The ProChild Study

Probiotics and vitamin C for the prevention of respiratory tract infections in children attending preschool; a randomized controlled pilot study

Aim

This randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study investigated the efficacy of Lab4 probiotics with vitamin C in significantly reducing the symptoms of coughs and colds in young children, who are the most susceptible age group.

Method

  • 57 children aged 3-6 years were divided into two groups.
  • The first group received a chewable tablet containing the 12.5 billion Lab4 probiotics plus 50mg vitamin C daily for 6 months.
  • The second group of children took a placebo chewable tablet.
  • The study recorded the number and duration of upper respiratory tract infections (characterised by symptoms of sore throat, coughing, sneezing, blocked or runny nose), absence from preschool, visits to the GP and prescription of medications (particularly antibiotics) daily for 6 months.

Results

  • 49% significant reduction in the duration of all symptoms of coughs and colds in the group taking Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C compared to placebo (Fig 1, *P<0.05).
  • 33% significant reduction in the incidence of cough and cold symptoms in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C (Fig 2, *P<0.05).
Fig 1: Total number of days with cough and cold symptoms

 

Fig 2: Reduction in incidence of symptoms of coughs and colds

 

  • Significant reduction in the use of cough and cold medicine in the group taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C (Fig 3, *P<0.05).
  • 24.1% of children in the placebo group received oral antibiotics compared to only 14.3%  of children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C (Fig 4).
Fig 3: Total number of days of medication usage

 

Fig 4: Number of children with at least one day of oral antibiotic use

 

  • 30% significant reduction in the incidence of absenteeism from school in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C (P=0.007). The number of days with absence due to coughs and colds alone were virtually halved in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C (Fig 5, 14.2 days in placebo vs 7.5 days in the Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C group).
  • The number of visits to the GP for any reason was reduced by 43% with the use of Lab4 probiotics and Vitamin C (Fig 6).
Fig 5: Total number of days absent from preschool facilities

 

Fig 6: Total number of physician visits

 

Conclusion

Lab4 probiotics in combination with vitamin C significantly reduced the incidence and duration of both coughs and colds and absenteeism from school.

Reference

Garaiova I et al 2015.
Probiotics and vitamin C for the prevention of respiratory tract infections in children attending preschool: a randomised controlled pilot study.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69: 373-379