Infant colic: probiotics relieve pain and regulate bowel movements

Probiotics, or “good bacteria”, have already been used to treat infantile colic with varying degrees of success. In a new trial published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology – Therapeutics, researchers showed that drops containing a particular probiotic strain (Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12) reduced the duration of daily crying by more than 50% in 80% of 40 infants who received the probiotic once daily for 28 days, with beneficial effects on sleep duration and stool frequency and consistency.

Infantile colic is a very common gastrointestinal disorder affecting up to 25% of infants in the first 3 months of life, and although it is a mild condition it is a source of major distress for infants and their families.

Probiotics: Regulation of mircobiota and fatty acids

The effect observed in the study was associated with a positive modulation of the gut microbiota, with increased bacterial production of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that is able to positively regulate intestinal transit time, pain perception , the gut-brain axis and inflammation.

“This study provides evidence for the important role of the gut microbiota as a target for intervention against infantile colic,” said lead author Roberto Berni Canani, MD, Ph.D. from the University of Naples – “ Federico II,” in Italy. “It is important to emphasize that this trial investigated a specific, well-characterized probiotic strain, and these results cannot be extrapolated to other probiotic strains. »


Rita Nocerino et al. : The therapeutic effectiveness of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis in infant colic: A randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial, Alimentary Pharmacology – Therapeutics (2019). DOI: 10.1111/apt.15561


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