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Daily supplementation with the friendly intestinal bacterium Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus boosts the immune health of children preventing many infections according to new research. The researchers from Taiwan report that supplements of the probiotic led to an 18% reduction in the incidence of viral infections and a 17% reduction in the incidence of respiratory infections according to the study that included 986 children under the age of five.
The children were placed on either “no bacteria”, the one strain, or a combination of 12 bacterial strains (seven species of Lactobacillus, three types of bifidobacteria, one type of Streptococcus, and one type of Enterococcus). Significant reductions in bacterial infections were observed in the single strain (1.8 times) groups, but no reductions were observed in the multiple strain group. However, there was a reduction in gastrointestinal diseases observed in the multiple strain group with a 44% decrease in long-term digestive tract illness with little effect in the single-bacterial strain group. The study is published in the February 11th, 2009 issue of the journal Vaccine.