Prepared Foods September 19, 2005 eNewsletter

Supplements of "friendly bacteria" can reduce the duration of the common cold by nearly a quarter, research has suggested.

A study comparing the effects of probiotic supplements with standard vitamins and minerals indicated that taking the former could help to lower the impact of winter infections.

In the study, presented at the European Influenza Conference in Malta, a group of 479 healthy adults aged between 18 and 67 was followed for three months. Half were given vitamin and mineral tablets, and half took Multibionta, a supplement that also contains probiotic bacteria.

Michael de Vrese, of the Federal Centre of Nutrition and Food in Kiel, Germany, who led the study, said that the probiotic bacteria shortened episodes of the common cold and reduced the severity of symptoms. The findings were published in Clinical Nutrition.

Source: The Times (London)