Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04 reduces risk of common cold
A recent randomised double-blind placebo-controlled (see Probiotics Learning Lab for more glossary terms) trial has reported the potential benefits of Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04 supplementation, which is associated with a significant 27% reduction in the risk of any Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) compared to a placebo.
Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), also known as the common cold, plague many of us each year; generally adults will suffer from two to three colds per year, whereas young children will experience as many as four or five per year.
The study involved 465 participants, comprised of 241 males and 224 females. They were divided into three groups, and two groups were requested to take different combinations of live cultures as a probiotic supplement. One group took a single strain ofBidifobacterium lactis Bl-04 bacteria, the second group took a combination ofLactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 and the third group took a placebo supplement. The results of this study are very clear in demonstrating that the risk of an upper respiratory illness was markedly lower in the Bl-04 group. In the group taking the Bl-04 strain of bacteria, the risk of contracting a URTI was reduced by a very impressive 27%.
Interestingly, a recent meta-analysis on vitamin C supplementation in the prevention of the common cold in the general population was reported to be not significant. Therefore, as this study indicates, supplementation with live cultures is potentially more beneficial than taking Vitamin C in reducing the risk of contracting the common cold.
This study was carried out using 2 billion BI-04 live cultures, and supports the evidence that supplementation with certain strains of live cultures can have benefits in reducing risk of URTI in otherwise healthy adults. Reducing the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections will clearly have positive implications for overall health and wellbeing, and we are very pleased that the potential benefits of the Bl-04 bacteria strain has been documented.
Reference: West NP,Horn PL, Pyne DB, Gebski VJ, Lahtinen SJ, Fricker PA, Cripps AW,Probiotic supplementation for respiratory and gastrointestinal illness symptoms in healthy physically active individuals, Clinical Nutrition (2013), doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.10.002.