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Probiotics May Shorten Your Cold

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20 million workdays and the equivalent of $40 billion are lost every year due to the common cold. Studies show that probiotics may be able to decrease the duration and severity of colds. Probiotics are good bacteria that are normally present in the human GI tract and are key to proper immune function. Unfortunately, many of us do not have optimal amounts of these good bacteria due to poor diet or taking antibiotics (which can kill off both good and bad bacteria). This can allow our bad bacteria to overgrow and cause a wide variety of health problems.

A recent analysis of 20 randomized, controlled trials shows that probiotics can help reduce the duration of the common cold and other respiratory tract infections (RTIs). In those who took probiotics, the length of an RTI was reduced anywhere from one day less to half the usual duration in people who took probiotics. The study also showed that days missed from work or school were significantly reduced. Previous studies have shown that regularly taking probiotics can help prevent colds before they start because they can increase immune function. This is not a quick fix, however; starting a probiotic after cold symptoms are present likely will not make a difference in the length of an illness.

CarePro Advance Health and the retail pharmacy locations carry several probiotic supplements that contain a blend of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, the two strains studied in the analysis mentioned above. There is also a wide range of strengths available. Connect with your CarePro pharmacist to find the right probiotic for you.