Ear, Nose and Throat

Probiotics to prevent upper respiratory tract infections

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. These studies show quite a difference between the key bacterial players in the respiratory tract compared to the ones in the gastro-intestinal tract. Data indicate
that, just like in the gastro-intestinal tract, imbalances in the microbiota seem to play an important role in the susceptibility to infections. A healthy upper respiratory tract microbiota provides us with local colonization resistance. A lack of commensals might lead to outgrowth of potential pathogenic bacteria, consequently resulting in respiratory illness.

Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), more commonly known as the cold, a sore throat and the flu, are caused by an (acute) infection of a region in the upper respiratory tract. URTIs are a common problem and the number one reason for a doctor’s visit. URTIs can develop from a disruption of the local microbiota by viruses and bacteria.

Common illnesses of the upper respiratory tract include; tonsillitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, otitis media and common cold.

ear nose throat


Frequently occurring URTIs are bacterial ear and throat infections. Particularly young children are prone to URTIs due to an immature immune system and high colonization rates of potential pathogens in the upper respiratory tract. In addition, their anatomical immaturity also makes them more susceptible to URTIs. Treatments of URTIs vary between countries and include prescription of antibiotics or, in more severe cases, surgery. In some cases doctors let the infection run its course, causing discomfort and stress to the child and its parents. A major disadvantage of the traditional treatments is that they only relieve symptoms and fail to tackle the underlying cause leading to recurrence1. Therefore, Winclove has developed Winclove Respiratory. The bacterial strains in Winclove Respiratory restore the microbial balance in the upper respiratory tract and boost the immune system. The formulation offers a natural means for the prevention of URTIs.


Winclove's probiotic formulations for ENT health: