CHICAGOProbiotics offer both cost and health benefits for newborns, according to new research out of Aldo Moro University of Bari, Italy. Published in JAMA Pediatrics, the study found giving a baby probiotics in its first three months decreased gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as infant colic, acid reflux and constipation, and saved families more than $100 (JAMA Pediatr. January 13, 2014. doi:10.1001).
For the study, researchers gave 554 newborns either probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (L reuteri) or placebo for three months. Parents logged number of vomiting and evacuation episodes, in addition to length of inconsolable crying time and pediatrician visits.
After 90 days, the supplemented group had fewer regurgitations (2.9 compared to 4.6), more evacuations (4.2 compared to 3.6) and less crying time (38 minutes compared to 71 minutes) daily. Furthermore, researchers estimated, "The use of L reuteri DSM 17938 resulted in an estimated mean savings per patient of $118.71 for the family and an additional $140.30 for the community.
"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," the authors wrote.