While googling home remedies might be your first port of call, new research suggests there could be a simpler solution to treating the common cold.
A new trial of probiotic drinks to treat the flu and infection has shown promising results.
The results, published in the clinical journal Synthetic and Systems Biology, found that a yogurt probiotic drink can help reduce symptoms of the common cold and the risk of upper respiratory infections (URIs).
During the study, scientists tested three different probiotic strains: Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus casei 431, and Lactobacillus fermentium PCC. Findings suggest the supplement was effective in helping to stave off cold and flu-like respiratory infections by improving the immune system in patients who fell ill four or more times over the past year.
Recruiting 134 patients from the Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, aged between 25 and 45, researchers administered a daily dose of either a 150ml probiotic yogurt drink, which includes the three probiotic strains, or a 150ml placebo yogurt drink.
Participants consumed the drink daily, after lunch, for 12 weeks. Researchers collected blood and faecal samples from subjects at the beginning and the end of the study.
Results were undeniable: 16.4 per cent of the placebo group suffered from flu-like symptoms while only 4.5 per cent of the probiotic group showed flu-like symptoms. In both groups, there was at least one person suffering symptoms from URI. Symptoms include: coughing, nasal congestion, headache and muscle pain.
“(The beverage is) safe and effective for fighting the common cold and influenza-like respiratory infections by boosting the immune system,” conclude the study authors.
While there was good evidence to suggest that probiotic supplements could help boost the immune system, further research is needed to see how it can be treated in the fight against infection and disease.