Preventive effects of Lactobacillus reuteri on infantile colic
Background: Recent studies have shown that colicky infants’ gut microbiota is characterised by a low amount of lactobacilli and an increased amount of coliform bacteria and this issue has been reported as a possible cause of gut dysmotility and increasing of flatulence production. In the last years many scientists have suggested the usefulness of vitamin D supplementation in newborns, which is routinely administered in early infancy. In animal models of experimental colitis, it has been shown that vitamin D deficit leads to great susceptibility to injury in the gut
Method: Infants were recruited in four centres in North-West Italy. 138 infants were assessed for eligibility, 113 ones underwent randomisation and 105 completed the study. Newborns aged less than 10 days of life, with gestational age between 37 and 42 weeks, birth weight from 2,500 to 4,300 g and normal physical examination were recruitable. Premature infants and infants affected by outcomes of perinatal hypoxia or necrotising enterocolitis have been excluded. Patients were randomly assigned to receive five drops containing Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (108 cfu) with 400 UI of vitamin D3 or only 400 UI of vitamin D3 daily. The primary endpoints concern the administration of pain relieving agents (cimetropium bromide at least three times per week or simethicone at least five times per week) from baseline to 12 weeks. Additional analyses were done on the percentage of infants that switched from an exclusive breastfeeding to a partial or exclusive formula feeding from baseline to 12 weeks. Data concerning the number of calls to the paediatricians and the number of visits at paediatricians’ ambulatories due to infantile colic have been collected by paediatrician and analysed.
Results: Comparing the two groups, the relative risk was 0.04 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.01-0.31) for cimetropium bromide, 0.24 (95% CI=0.14-0.41) for simethicone and 0.37 (95% CI=0.17-0.80) for the administration of infant formula, showing a protective action of L. reuteri. The treatment group showed a lower number of paediatric consultations related to episodes of infant colic than the control group (P<0.0001).
Conclusion: L. reuteri DSM 17938 supplementation at the tested dosage could reduce parental discomfort due to infantile colic. The consumption of this probiotic is associated with a reduction of paediatric consultations for infantile colic, as well as use of pain relieving agents and of infant formula.