Probiotics may reduce infant gastro disorders

Researchers recruited 589 full-term newborns, all less than a week old, from nine neonatal units in Italy. Of the 468 babies who completed the trial, half received Lactobacillus reuteri 17938, administered by parents as a daily oral supplement for three months, and half received a placebo.

Both groups were controlled for factors such as birth weight, Apgar score, vaginal versus caesarean delivery and breast- versus bottle-feeding.

Parents recorded the number of episodes per day of regurgitation, periods of inconsolable crying (colic) and the number of bowel motions passed.

At the end of the three-month intervention, the babies who received the probiotic displayed significant reductions in average crying time (37.7 minutes per day) compared to placebo (70.9 minutes per day), a significant increase in the average number of bowel motions per day (4.2/3.6) and a significant reduction in the average number of regurgitation episodes (2.9/4.6).