Lactobacillus for diarrhea in children.

Date:

01-Apr-2002

Source

Pediatrics

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Lactobacillus acidophilus
Professional Data: Lactobacillus acidophilus

Article

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a beneficial bacteria that primarily resides in the small intestine. Researchers think that maintaining a healthy "colony" of acidophilus is crucial for maintaining overall health. Small amounts of L. acidophilus occur in cultured food products such as yogurt and acidophilus milk. However, in order to be effective, many doctors suggest that larger quantities need to be consumed in the form of supplements.

Lactobacillus acidophilus may provide a number of benefits including prevention of infections, enhancement of digestion, metabolism of cholesterol and overall strengthening of the immune system. L. acidophilus supplementation may be especially useful for helping patients restore beneficial bacteria to the intestines after treatment with antibiotics. Doctors say that doses up to 10 billion cfu daily may be required for individuals with diarrhea following a regime of antibiotics.

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics stated that childhood diarrhea accounts for significant mortality rates around the world. This investigative review looked at the anti-diarrheal role of Lactobacillus. The studies included in this review were from conducted 1966 to 2000 and involved childhood cases of acute diarrhea. Nine studies met the criteria set by the researchers as controlled, randomized examinations. The outcome of this analysis indicated that Lactobacillus supplementation decreased the duration of diarrhea as well as reduced the rate of occurrence when compared to a placebo group. The authors concluded that, "Lactobacillus is safe and effective as a treatment for children with acute infectious diarrhea."1

References

1. Van Niel CW, et al. Lactobacillus Therapy for Acute Infectious Diarrhea in Children: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics. Apr 2002;109(4):678-84.