Baby colic is characterized by excessive crying in otherwise healthy babies, usually occurring in a baby’s first few months of life. Despite it being a common condition, it is nonetheless distressing and worrying for parents.
As many as 25% of infants are diagnosed with the condition, which is defined by long periods of crying and hard-to-soothe behaviour without any apparent cause.
Crying episodes typically last for three or more hours a day, three or more days a week, and persist for at least three weeks. It often occurs in the late afternoon or evening, causing distress and frustration for both the parents.
Symptoms usually peak when an infant is about six weeks old and decline significantly after three or four months.
What are the causes of colic?
The reasons for colic are multifactorial and not yet fully understood.
One article published by the National Library of Medicine says that “evidence suggests that infantile colic might have several independent causes. The medical hypotheses include food hypersensitivity or allergy, immaturity of gut function and dysmotility, and the behavioural hypotheses include inadequate maternal-infant interaction, anxiety in the mother and difficult infant temperament.”
Another article writes that “a growing body of evidence suggests that the gut microbiome contributes to development of the condition.”
Colic and the Gut Microbiota
Studies have consistently shown that babies with colic have an altered gut microbiota. In fact, infantile colic is one of the most thoroughly studied conditions in the field of paediatric microbiome research.
Low levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and high levels of E. coli have been observed in colicky infants compared to non-colicky infants.
Such an imbalance of the microbiota could be a possible cause for abnormal gut motility and increased gas production, implicating dysbiosis as a key driver in infantile colic.
Numerous studies have also shown that colic may be alleviated or even prevented by supplementation with specific probiotics, primarily L. reuteri Protectis® (Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938).*
Probiotics for Babies
Probiotics containing specific strains of beneficial bacteria can help regulate the gut microbiota and promote a healthier digestive environment.
Additionally, probiotics play an important role in supporting a healthy immune system. The introduction of beneficial bacteria into the baby's gut can help strengthen the immune system, potentially reducing the likelihood of infections or inflammation that could exacerbate colic symptoms.
In 2004, BioGaia launched the world’s first probiotic drops for babies. Today, BioGaia Protectis baby drops are the most researched probiotic for infantile colic.
BioGaia Protectis baby drops contain the patented lactic acid bacterium L. reuteri, which is clinically proven to reach the gut alive. BioGaia’s number one-selling probiotic supplement for babies promotes the healthy function of the GI tract and helps restore the balance of a baby's digestive system.
Studies using BioGaia Protectis baby drops have shown reduced crying and fussing in colicky babies and improved well-being for both mother and baby.
You can learn more about probiotics and bacteria strains in our Learning Lab.
*According to the number of publications at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ (July 2021)