Bacteria that are present in the body naturally and sometimes are added to food or dietary supplements might help ward off children's colds, researchers say.
A study done in China found that small children who drank a mixture of such bacteria known as probiotics in milk twice a day during the winter and spring had fewer colds, needed fewer antibiotics, and missed fewer days of school than children who drank plain milk.
Researchers have shown in some studies that probiotics can benefit those who are already ill with various conditions, and the bacteria are thought to boost the immune system's response to invaders. Whether they were effective at preventing sickness, however, was unclear.
The study in China involved 326 children, ages 3 to 5, who were assigned randomly to three groups: one given milk with a bacterium called Lactobacillus acidophilus mixed in, another that received the same organism along with a strain of another bacterium, Bifidobacterium animalis, and a third that received just milk with placebo. MORE>>>>>>>>>>