Probiotic improves digestive problems in infants

January 21, 2014

Prophylactic use of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 during the first 3 months of life significantly reduces colic, regurgitation, and constipation, according to a recent study.

 

Prophylactic use of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 during the first 3 months of life significantly reduces colic, regurgitation, and constipation, according to a recent study.

Researchers in Italy conducted a prospective, multicenter, double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial involving 589 newborns from 9 different Italian neonatal units. The infants received either L reuteri DSM 17938 drops (essentially the type of probiotic found in yogurt) or placebo every day for 90 days.

At the end of 3 months, the investigators found that the mean duration of crying time in the infants in the probiotic group was almost half that of the infants in the placebo group (38 minutes vs 71 minutes, respectively). Similarly, the mean number of times per day that the babies in the placebo group spit up was 4.6 versus 2.9 in the probiotic group, and the mean number of evacuations per day was 4.2 in the placebo group versus 3.6 in the probiotic group.

The researchers noted no adverse events and reported that the probiotic supplementation was well tolerated.

Not incidentally, the researchers calculated that the probiotic saved each family approximately $119 and saved the community approximately $140.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about one-fifth of all babies develop colic, usually between the second and fourth weeks of life. Given that gastrointestinal disorders are one of the biggest problems of infancy, accounting for a significant number of physician visits and a significant amount of parental anxiety, exhaustion, and stress, the investigators conclude that additional research should focus on validating probiotics as a cost-effective approach to colic. 

 

 

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