Lactobacillus to fight diarrhoea in children

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lactobacillus, Bacteria

Dietary supplements containing Lactobacillus, the 'friendly'
bacteria found in yoghurts, could help fight diarrhoea in children,
according to research from the US.

Dietary supplements containing Lactobacillus, the 'friendly' bacteria found in yoghurts, could help fight diarrhoea in children, according to research from the US.

A team of scientists from the University of Washington in Seattle, led by Dr Cornelius Van Niel, examined data from nine earlier studies which looked at whether the bacterium could help fight diarrhoea among children under the age of three. In most cases, the Lactobacillus was given as a supplement, either in capsule form or mixed into a rehydration drink.

Writing in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics​, Dr Van Niel's team discovered that children who received the Lactobacillus supplement saw a reduction in the length of time they suffered from diarrhoea compared to a placebo group. No side effects were recorded, and the diarrhoea was cut by around two-thirds of a day.

The researchers said the data was inconclusive when it came to the effects of yoghurts containing Lactobacillus, although the likelihood was that some benefit could be gained from consuming such yoghurts, providing the bacteria was present in sufficient quantities.

It is also unclear exactly how Lactobacillus helps fight diarrhoea, although Van Niel suggested that it might be linked to the fact that the bacteria is the same as that found naturally in the gastrointestinal tract. Supplementation with Lactobacillus may help restore the balance between the 'friendly' and the 'unfriendly' bacteria, he suggested.

Related topics: Science

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