Probiotics Helpful in Preventing Infections in Infants

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“Friendly” bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus can significantly reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infections like severe diarrhea in children.  Breast milk also contains small amounts of probiotic bacteria, and breast fed infants have generally lower infection rates than bottle fed infants

A particularly serious form of intestinal infections in small infants is called necrotizing enterocolitis.   Necrotizing enterocolitis cause severe damage to the intestinal wall and can occasionally be fatal.   Feeding small babies “probiotic” bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus can greatly reduce risk of both necrotozing enterocolitis and overall death rates.  A study of 2,176 infants fed probiotic bacteria reported that rates of necrotizing enterocolitis was 65% lower and overall death rates were 58% lower as compared to infants not given probiotics.   Research on the use of probiotics to prevent and treat Necrotizing Enterocolitis is found in the May 2010 Pediatrics.

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