Probiotics for Ear and Nose Infections

Please note that each trial is not described in detail. In some trials, drugs, prebiotics and/or additional nutrients were provided that may help the beneficial bacteria be more effective. Also the setting, procedure, and dose for each trial are rarely similar. For more details, search for the reference in Google to find the original publication. The simplest way is to copy and paste the title.

The use of probiotics for ear and nose infections may sound unusual. However, probiotics enhance the immune system, and that helps protect you against infection. Most trials are run in healthy or infection-prone individuals. In the trials, probiotics are given daily over long periods of time. How often the individuals become sick is recorded. In some studies, harmful bacteria species in the nose are measured. Groups are compared to placebo groups.

Probiotic SupplementsImprovements Seen in TrialReferences
ProbioticsReduced severity of upper
respiratory infection
B. breve 99
L. rhamnosus GG LC705
P.freudenreichii JS
No improvement in otitis
(Ear infection)
Helped prevent respiratory
infections in newborns
2, 3
B. lactis
L. plantarum
L. rhamnosus
Reduced incidence and
severity of upper respiratory infections
B. lactis HN019Reduced incidence respiratory infections5
B. lactis BB-12No improvement in otitis.
Reduced incidence respiratory infections
L. casei DN-114 001Reduced duration of respiratory infections7
L. fermentum CECT5716Reduced infections8
L. rhamnosusReduced incidence respiratory infections
Reduced bad bacteria in nose
9, 10

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


1.         Tiollier, E. C., M.; Gomez-Merino, D.; Drogou, C.; Filaire, E.; Guezennec, C. Y. 2007. Effect of a probiotics supplementation on respiratory infections and immune and hormonal parameters during intense military training. Mil Med 172:1006-1011.

2.         Hatakka, K. B., K.; Pohjavuori, S.; Kaijalainen, T.; Poussa, T.; Leinonen, M.; Korpela, R.; Pitkaranta, A. 2007. Treatment of acute otitis media with probiotics in otitis-prone children-a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised study. Clin Nutr 26:314-321.

3.         Kukkonen, K. S., E.; Haahtela, T.; Juntunen-Backman, K.; Korpela, R.; Poussa, T.; Tuure, T.; Kuitunen, M. 2008. Long-term safety and impact on infection rates of postnatal probiotic and prebiotic (synbiotic) treatment: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatrics 122:8-12.

4.         Pregliasco, F. A., G.; Fonte, L.; Giussani, F.; Schieppati, S.; Soletti, L. 2008. A new chance of preventing winter diseases by the administration of synbiotic formulations. J Clin Gastroenterol 42 Suppl 3 Pt 2:S224-233.

5.         Sazawal, S. D., U.; Hiremath, G.; Sarkar, A.; Dhingra, P.; Dutta, A.; Verma, P.; Menon, V. P.; Black, R. E. 2010. Prebiotic and probiotic fortified milk in prevention of morbidities among children: community-based, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. PLoS One 5:e12164.

6.         Taipale, T. P., K.; Isolauri, E.; Larsen, C.; Brockmann, E.; Alanen, P.; Jokela, J.; Soderling, E. 2011. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 in reducing the risk of infections in infancy. Br J Nutr 105:409-416.

7.         Guillemard, E. T., F.; Lacoin, F.; Schrezenmeir, J. 2010. Consumption of a fermented dairy product containing the probiotic Lactobacillus casei DN-114001 reduces the duration of respiratory infections in the elderly in a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr 103:58-68.

8.         Maldonado, J. C., F.; Sempere, L.; Vela, F.; Sanchez, A. R.; Narbona, E.; Lopez-Huertas, E.; Geerlings, A.; Valero, A. D.; Olivares, M.; Lara-Villoslada, F. 2012. Human milk probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 reduces the incidence of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tract infections in infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 54:55-61.

9.         Lin, J. S. C., Y. H.; Lin, N. T.; Chu, C. H.; Huang, K. C.; Liao, K. W.; Peng, K. C. 2009. Different effects of probiotic species/strains on infections in preschool children: A double-blind, randomized, controlled study. Vaccine 27:1073-1079.

10.       Forestier, C. G., D.; Cluytens, V.; Gillart, T.; Sirot, J.; De Champs, C. 2008. Oral probiotic and prevention of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study in intensive care unit patients. Crit Care 12:R69.