Oral Probiotics: Natural Remedy for Cold and Flu?

Q: Is BLIS K12 Probiotic Gum a natural remedy for the common cold and flu?

Professor John Tagg’s Answer:

Is BLIS K12 Probiotic Gum a natural remedy for cold and flu?The short answer is “yes.”

Awareness of the potential for anti-viral activity associated with the use of K12 preparations first came from some customer’s reports that heavy dosing with the product at the very first (prodromal) signs of an upper respiratory tract infection appeared sometimes to interfere with the customary clinical progression of their infection.

The interferons are cytokines that help trigger various protective defences of the immune system and some of these are especially important for fighting off virus infections. We found that (a)  the exposure of preparations of either mouse splenocytes or human leukocytes to K12 cells and (b) the consumption of large numbers of K12 cells by human subjects resulted in production of substantially elevated levels of gamma interferon. In other studies it has been shown that protection of the human host against virus infection can be triggered by gamma interferon (1) .

More recently (2)  K12 cells were shown to suppress bronchial and other epithelial cell inflammatory responses by inhibiting NF-kB pathways and other important immune cell functions.

My recommendation for those attempting to alleviate the progression of a viral upper respiratory tract infection is as follows –  at the very first signs of infection successively use 3 K12 chewing gums over a period of 10 -15 min and then repeat this another one or two times over the next two hours.


1.  Sethi S.K., Bianco, A., Allen, J.T., Knight, R.A., Spiteri, M.A. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) down-regulates the rhinovirus-induced expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) on human airway epithelial cells.Clin Exp Immunol 110: 362-9 (1997

2. Cosseau C., Devine D.A., Dullaghan E., Gardy J.L., Chikatamarla A., Gellatly S., Yu L.L., Pistolic J., Falsafi R., Tagg J., Hancock R.E. The commensal Streptococcus salivarius K12   downregulates the innate immune responses of human epithelial cells and promotes host-microbe homeostasis. Inf. Immun 76: 4163-75 (2008)

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