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Probiotics may help support a healthy respiratory system in babies and young children 

Mom and child respiratory health and probiotics
5 Min read

High-quality studies suggest that the Lactobacillus rhamnosus, LGG® and Bifidobacterium, BB-12® (hereafter referred to by use of the trademarks LGG® and BB-12®) strains may help support a healthy respiratory system and cold and flu-like symptoms in babies and children.


The immune system of babies and young children is not fully developed,1 therefore they are more vulnerable to respiratory tract infections.2

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Respiratory tract infections often lead to colds and flu-like sickness 

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are one of the most common health problems seen in day-to-day health care.Triggered by a broad range of bacteria and viruses, they are characterized by colds, and flu-like symptoms, and are particularly prevalent in children.4 The risk of developing an RTI is 2-3 times higher in children who attend daycare compared to those who are cared for at home.5

Although most RTIs tend to go away on their own, they are still the most common reason for visits to the doctor and for the prescription of antibiotics in children.6

Dad and young child probiotics help support respiratory health

Probiotics help support respiratory health 

In high-quality clinical studies, babies and children who were given the LGG® or BB-12® probiotic had a lower incidence of respiratory tract infections, compared to children who had not been given LGG® or BB-12®.7-11


Colds and flu-like symptoms are often related to respiratory tract infections.

LGG® helps support respiratory health in children

In children who consumed LGG® every day for 3 months, there was a significant reduction in the number of RTIs. The length of time that children experienced symptoms in the study was also reduced.Compared to children in the placebo group, the children who were given LGG® also had significantly fewer days away from daycare due to illness.7

38% counter gif
fewer children experienced cold and flu-like symptoms

On average


days less away from day care vs. placebo according to the study

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Use of LGG® also may help support respiratory health in children who have been hospitalized for other reasons.8 In another study, when children admitted to hospital were given fermented milk that had been supplemented with LGG®, there were fewer digestive system infections that lasted more than two days, and fewer respiratory infections that lasted more than three days, compared to children administered a placebo.8
Click to read more about the Chr. Hansen LGG® strain

Studies suggest that BB-12® also support respiratory health in babies. In a study, babies given BB-12® from the age of 1-month until they were 2 years old experienced a lower incidence of colds and flu-like symptoms.9, 10
Click to read more about the Chr. Hansen BB-12® strain

As discussed in this article, the LGG® and BB-12® probiotic strains may help support respiratory health in babies and children. Studies suggest that LGG® supplementation may help reduce the severity of symptoms and correlates to fewer days of absence from daycare.

Read about what to look for when choosing a probiotic.

Read about how probiotics may help with managing occasional diarrhea and excessive crying and fussing in babies.

LGG® and BB-12® are registered trademarks of Chr. Hansen A/S.

The article is provided for informational purposes regarding probiotics and is not meant to suggest that any substance referenced in the article is intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent any disease.

Bifidobacterium, BB-12® 

The probiotic strain Bifidobacterium, BB-12® is the world’s most documented probiotic bifidobacterium. It has been extensively studied and has been associated with improved outcomes across various health areas.

BB-12® is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S

BB-12 consumer logo TM

References Open Close

1. Ygberg S, Nilsson A. The developing immune system - from foetus to toddler. Acta Paediatr. 2012;101(2):120-7. (PubMed)

2. Tregoning JS, Schwarze J. Respiratory viral infections in infants: causes, clinical symptoms, virology, and immunology. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2010;23(1):74-98. (PubMed)

3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Respiratory tract infections (selflimiting): prescribing antibiotics. 2008. (Source)

4. Cotton M, et al. Management of upper respiratory tract infections in children. S Afr Fam Pract (2004). 2008;50(2):6-12. (PubMed)

5.Lu N, et al. Child day care risks of common infectious diseases revisited. Child Care Health Dev. 2004;30(4):361-8. (PubMed)

6. Lenoir-Wijnkoop et al. Public health and budget impact of probiotics on common respiratory tract infections: a modelling study. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 10;10(4):e0122765 (PubMed)

7. Hojsak I, et al. Lactobacillus GG in the prevention of gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections in children who attend day care centers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Nutr. 2010;29(3):312-6. (PubMed)

8. Hojsak I, et al. Lactobacillus GG in the prevention of nosocomial gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections. Pediatrics. 2010;125(5):e1171-7. (PubMed)

9. Taipale T, et al. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 in reducing the risk of infections in infancy. Br J Nutr. 2011;105(3):409-16. (PubMed)

10. Taipale TJ, et al. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 in reducing the risk of infections in early childhood. Pediatr Res. 2016;79(1-1):65-9. (PubMed)

11. Hatakka K, et al. Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial. BMJ. 2001;322(7298):1327. (PubMed)

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