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Supporting respiratory health with probiotics in infants & children

Mom and child respiratory health and probiotics
Documented facts

How to support respiratory health:

Strain: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, LGG®1
Dose: 1 billion CFU/day1
Duration: 3 months1

Innate immune responses (such as type 1 interferon [IFN] responses) and adaptive immune responses (such as type 1 T helper cell [Th1] responses) are both critical for host defense against viral infections.2, 3 Young children have an immature immune system and exhibit reduced type 1 IFN and Th1 responses,4 and thus are more susceptible to URTIs.5

RTIs – the most common problem dealt with in primary care

Acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are the most common acute health problems attended to in primary care.6 Caused by a large range of bacteria and viruses, acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are a major cause of morbidity, especially in children.7 The risk of acquiring an RTI is 2-3 times higher in children who attend day-care compared to those who are cared for at home.8

Despite most URTIs being self-limiting, they are the most common cause for visits to healthcare practitioners and for the prescription of antibiotics in children. URTIs therefore cause a substantial social and economic burden.9

Since effective antiviral therapies are not available for most URTIs, other therapies are needed to help support defense against respiratory tract infections and to decrease symptom load. Therapies supporting proper immune function could serve this purpose.

Probiotics support the defense against respiratory tract infections

Some probiotic strains, such as the Chr. Hansen LGG® and BB-12® strains, have demonstrated an ability to stimulate immune responses that support the defense against pathogens.10-14 For example, several in vitro assays have shown that LGG® stimulates secretion of the Th1-associated cytokines IL-12, IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 from different immune cell types.11-14

Stimulation of Th1 responses has also been observed in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study in which infants with cow’s milk allergy consumed LGG® or placebo for four weeks. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from infants who had consumed the probiotic secreted significantly higher levels of the Th1 cytokine IFN-γ ex vivo compared with PBMCs from the placebo group.15

Dad and young child probiotics help support respiratory health

Clinical studies

Furthermore, evidence from randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled studies investigating the LGG® and BB-12® strains in infants and children have demonstrated significant reductions in the risk of developing RTIs.16-19

LGG® clinical evidence

Daily intake of LGG® at 1 billion CFU over a 3 month period was associated with a significant reduction in the number of children with URTIs, the number of RTIs lasting longer than three days, and the duration of respiratory symptoms.1 Compared to children in the placebo group, children supplemented with LGG® also had significantly fewer days away from daycare due to illness.1

LGG® has also been associated with fewer hospital-acquired infections in children.16 When children admitted to hospital were supplemented with LGG® at 1 billion CFU/day in fermented milk for the length of their stay, there was a significant reduction in the number of gastrointestinal infections lasting longer than two days, and a significant reduction in the number of respiratory infections lasting longer than three days.16
Click to read more about the Chr. Hansen LGG® strain.

BB-12® clinical evidence

BB-12® has been associated with reduced incidence of respiratory infections in infants.17, 18 One-month old, healthy infants were supplemented with BB-12® at 10 billion CFU/day or with placebo until they were 8 months old. The infants supplemented with BB-12® had a significantly reduced risk of respiratory infections compared to placebo (65% vs 94%, P=0.014).17

Following the initial analysis, the same infants continued in their original treatment groups (placebo, or BB-12® at 10 billion CFU/day) until they were 2 years old. A similar effect was observed; the infants in the BB-12® group had significantly fewer RTIs than those in the placebo group. The risk of respiratory infections was 87% in the infants supplemented with BB-12® and 100% in placebo (P=0.033).18
Click to read more about the Chr. Hansen BB-12® strain.

LGG® supplementation associated with significant reduction in the number of children with respiratory infections1

Probiotics supplementation for respiratory tract health

As discussed in this article, the LGG® and BB-12® strains can be effective at supporting respiratory health in infants and children.
Read about and what to look for when choosing a probiotic.

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 trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S

BB-12 consumer logo TM

References Open Close

1. 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)
2. Haller O, et al. The interferon response circuit: induction and suppression by pathogenic viruses. Virology. 2006;344(1):119-30. (PubMed)
3. Swain SL, et al. Expanding roles for CD4(+) T cells in immunity to viruses. Nat Rev Immunol. 2012;12(2):136-48. (PubMed)
4. Ygberg S, Nilsson A. The developing immune system - from foetus to toddler. Acta Paediatr. 2012;101(2):120-7. (PubMed)
5. Tregoning JS, Schwarze J. Respiratory viral infections in infants: causes, clinical symptoms, virology, and immunology. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2010;23(1):74-98. (PubMed)
6. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Respiratory tract infections (selflimiting): prescribing antibiotics. 2008. (Source)
7. Cotton M, et al. Management of upper respiratory tract infections in children. S Afr Fam Pract (2004). 2008;50(2):6-12. (PubMed)
8. Lu N, et al. Child day care risks of common infectious diseases revisited. Child Care Health Dev. 2004;30(4):361-8. (PubMed)
9. Lenoir-Wiinkoop I, et al Public Health and Budget Impact of Probiotics on Common Respiratory Tract Infections: A Modeling Study. PLOS ONE April 10, 2015;10(4)  (PubMed)
10. Lopez P, et al. Distinct Bifidobacterium strains drive different immune responses in vitro. Int J Food Microbiol. 2010;138(1-2):157-65. (PubMed)
11. Miettinen M, et al. Lactobacilli and streptococci induce interleukin-12 (IL-12), IL-18, and gamma interferon production in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Infect Immun. 1998;66(12):6058-62. (PubMed)
12. Miettinen M, et al. Nonpathogenic Lactobacillus rhamnosus activates the inflammasome and antiviral responses in human macrophages. Gut Microbes. 2012;3(6):510-22. (PubMed)
13. Dong H, et al. Comparative effects of six probiotic strains on immune function in vitro. Br J Nutr. 2012;108(3):459-70. (PubMed)
14. Rocha-Ramírez LM, et al. Probiotic Lactobacillus Strains Stimulate the Inflammatory Response and Activate Human Macrophages. J Immunol Res. 2017;2017:4607491-. (PubMed)
15. Pohjavuori E, et al. Lactobacillus GG effect in increasing IFN-gamma production in infants with cow's milk allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004;114(1):131-6. (PubMed)
16. Hojsak I, et al. Lactobacillus GG in the prevention of nosocomial gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections. Pediatrics. 2010;125(5):e1171-7. (PubMed)
17. 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)
18. 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)
19. 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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