The average UK absence rate for school children is around 4-5%, with 1 in 10 children being classed as persistently absent. While there are a number of other factors and reasons for not attending school, one of the most unnecessary is sickness, coughs and colds. Adults have around 2-3 colds per year, and children are susceptible to experience even more. There has been growing evidence that, beyond just having effects on our digestive system, probiotic supplements can positively impact our immune system.

A systematic review in 2015 (1) concluded that probiotics reduce the number of people experiencing episodes of coughs and colds, the mean duration of the symptoms, and antibiotic use.

Following this evidence, a further study (2) looked investigated the efficacy of Lab4 probiotics with vitamin C in reducing the symptoms of coughs and colds in young children.

Fit for School ProVen Probiotics

  • Provides 12.5 billion Lab4 acidophilus & bifidus per tablet
  • Vitamin C
  • Strawberry flavoured
  • Chewable tablets designed specifically for children
  • 30 tablets

Find out more...

The set up


In total, 57 children aged 3-6 years were recruited and then divided into two groups. Group 1 received a placebo chewable tablet daily for 6 months while group 2 received a chewable tablet containing 12.5 billion Lab4 probiotics plus 50mg vitamin C daily for 6 months.

The researchers then recorded the number and duration of upper respiratory tract infections (characterised by symptoms of sore throat, coughing, sneezing, blocked or runny nose), absence from preschool, visits to the GP and medication usage including antibiotics daily for 6 months.


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The Results

At the end of the 6 months, there was a 49% significant reduction in the duration of all symptoms of coughs and colds in the group taking Lab4 probiotics and vitamin C compared to placebo and a 33% significant reduction in the incidence of cough and cold symptoms in children taking the Lab4 probiotics and vitamin C.

ProChild study on cold symptoms - ProVen ProbioticsProChild study on reduction in incidence - ProVen Probiotics


Those in the probiotic group also used fewer medications such as cough and cold medicines and antibiotics, and fewer visits to the GP. What is perhaps one of the biggest findings came in the form of days off from school.


There was a 30% reduction in the number of children that had at least one day off from school due to illness, as well as the total number of days off by children in the probiotic group.

These were remarkable results and hopefully the first of more studies to investigate the effects of probiotics on the immune function of children. As there were no blood or stool samples collected during the study, the exact mechanism for how the probiotics may have had a positive impact is not clear. However, the results are a positive sign for the future of probiotic research and immune function.


1 - Hao, Q., Dong, B. R., & Wu, T. (2015). Probiotics for preventing acute upper respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2).

2 - Garaiova, I., Muchová, J., Nagyová, Z., Wang, D., Li, J. V., Országhová, Z., ... & Ďuračková, Z. (2015). Probiotics and vitamin C for the prevention of respiratory tract infections in children attending preschool: a randomised controlled pilot study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition69(3), 373-379.


If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.


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