By Debbie Schmidt, RD
Great news for parents—fewer runny noses, coughs, fevers, flu-like symptoms, fewer antibiotics and fewer days of missed school can all be yours by the simple administration of probiotics!!
A 2009 study appearing in Pediatrics has found supplementation of Lactobacillus acidophilus, alone or in combination with Bifidobacterium animalis, twice daily over the course of six months, which included winter, the season of sickness, was protective in children.
When given Lactobacillus acidophilus, incidence of coughing was reduced by 41% and fever by 53%.
When given both Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis there was a GREATER benefit: cough, fever, and runny noses were reduced by 63%, 74%, and 59% respectively. Symptoms also were of a shorter duration.
Antibiotic use decreased 68% for single dose and 84% with the combination doses (as compared to those receiving the placebo).
As you enter the flu season, it would be helpful to add in probiotics (as well as vitamin D – everyone should find out if their blood vitamin D levels are adequate, children included). Yogurts are a good probiotics choice, but so are other fermented foods like kefir, miso, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, fermented condiments, and of course, supplements can be a good back-up option.
When it comes to yogurt, start with a good quality yogurt that does not contain artificial ingredients, name brands like …
- Organic Valley’s Drinkable Live Organic Yogurt (more info at http://www.organicvalley.coop/products/yogurt/) which uses a special blend of live probiotics and their top of the line organic milk
- Greek yogurt like the Oikos, Fage, or Chobani
- Stonyfield organic yogurts (including Yo’Baby and their Super Organic Smoothies at 140 cals that contain
three live probiotics strains)
- Or make your own! Here’s a step-by-step tutorial you may enjoy—http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/
Pediatric study can be found at: