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Treat colic safely, inexpensively with probiotics

Watching your young infant struggle with colic after feeding is among the most upsetting experiences you’ll face during the early months of his or her life. Fortunately, the prolonged crying and discomfort your baby experiences due to colic or other digestive ailments will be brief, particularly if you follow our recent list of 10 ways to calm your baby naturally and safely.

One of the easiest and safest ways to treat colic, and help your baby develop good gut health that boosts immunity, is taking a multi-species probiotic containing 5 to 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) per day.

A recent Italian study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, concluded giving healthy babies a daily dose of probiotics shortly after they’re born may lessen episodes of prolonged crying as well as the development of common gastrointestinal problems, including acid reflux and constipation.

Italian researchers assigned some 550 infants born at full term to receive either daily drops of a probiotic mixed with oil or a placebo (an oil mixture) for three months. Parents of those infants also kept diaries detailing any problems (inconsolable crying, bowel movements and vomiting) along with the number of visits made to their pediatrician.

The babies who received probiotics were obvious to spot by the end of the 90-day study.

  • The time babies treated with probiotics experienced prolonged crying was 38 minutes, or almost half the time (71 minutes) of the placebo group.
  • The probiotic group had more bowel movements (4.2) compared to those receiving a placebo (3.6).
  • The placebo group experienced more daily problems with regurgitations (4.6) than the probiotic group (2.9).

Interestingly, Italian scientists were also able to quantify the monetary benefits of giving babies a probiotic. Families saved $119 for each child given a probiotic.

“Driving a change of colonization during the first weeks of life through giving lactobacilli may promote an improvement in intestinal permeability,” according to the Italian researchers. “Visceral sensitivity and mast cell density and probiotic administration may represent a new strategy for preventing these conditions, at least in predisposed children.”

These results mirror similar findings in a 2007 study that concluded babies treated with a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Junior cried about two-thirds less than those given the gas-reducing drug simethicone.

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