While they might not be the holy grail cure for the common cold, probiotics sure could be the holy shot glass. A new review of research finds that consuming the bugs may decrease the duration of common upper respiratory tract infections (RTIs, or “The Crud”) by up to a day.
The research, which examined results of dozens of scientists across the world, was published in the British Journal of Nutrition and noted on Cambridgemedicine.
The systematic review looked at studies that provided healthy adults and kids with probiotics (Lactobacillus and/or Bifidobacterium strains present in yogurt or dairy supplements) or a placebo and then tracked symptoms once subjects got sick.
The collected data from the studies showed that subjects who had taken the probiotics had significantly fewer days of illness, shorter illness episodes and fewer days absent from daycare, school or work than the people who’d taken the placebo.
“The core of nutrition science is to advise on the construction of a diet that helps maintain health and reduce risk of disease,” wrote lead author, Dr. Sarah King, of the York Health Economics Consortium in the U.K.. “This paper shows that with the addition of live lactobacilli and bifidobacteria to your diet, the duration of upper respiratory tract infections (e.g. colds) could be shortened. Combined with results from a 2011 meta-analysis published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, which demonstrated that probiotics can reduce the incidence of upper RTIs, the implication of these findings are significant, and could translate into cost savings and quality of life improvements.”
If this news doesn’t make you happy, maybe you should up your daily dose of microbes. Another recent study published in Gastroenterology suggests that probiotics may help reduce anxiety.