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Probiotics to prevent upper respiratory tract infections


Coline Gerristen*, Geline Ormel
*Corresponding author
Winclove Probiotics, Hulstweg 11, 1032 LB Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are illnesses caused by an infection of mucosal surfaces in the nose, sinuses, pharynx and/or larynx. These infections include the common cold, rhinosinusitis,  tonsillitis and otitis media and are very common, especially among infants, children and elderly. URTIs are  among the most common reasons for people to visit their doctor and they account for a large part of antibiotic use in high-income countries. Although antibiotics are very effective in clearing infections, they come with negative side-effects such as antibiotic resistance. This has prompted researchers to look into more natural alternatives, such as probiotics, for treatment and/or prevention of URTIs. Mechanisms by which probiotics may be effective are thought to be related to restoration of the microbial balance in the upper respiratory tract and stimulation of the immune response. Based on these scientific insights the probiotic formulation, Winclove 381 Respiratory, to prevent URTIs was developed.


The importance of the microbial communities living in our intestinal tract for our health is well known. Due to extensive research we have learned that establishment of a symbiotic relation between the host and the gut microbiota in early life is crucial for optimal health later in life. However, only recently we have started to appreciate the role of the microbial communities that inhabit the upper respiratory tract. Nevertheless, the upper respiratory tract, just like our intestines, needs a variety of bacteria to maintain human health.
The upper respiratory tract is an important site of pathogen colonization. In order to colonize and/or outgrow in the upper respiratory tract, bacterial pathogens must compete with each other and with commensal members. If the commensal microbiota is compromised, for example by use of antibiotics, antimicrobial nasal sprays, or a weakened immune system, pathogens may be able to cause upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). Recently, studies have been published addressing the microbial communities that inhabit the upper respiratory tract (1,2). These studies show quite a difference between the k ...

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