The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, investigated whether oral supplementation with Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (L. reuteri Protectis) had any effect on the onset of colic, gastroesophageal reflux, and constipation in full-term newborns, and whether any benefit from supplementation could also reduce the socioeconomic impact of these conditions.
Led by DrFlavia Indrio from the University of Bari, Italy, the research team recruited 589 infants to the randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled multicentre trial for a total of three months - finding that infants given the prophylactic probiotic cried less than half as long as infants given a placebo. In addition the team revealed that those infants given the probiotic strain had significantly fewer daily regurgitations and were less constipated compared to infants in the placebo group.
Further investigation in to the economic impact of these benefits revealed that the supplementation was responsible for savings of €88 for the family and €104 for the community - leading the team to conclude that the use of L reuteri DSM 17938 was a 'cost-effective' strategy to reduce infant gastrointestinal disorders such as colic, and its associated healthcare costs.
“This is the first study proving prophylactic use of a specific strain (L. reuteri Protectis) in a condition like functional gastrointestinal disorders (colic, regurgitation and constipation)," commented Indrio.
"Moreover this is also the first evaluation of the cost/benefit for a probiotic therapy in infants and it shows that L. reuteri Protectis is valuable for the family and for the society,” he added.
Invested in pre- and probiotics? Probiota 2014 will explore the prebiotic-probiotic scientific frontier, its evolution and commercial application in food, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics across the globe.
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