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Can Yoplait Chase the Flu Away?

Senin, 24 Agustus 2009

During the summer when kids would rather chase the ice cream man down the street than eat the GoGurt (portable squeezable yogurt) that they may be used to in their lunch bags, there may be a new reason to keep yogurt on the menu…even during the summer months. It seems that probiotics—the healthy bacteria found in food and dairy products like yogurt—may be able to prevent the flu.

he journal Pediatrics, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, just released new information regarding probiotics. Professionally known as T-probiotics, these live cultures are a type of “good” bacteria added to foods that are helpful for keeping the digestive system on track as well as boosting your immune system.

Even though the flu vaccine is still the most recommended form of prevention, natural health remedies are becoming more commonplace due to the easy access to supplements and other organic ingredients as well as a lowered cost than the doctor’s visit and the vaccination. If you think flu prevention is something that should only be talked about during the winter, the seasonal flu is a lot more prevalent than most of us know. Coughing, sore throat, fever, and runny nose are symptoms no one wants to deal with during summer especially during the strong heat and height of vacation season.

Danisco, a Danish supplement company, sponsored the probiotics study in which researchers followed a group of young children—almost 250 patients—between the ages of 3 to 5 years old over a period of six months. When given probiotics to two groups of children two times per day (either Lactobacillus acidophilus or a combination of L acidophilus and Bifidobacterium) during the half a year of research, their symptoms were found to be significantly lower than the third placebo group.

The former head of research and development at Danisco in Wisconsin, Gregory Leyer, the author of the study touts the positive influence of his results, “There was definitely a need to show a prophylactic benefit of probiotic consumption, especially in children…. About 60 to 80 percent of our immune cells are associated with gut [cells]. Hitting the immune system through the gut makes sense,” Leyer continues by saying, “I'm assuming that's how this product works. That kid's immune system is in a better state to fight off infections or reduce the symptoms quicker.”

As a non-drug, natural approach, exchanging antibiotics for probiotics seems like it could be a safer option for parents not wanting to give harsh drugs to their young children. The results speak volumes for the complementary—in addition to Western practices instead of alternative medicine being practiced in place of more popular methods—medicine movement. Both groups of young kids given probiotics (singular and combination) showed reduced fevers by 53 and 72 percent, coughing by over 41 and 62 percent, and the sniffles by 28 and 58 percent and also had to stay home due to flu symptoms fewer days than the placebo group. These children also had a quicker recovery time due to the carefully picked probiotics chosen by researchers aimed at preventing the flu virus.

If you would rather go natural, no matter what supplementation you choose to take (or give to your children) should not be a fleeting, quick-fix maneuver. Supplements help in the long-run and are supposed to be taken daily—or the recommended dosage—whichever works best for you, your doctor, and your body; so please be patient.

When you are looking for a sweet treat to keep the flu away and you want to beat the heat, you can also look into one of the many fro-yo chain stores in your neighborhood with the National Yogurt Association’s stamp of approval for probiotic levels. Another plus to the burgeoning trend of healthier frozen yogurt over the Cold Stone and Baskin Robbins ice cream vendors, is that many of the new ones are self-serve offering a easy way to cut cost and your flu risk while keeping your kids happy and healthy throughout the summer.

By: Lara Endreszl

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