Perhaps seniors should be getting more probiotics as the flu and cold season approaches. That’s because data are accumulating to suggest that good bacteria may be able to help ward off these viral diseases.
One study carried out in Italy found that regular long-term intake of certain probiotics reduced the likelihood of respiratory infection during the cold season. An earlier randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study from Germany had shown that a probiotic formulation with vitamins and minerals reduced incidence and severity of cold symptoms during the winter. More recently, a study carried out in Shanghai demonstrated that children who received probiotic supplements got substantially fewer colds, coughs and runny noses in the winter.
If all this preliminary research holds up, perhaps we would all be healthier during flu season if we ate more fermented foods containing beneficial bacterial or took probiotic supplements.
[International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Therapy and Toxicology, July, 2005]
[Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, Sept. 2008]
[Pediatrics, Aug, 2009]