With the publication of the world’s largest clinical study on the immune effect of probiotics in adults, Chr. Hansen has obtained results indicating that the probiotic strain named L. CASEI 431® can shorten the duration of the common cold and influenza-like illness, potentially lowering the use of health care resources and reducing the need for antibiotics.
The socio-economics of common colds
From a bottle of cough syrup to missed time at work and school, the price tag of catching a cold can add up. In the US, studies have estimated the annual cost of the common cold to between 25–40 billion USD per annum and approx. 70–120 million lost work days1. While an often overlooked cause of health-related productivity losses, the socio-economic costs of the common cold exceeds other and more severe health conditions such as asthma, heart failure and emphysema. In addition to the burden on government healthcare expenditures, the increased use of antibiotics to treat common cold and influenza-like symptoms also contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance; an area of growing public health concern.
How the right probiotic strain may help
To better understand the role that probiotics—also known as “good bacteria”—can play in addressing global health challenges, Chr. Hansen conducted the world’s largest study on the immune effect of probiotics in adults in 2011.
Results from the study indicate that in cases of common colds and influenza-like illness, the number of sick days was reduced from eight days in the placebo group compared to five in the group that consumed a daily dairy beverage with 1 billion live bacteria (L. CASEI 431®). Furthermore, the proportion of subjects who used the healthcare system during the follow-up period was reduced from 28% to 22%.