Jan. 3, 2007-- A type of gut-friendly bacterium may help treatin breastfed babies, Italian researchers report.
The Italian study, conducted by doctors at the University of Turin, included 83 colicky babies who were exclusively breastfed.
Francesco Savino, MD, and colleagues randomly gave daily Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri)supplements to half the babies for 28 days.
The other babies took simethicone, which helps eliminate excess gas, daily for 28 days.
L. reuteri is one of the many probiotic ("good") bacteria found in the human intestines. Savino's team tested the theory that boosting L. reuteri would cut down on colicky crying.
Curbing Colicky Crying
The babies' parents kept diaries of how long their babies cried. At the study's start, the babies cried, on average, three hours and 17 minutes a day.
After a week's treatment, average daily crying dropped to two hours and 39 minutes for babies taking L. reuteri, compared with nearly three hours for those taking simethicone.
At the study's end, average daily crying time was 51 minutes for babies taking L. reuteri vs. two hours and 25 minutes for babies taking simethicone.
Since all the babies in this study were breastfed, it's not clear if the results apply to formula-fed babies, the researchers note.
Also, Savino's team asked the babies' mothers to avoid cow's milk -- including milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter -- during the experiment. However, that dietary change, by itself, didn't seem to curb colic, the study shows.
Since this study was the first to test L. reuteri as a colic treatment, Savino and colleagues call for more research to confirm their results.