Probiotics may help children as well as grownups fight off colds and other upper respiratory tract infections. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis of 14 randomized controlled studies carried out around the world. The review was conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, an organization of volunteers that reviews and analyzes medical studies for evidence of effectiveness. It is considered one of the most authoritative sources of information of medical practice. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. They are also found in cultured foods such as yogurt. In this analysis, people getting probiotics were less likely to come down with upper respiratory tract infections and less likely to need antibiotics to overcome their infection.
[Cochrane Library, online Sept. 7, 2011]