Probiotics May Help College Kids Recover from Colds Quicker

October 11, 2012

Researchers found a 34% reduction in the median severity of respiratory infection symptoms.

College students susceptible to common colds due to little sleep, stress, and close living quarters may get an immune boost from certain probiotic strains, according to a study to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The study involves probiotic strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (BB-12), both from ingredient supplier Chr. Hansen (Hørsholm, Denmark).

The placebo-controlled study looked at 198 college students living on campus in residence halls at Framingham State University. Researchers studied the effects of the probiotic strains on respiratory infection symptoms, including duration, severity, and the impact of symptoms. Students were given either a placebo or a powder blend containing the BB-12 and LGG probiotic strains. Students were surveyed on the effects.

Researchers found a 34% reduction in the median severity of symptoms, as well as a two-day shortening of the duration of upper respiratory tract infections, compared with placebo. The probiotics group also missed 0.2 fewer school days compared with the placebo group.

“In conclusion, the study indicates that BB-12 and LGG shortens the duration of colds and minimizes the severity for college students, and reduces missed school days,” says Birgit Michelsen, Chr. Hansen’s director of scientific affairs, health and nutrition.

The study is titled “Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (BB-12) on health-related quality of life in college students with upper respiratory infections.”