This double-blind, randomised study aimed to evaluate the effect of probiotic supplementation with Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (1×10^8 CFU per day) or placebo for 30 days, on regurgitation and gastric emptying in 42 formula-fed infants with functional gastroesophageal reflux.
The infants were on average 40 days old at study entry and had at least 4 regurgitation episodes per day in the week prior to the study. 34 infants completed the study; 19 in the probiotic group and 15 in the placebo group.
At the end of the study the newborns receiving Lactobacillus reuteri had a significant decrease in regurgitation (1 episode/day vs. 4 episodes/day; p=0.001), a significant increase in the change in gastric emptying rate compared to baseline (+11.7% vs. +8.4%; p=0.01), and a significantly reduced fasting antral area during the last 7 days of the study (reduction of 3.0 vs. 4.0; p=0.01), compared to those receiving placebo.
The significant reduction in the number of regurgitation episodes and improved gastric emptying patterns in infants receiving Lactobacillus reuteri suggest that this has a useful role in improving gut function in formula-fed infants.