The common cold – could probiotics help?

Dr Gemma Walton, Dr Caroline Childs

Season 1


Clear understanding of:
  • The gut bacteria
  • What probiotics can do
Be aware of:
  • Sample size
  • Different strains of probiotics
  • Outcomes
Be able to:
  • Consider human trials in probiotics
  • Consider study outcomes


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Dr Gemma Walton, Lecturer in Metagenomics, University of Reading

Expert speaker

Dr Gemma Walton
Lecturer in Metagenomics, University of Reading.

Gemma Walton has been studying the gut microbiota for the last 18 years. Research interests include how the gut bacteria can impact on our health and how we can modulate this community.

Paper reference

The session discusses Michael de Vrese’s 2006 paper Probiotic bacteria reduced duration and severity but not the incidence of common cold episodes in a double blind, randomized, controlled trial. It explores common cold incidence with and without probiotic intervention was explored – an interesting study that deserves re-visiting.

About Journal Club Chair, Dr Caroline Childs

Each Journal Club session is chaired by Dr Caroline Childs, Nutrition and Metabolism subject lead in Medicine at the University of Southampton. She received student-nominated awards for ‘most engaging lecturer’ and ‘best pastoral support’ and a colleague-nominated award for teaching excellence. Dr Childs is a Nutrition Society Ambassador and a South East Regional Representative for the Association for Nutrition.

As she says, “Developing skills in critical appraisal is an essential part of being a competent nutrition professional – whether you’re a dietitian, nutritionist or health professional specialising in nutrition.”


Nutrition research reported in the media often highlights mixed or contradictory results between studies. So, as a nutrition professional, how can you ensure you use the strongest available evidence to inform your practice?


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