Every year, approximately 55% of university students experience at least one upper respiratory infection. In a new study, an international research team investigated the impact of probiotic supplementation in a group of American college students.
The study was led by Tracey Smith, adjunct professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey,
A total of198 college students living on campus in residence halls at Framingham State University were selected to receive either a placebo (97 students) or a powder blend containing Chr Hansen's probiotic strains BB-12 and LGG (101 students) for 12 weeks. Each day the students completed a survey to assess the effect of the probiotic supplementation.
Smith said: "We know that certain probiotic strains support immune health and may improve health - related quality of life during upper respiratory infections.
"This study assessed how probiotic supplementation affects the duration and severity of symptoms, plus their impact on daily life, when infected."
The median duration of upper respiratory infections was significantly shorter by two days (four days versus six), and median severity score was significantly lower by 34% with probiotics versus placebo, she added.
The probiotics group missed 0.2 fewer college days compared with the placebo group.
"In conclusion, the study indicates that BB-12 and LGG shortens the duration of colds and minimises the severity of the effect for college students and reduces missed school days," said Chr Hansen's Birgit Michelsen, director of scientific affairs, health and nutrition division.
"The study findings confirm immune health benefits that we have documented in previous studies and which we are continuously substantiating in our ambitious programme of probiotic clinical studies," said Michelsen.