A new study sponsored by Chr. Hansen has revealed that taking probiotics can reduce the duration, frequency and severity of flu-like sickness resulting in significant savings for the US economy.
Flu-like sickness has a negative impact on the healthcare system due to its high frequency and severity. The common condition results in a high number of consultancy appointments, medical prescriptions – in particular antibiotics – and lost working days which collaboratively creates a significant cost to the US economy.
Published on 27 August in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, the health economic study was conducted and reviewed by independent academic and industry experts from the US, Netherlands and France. The group of researchers have built upon existing data by creating a simulation model to test the cost savings from using probiotics in a US primary care setting.
The results revealed a positive correlation demonstrating how the health benefits of probiotics can cause significant savings in the health care system for the individual and society by reducing the number of sick days, visits to the doctor and prescriptions.
The collection of microorganisms in an environment, known as the ‘microbiome’, plays an important role in human health. According to the study probiotic bacterial strains interact with the microbiome and help develop and maintain a healthy immune system.
The recent study shows that in the US alone, taking probiotics can reduce the number of sick days by over 54 million days per year or equally a reduction of 61%. As well as saving the US economy a productivity loss of $919 million per year, the study also claims that if the US population takes probiotics, up to 2.2 million antibiotic prescriptions can be avoided each year.
This research was supported by an unrestricted grant from Chr. Hansen, a major producer of probiotic supplements. The sponsor was not involved in the study design, collection and analysis of the data.