Probiotics may reduce day-care illnesses

May 25, 2010 at 8:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers suggest probiotics -- in yogurt or supplements -- may help stem ear infections, flu and other illnesses common among children in day care.

Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, led by Dr. Daniel Merenstein, found a 19 percent decrease of common infections in children who daily ingested probiotics.

Specifically, the children had 24 percent fewer gastrointestinal infections -- such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting -- and 18 percent fewer upper respiratory tract infections -- such as ear infections, sinusitis and strep. However, the reduction in infections did not result in fewer missed school days.

"Our study had mixed results," Merenstein says in a statement. "Children in school or day care are especially susceptible to these illnesses. We did find some differences in infection rates but this did not translate to fewer missed school days or change in daily activity."

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study -- funded by The Dannon Co. Inc. and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition -- included 638 healthy children ages 3-6 who attend school five days a week.

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