Probiotic Supplementation For Infants
January 15, 2014

Probiotics Reduce Risk Of Colic And Gastrointestinal Disorders In Newborns

Rebekah Eliason for - Your Universe Online

Giving probiotics to babies within the first three months of their lives may reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disorders as well as lower associated costs, according to a new study by Flavia Indrio, M.D. of the Also Moro University of Bari, Italy and colleagues.

During the first six months of life, the most common gastrointestinal disorders often needing a pediatrician referral include infant colic, acid reflux and constipation. According to the study background, these disorders are commonly responsible for hospitalization, feeding changes, use of drugs, parental anxiety and loss of parental working days.

For this study, the researchers randomly chose 554 newborns from nine different pediatric units in Italy. Infants were either given the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (L reuteri DSM 17938) or a placebo for 90 days. Parents were asked to keep a diary and record the number of vomiting episodes and emptying of the bowels, the length of inconsolable crying and the number of pediatrician visits. During the three month period, change in daily crying time, vomiting, constipation and the cost benefits of probiotic supplement use was measured.

Once the infants reached three months of age, the data revealed that the average crying time was 38 minutes for those using the supplement and 71 minutes for those on the placebo. Regurgitations were also significantly less when using the supplement with 2.9 per day versus 4.6. Babies emptied their bowels 4.2 times per day when using the supplement and those on the placebo only averaged 3.6 times per day. For each patient in each family, the average associated savings from using probiotics was nearly $119.

The authors concluded, “Driving a change of colonization during the first weeks of life through giving lactobacilli may promote an improvement in intestinal permeability; visceral sensitivity and mast cell density and probiotic administration may represent a new strategy for preventing these conditions, at least in predisposed children.”

This study was published online January 13, 2014 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.