This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed to evaluate whether daily administration of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (L. reuteri Protectis) could reduce the frequency and duration of diarrhoeal episodes and other health outcomes in day school children. 336 healthy children, 6-36 months, attending day care centres in Mexico City were randomised to either supplementation with five drops (10^8 CFU) of Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis (n=168) per day or placebo (n=168) for three months followed by three months without supplementation.
Data from all children were included in the final analysis. Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis significantly reduced frequency and duration of diarrhoeal episodes both during intervention and follow-up period (P<0.05). Additionally, the number of doctor visits, antibiotic use, absenteeism from day school and parental absenteeism from work were significantly reduced in the Lactobacillus reuteri group (P<0.05). A cost-benefit analysis revealed that supplementation with Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis is cost-effective for both family and community. No adverse events related to the study product were reported.
In healthy children attending day care centers, daily administration of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (L. reuteri Protectis) had a significant effect in reducing episodes and duration of diarrhea and respiratory tract (RTI) infection, with consequent cost savings for the community. This study also adds independent support to previously published evidence (Weizman 2005, Agustina 2012) supporting the use of Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis in the prevention of infectious diseases in day care children.