The good bugs in probiotics could help treat crying, colicky babies.
Daily crying was halved in 32 out of 40 babies who were given a particular strain of probiotic in drop form.
The babies were given the drops once a day for 28 days and during that time their sleep time and stool frequency also improved.
Infant colic affects up to one in four babies during the first three months of life. It is a gastrointestinal disorder.
Most babies grow out of it but colic causes major distress for both the infants and their families.
It can lead to depression in new mothers. They may give up breast feeding early because of it.
The distress of a crying baby is also linked to parental guilt and frustration, multiple trips to the doctor, frequent changes of formula and other longer term problems like allergies, behaviour and sleep problems.
The trial of the probiotic drops positively affect the babies’ gut microbiome. It increased the production of a short chain fatty acid called butyrate which helps to regulate food passing through the gut, pain and inflammation
“Our study provides evidence on the important role of gut microbiota as a target of intervention against infant colic,” said senior author Roberto Berni Canani, MD, PhD of the University of Naples “Federico II,” in Italy.
He stressed, however, that the study related to a specific probiotic strain (Bifidobacterium animalis subsp.lactis BB-12) and the findings could not be applied to other probiotic strains.
The study is published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.