Infants given a daily probiotic for the first three months of life experience less colic, reflux, and constipation, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. Almost 600 infants were involved in the study, half of whom received the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri and the other half a placebo. Duration of crying and number of regurgitations per day were reduced, and average number of daily bowel movements increased significantly in the group taking the probiotic when compared to those taking placebo.
Colic, reflux, and constipation are the most common gastrointestinal disorders during infancy that lead to a doctor’s visit and are accompanied by parental anxiety and a loss of working days. These conditions are all associated with alterations of the gut bacteria. “Driving a change of colonization during the first weeks of life through giving lactobacilli may promote an improvement in intestinal permeability [leaky gut]; visceral sensitivity [abdominal pain] and mast cell density [immune function], and probiotic administration may represent a new strategy for preventing these conditions, at least in predisposed children,” stated the researchers.
In addition, the infants taking probiotics did not have to visit the pediatrician or take as much acid-suppressing medications as those infants taking placebo. This meant that parents saved $118 on average. That sounds like a win-win situation to me.