Using the commercial UP4 Junior formula from UAS Labs, the researchers reported that, while no reduction in the incidence of acute respiratory infection (ARI) was observed in the children, the probiotics were associated with milder infections and quicker recovery.
“The results of this study indicate that short-term and acute use of the probiotic plays a role in modification of ARI and can contribute to a novel viewpoint that probiotics can be given immediately before the potential acquisition of ARI,” wrote researchers from the Lviv National Medical University in Ukraine in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“The benefits of this approach are that it may significantly reduce the costs for the consumer and, together with an excellent safety profile of probiotics, may meet the general criteria that treatment and reducing the manifestation of mild disease can be accomplished with cheap and safe interventions.”
“The evidence is mounting…”
Dr Greg Leyer, Chief Scientific Officer at UAS Labs, welcomed the study’s findings.
“Evidence is mounting regarding the role probiotics can play in the health of children, with many studies pointing to supporting respiratory health during longer-term probiotic administration,” said Dr Leyer. “This study is unique in that it evaluated the effect of a finished commercial product instead of only an active ingredient, and it looked at a short-term, acute administration to a healthy child on the first day of the appearance of a sick household member.
“It’s remarkable that this acute administration of the probiotic to healthy kids resulted in significant benefits to the respiratory health in children. We’re thrilled to add to the body of evidence on probiotic benefits with two clinical studies to support our Junior formula.”
The study was supported as a part of a program approved by the Health Ministry of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian researchers included 225 healthy children aged 3-12 in their randomized, double-blind, controlled study. The intervention started on the first day that a household member became sick; the children were given either UP4 Junior supplements (5 billion colony-forming units per day with 50 mg of fructooligosaccharide) or rice maltodexrin (control). Intervention and follow-up lasted for two weeks or until the end of the secondary ARI in the child.
Results showed that there were no significant differences in the development of ARIs in the probiotic group compared to the control group (57% and 65%, respectively), but the probiotic was associated with a shorter time to resolve the secondary ARI compared to the control group (5 vs 7 days, respectively).
In addition, the infections in the children receiving probiotics were significantly milder, said the researchers.
“In the present trial, probiotics shortened the duration and reduced the severity of ARI in children, and this is a significant benefit to the child and associated caregiver,” they wrote. “Lack of the preventive action of probiotics but the improvement in the course of ARI was documented in [other studies, including those in] the general population of healthy adults, students living on campus and free-living elderly subjects. The observed effect can be explained by the systemic influence of probiotics on the modifiable host factors, including the immune system.”
Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.171
“Role of short-term use of L. acidophilus DDS-1 and B. lactis UABLA-12 in acute respiratory infections in children: a randomized controlled trial”
Authors: S.V. Gerasimov, V.A. Ivantsiv, L.M. Bobryk, et al.