Multi-strain probiotic + prebiotic superior to reference drug for colic relief: Study

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© AhuSavanAn / Getty Images
© AhuSavanAn / Getty Images

Related tags: Probiotics, Prebiotics, colic, infant health, Gut microbiome, synbiotics

Supplementing colicky infants with a combination of eight bacterial strains and a prebiotic may reduce both the number of crying days and the average evening crying duration, says a new study from Poland.

Data published in Beneficial Microbes ​indicated that the combination product performed significantly better than the reference prescribed drug, simethicone.

“In addition to the superior effects on the main measures, the multi-strain synbiotic showed positive effects on some other crying behavior observations,” ​wrote researchers from The President Stanisław Wojciechowski State University of Applied Sciences and the Karol Marcinkowski Medical University.

“The number of babies who could not be calmed during crying, or who had problems falling asleep, was reduced significantly more by the multi-strain synbiotic than by simethicone. These effects might be very relevant for parents of colicky babies, as not being able to calm a crying baby or getting it to sleep is experienced as utterly frustrating.”

25% of infants worldwide suffers from colic

Colic is defined as severe pain in the abdomen caused by wind or obstruction in the intestines and suffered especially by babies. Characterized by excessive crying, grimacing, a red face, knees drawn up to the chest, clenched fists and excessive gas, the answer seems to lie in the gut. It’s one of the most common reasons parents seek medical advice during the first three months of their baby’s life.

“There is growing evidence that the gut microbiotas of colicky infants significantly differ from those of non-colicky babies,” ​explained the Poland-based researchers. “In the gut microbiota of colicky babies, a lower level of commensal bacteria like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria and higher numbers of Proteobacteria have been found.

“These findings have triggered a number of studies investigating the effect of supplementation of the gut microbiota of colicky babies with products containing probiotic bacteria without a prebiotic component (probiotics), or with (synbiotics).”

Study details

The Poland-based scientists included 87 infants aged 3-6 weeks with infantile colic and randomly assigned them to receive either the synbiotic or simethicone for four weeks. The synbiotic contained: Lactobacillus acidophilus​ LA-14, Lacticaseibacillus casei​ R0215, Lacticaseibacillus paracasei​ Lp-115, Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus​ GG, Ligilactobacillus salivarius​ Ls-33, Bifidobacterium lactis​ Bl-04, Bifidobacterium bifidum​ R0071, Bifidobacterium longum​ R0175 and fructooligosaccharides.

The results showed that there were significantly higher response rates for infants receiving the multi-strain synbiotic, compared to simethicone for both ‘crying days during the last three weeks’ and ‘the average evening crying duration during last 3 weeks’.

On the other hand, there were no significant differences found between the groups for ‘reduction of average number of crying phases per day during the last three weeks’

“Results of the present clinical study and of preclinical studies published earlier render the multi-strain synbiotic an interesting candidate for further clinical and non-clinical research in infantile colic,” ​concluded the researchers.

Source: Beneficial Microbes
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3920/BM2020.0160
“Effects of a nine-strain bacterial synbiotic compared to simethicone in colicky babies – an open-label randomised study”
Authors: J. Piatek

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