Probiotics Improve Digestion, But Do Little for Ear Infections

Cloudy olive oil1
Probiotics added to olive oil may aid indigestion.
While probiotics added to olive oil appear to be handy for indigestion, daily supplementation in children is reported to have only a modest effect on the common cold and no effect on ear and lung infections.

Probiotic Enriched Olive Oil

Olive oil is already good for you, but researchers in Italy felt that more could be done. Specifically, olive oil combined with probiotics might be a good method of treating dyspepsia, better known as indigestion. In a pilot study, eight individuals with dyspepsia were either given oil with probiotics or oil with extra antioxidants for seven days. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that while both groups had benefits, the probiotics appeared to help even more.

Help for the Common Cold?

Viruses cause upper respiratory infections. Interestingly enough, bacteria located in the nose and throat can influence the outcome of these kinds of infections. Researchers supported by the Finnish company, Valio Ltd., experimented with giving school children daily Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and determined if it lowered frequency of upper respiratory infections. While it did not lower the frequency or type of infection, probiotic supplementation did significantly lower the amount of time that the children were sick. Instead of seven days of being ill, children with probiotics recovered in six days.

No Benefit for Ear Infections

Many children develop ear infections, and it was hypothesized that supplementation with probiotics and prebiotics could prevent and/or minimize this disease in children. In a large study performed in France between 2007 and 2009, children that had previously experienced an ear infection were given a multi-strain probiotic or prebiotic. After a year, data was collected on the number of ear infections experienced and lower respiratory tract infections (infections of the lung). The probiotic/prebiotic treatments did not lead to any measurable clinical benefit.