Probiotics may not be helping kids with stomach bugs, research finds

According to a new research, though, probiotics may not be helping children with stomach bugs. But actually, some physicians believe that the costs may outweigh the advantages.

When children catch a stomach bug(or flu), they are gradually treated with probiotics in the expectations of improving the symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and rarely even fever, according to the Mayo Clinic. But new research discovers that young children with stomach infections don’t seem to advantage from various commonly used probiotics.

Two large studies — one conducted in the United States and the other in Canada — found that preschool-age kids with gastroenteritis had similar indications and recovery time, irrespective of whether they were given probiotics or not.

“Because of the status of probiotics, it was vital to make sure their usage is worth the cost,” Dr. David Schnadower said in a declaration. He is a pediatric emergency drug physician who led the U.S. study at Washington University School of Medicine. “In this example, probiotics added no measurable advantage, and, so, they are not worth the added cost.” Both of the studies were published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Nov. 21.

Do probiotics really help?

Intestinal inflammation or gastroenteritis caused by infections with bacteria, viruses or parasites. It is a common disorder in young children, accounting for about 1.7 million pediatric emergency room visits in the U.S. every year.

Some researches have proposed that probiotics, or “good bacteria,” can help children with gastroenteritis, but several of these studies were small and not thoroughly planned, the researchers said.

In the recent U.S. study, almost 1,000 children with gastroenteritis were arbitrarily given to take either the probiotic Lactobacillusrhamnosus GG (LGG) or a placebo(control), for five days. The kids were ages 3 months to 4 years old and visited the emergency room for signs of gastroenteritis that can comprise vomiting, watery stools, and diarrhea. This study took place in hospitals in 10 U.S. cities.

The study was a “double-blind,” which indicates that neither the patients (or the kids’ parents in this case) nor the researchers knew whether the kids had received the placebo or probiotic.

During the two-week research, children in the probiotic group fared almost the same as in the placebo group. For instance, in both groups, diarrheal symptoms cleared up after two days, and the children missed around two days of daycare.

“We tested many different situations — infants compared with toddlers, whether the patient had taken antibiotics, whether the gastroenteritis was caused by bacteria or virus. And how long the infections like diarrhea had been going on before the treatment,” said Schnadower, who is now the senior academic director of the Division of Emergency Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “Every time, we got the same conclusion that probiotic did not benefit.”

The Canadian study, which was related in strategy to the U.S. one and which involved approximately 900 preschool-age children, also found no help for another common probiotic which comprises two bacterial strains, Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011 and L. helveticus R0052.

The scientists noted that they depend on the parents’ reports about symptoms of children’s and though parents were given diaries to record symptoms. The scientists cannot exclude the probability that some of these reports were not completely accurate.

The outcomes also cannot certainly be general to all probiotics on the marketplace. But the results add to new research questioning the benefits of probiotics. For instance, a current study found that guts of some people seem resistant to probiotics, showing the bacteria fail to productively live in, or “colonize,” their guts. But there may still be specific situations and population groups which benefit from certain probiotics, the Canadian team said.



Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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