Upper Respiratory Tract and Immune Health

The upper respiratory tract (URT) is composed of the airways located above the vocal cords, including the nose, sinuses, and throat.1 The URT naturally contains a wide variety of bacteria, and normal respiratory function depends on a healthy bacterial balance.2 It is important to maintain optimal URT health, especially through the winter months when schools are in session, and more children are indoors and are closer to one another.3
Recent research has investigated the role of probiotics and vitamins in immune health. Approximately 80% of the body’s active immune cells are located in the gastrointestinal tract, demonstrating an important interaction between the intestines and the immune system.4 Research demonstrates that probiotics, as well as vitamins C and D, can support URT health and promote optimal immune function in children and adolescents.5-6 All three factors promote the activity of immune cells, including cells involved in the ingestion of foreign particles and the production of antibodies.5,8,9

The ProChild Study

A recent clinical trial investigated the effects of probiotics on URT health in young children (aged 3-6 years).10 Fifty seven healthy children attending preschool were randomly assigned to consume either a placebo tablet or an active tablet containing both probiotics (12.5 billion CFU of Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL21 and CUL60, Bifidobacterium bifidum CUL 20, and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CUL34) and 50 mg of vitamin C daily for six months.10
When compared to the placebo treatment, supplementation with the active tablet significantly maintained URT health.10 The probiotic and vitamin C supplement significantly promoted immune activation, and supported both immune and nasal function.10 As the study was conducted between October and March, the combination of probiotics and vitamin C demonstrated a strong ability to support children’s immune health through the winter months.10
Although the children who participated in the ProChild study were young, probiotic researcher Dr. Nigel Plummer notes that combined probiotic and vitamin C supplementation can provide the same immune support to children of all ages – including children up to 18 years old.11 He suggests that with the new school year approaching, and with no side effects observed, supplementation with a combination of probiotics and vitamin C will support optimal immune and URT health in children.11

  1. Rohde, G. (2013). Upper Respiratory Tract Infections. In P. Palange & A.K. Simonds (Eds.) ERS Handbook Respiratory Medicine (pp. 190-193). Sheffield, UK: The European Respiratory Society.
  2. Bosch, AATM, Biesbroek, G, Trzcinski, K, Sanders, EAM, Bogaert, D. PLOS Pathogens. 2013; 9(1): e1003057.
  3. Stanford Children’s Health. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/
  4. Saavedra, JM. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2007; 22: 351–365.
  5. Gerasimov, SV, Vasjuta, VV, Myhovych, OO, Bondarchul, LI. Am J Clin Dermatol 2010; 11(5): 351-361.
  6. Gorton HC, Jarvis K. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999; 22(8): 530-533.
  7. Di Filippo P, Scaparrotta A, Rapino D, Cingolani A, Attanasi M, Petrosino MI, Chuang, K, di Pillo, S, Chiarelli, F. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2015; 166: 91-96.
  8. Manning, J, Mitchell, B, Appadurai, DA, Shakya, A, Pierce, LJ, Wang, H, Nganga, V, Swanson, PC, May, JM, Tantin, D, Spangrude, GJ. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2013; 19(17): 2054-2067.
  9. Rolf L, Muris AH, Hupperts R, Damoiseaux J. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 2014; 1317: 84–91.
  10. Garaiova I, Muchová J, Nagyová Z, Wang D, Li JV, Országhová Z, Michael, DR, Plummer, SF, Durackova, Z. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014; 174: 1–7.
  11. Plummer, N. The ProChild Study. Retrieved from http://www.lab4probiotics.co.uk/the-prochild-study/.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.