Workers who take probiotics daily are less likely to be off work with common illnesses, such as colds and gastroenteritis, than workers who don't. An exploratory study published today in the open access journal Environmental Health shows that workers who took a daily dose of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri were 2.5 times less likely to take sick leave than workers who took a placebo.
Py Tubelius, from Tetra Pak Occupational Health and Safety AB, and colleagues from BioGaia AB, in Lund, Sweden, conducted a study to assess the health benefits for adults of taking L. reuteri on a daily basis. A group of 181 staff (128 day workers and 53 shift workers) at the Tetra Pak factory in Lund agreed to take part in the study. The workers were randomly assigned at the start of the study, to receive a drink with or without L. reuteri, every day for a period of 80 days.
Twenty-three of the 87 workers in the group that took a placebo reported taking sick days during the 80 day-long study. In contrast, only 10 of the 94 workers that took L. reuteri reported taking any sick days during the study. The effect of L. reuteri was most significant in shift workers: none of the 26 shift workers in the reuteri group reported taking any sick leave, compared to nine out of 27 shift workers in the placebo group.
Article: Increasing work-place healthiness with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: A randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study Py Tubelius, Vlaicu Stan, Anders Zachrisson Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, 2005, In press
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