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Probiotic may offer benefits for crying colicky infants

24-Sep-2012

Use of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis could help soothe babies suffering from a common condition known as colic, according to new research.

The new trial suggests that infants who suffer from colic could benefit from supplementation with a few daily drops of Lactobacillus reuteri – after it was revealed that children taking the supplement had significantly reduced crying.

Led by Professor Hania Szajewska from University of Warsaw, Poland, the researchers noted that colic is a clinical condition of inconsolable crying, fussing and irritability, most often in the evenings, in an otherwise healthy baby during the first four months of life.

“Exclusively or predominantly breastfed infants with infantile colic benefit from treatment with L reuteri DSM 17938 compared with placebo,” said the researchers.

“The necessity of treating this self-limiting condition may be questioned,” they added. “However, if one wants to modify the natural history of infantile colic, the use of L reuteri DSM 17938 could be discussed with caregivers.”

“The lack of effective therapy for infantile colic and the generally good safety profile of probiotics in otherwise healthy populations are in favour of such treatment.”

Szajewska and her colleagues noted that the study was funded by the Medical University of Warsaw. The L reuteriDSM 17938, was donated by BioGaia AB, however the manufacturer had no role in the conception, design, or conduct of the study or in the analysis or interpretation of the data, the researchers state.

A common problem 

According to the diagnostic criteria, a child has infant colic if it has unexplained episodes of fussing and crying for at least three hours a day for three days a week or more for at least one week.

Up to 26% of infants are diagnosed with colic, making the condition one of the most frequent reasons for visits to paediatricians, family practitioners and community nurses.

In the new double-blind, placebo-controlled study 80 colicky infants were randomly assigned to receive L reuteri DSM 17938 (108 colony-forming units) or an identically appearing and tasting placebo. Both the probiotic and the placebo were taken both orally, in 5 drops, 1 time daily, for 21 days.

The results of the study showed that crying time was significantly reduced among the infants supplemented by drops with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis compared to those in the placebo group, said the authors.

In addition, the quality of life for the parents and families were also significantly improved in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group, they said.

“This is the third independent study with Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis in infants and the effectiveness of our product in reducing symptoms of colic is now very clear,” Peter Rothschild, President, BioGaia.

“This new and strong data further strengthens the position of Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis within the paediatric field,” he added.

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