The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Probiotic effects on cold and influenza symptoms

    An international group of researchers report that taking a dietary probiotic for 6 months reduced the signs and symptoms of colds, and prescription drug use in children.

    First, the details.

    • 326 children (3 to 5 years of age) were randomly assigned to treatment group.
      • Placebo
      • Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM
      • L. acidophilus NCFM + Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis Bi-07.
    • The children were treated twice daily for 6 months during the winter.
    • Neither the children nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

    And, the results compared to placebo.

    • Significantly reduced incidence of fever by 53% and 73%, coughing by 41% and 62%, and runny nose by 28% and 59% with single and combined probiotics, respectively.
    • Significantly decreased duration of fever, coughing, and runny nose by 32% and 48%, with single and combined probiotics, respectively.
    • Antibiotic use significantly decreased by 68% and 84% with single and combined probiotics, respectively.
    • Children taking probiotics had significant 32% and 28% reductions in days absent from group childcare with single and combined probiotics, respectively.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Daily dietary probiotic supplementation for 6 months was a safe effective way to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, and cough incidence and duration and antibiotic prescription incidence, as well as the number of missed school days attributable to illness, for children 3 to 5 years of age.”

    An article on NutraIngredients.com discusses the potential mechanism of action of probiotics when used for this purpose.

    Caution related to the use of probiotics is discussed here.

    8/2/09 19:30 JR

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