the supplement group, compared to the placebo group.
Among those in the supplement group who did develop respiratory infections:
A recently published pediatric study also had very promising results. The 18 month study examined the effect of probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium on children aged 3 to 5. The results showed that:
“Daily probiotic dietary supplementation during the winter months was a safe effective way to reduce episodes of fever, rhinorrhea, and cough, the cumulative duration of those symptoms, the incidence of antibiotic prescriptions, and the number of missed school days attributable to illness,” wrote the authors.
When considering ways to boost immunity and fight against flu, consider the benefits of disease fighting foods and supplements containing prebiotics (indigestible starches and certain types of fiber), combined with foods and supplements containing probiotic Lactobacilli or Bifidobacteria strains.
Dr. Reginald B. Cherry, M.D.
Christian Post Contributor