Bifidobacterium probiotics may help to treat colic in infants

A new study, published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutic, confirms that probiotics, at least those of Bifidobacterium animalis, can actually help to treat colic in newborns.

According to the researchers, the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis BB-12 reduced daily crying by more than 50% in 80% of the 40 newborns tested. During the experimental phase, the latter received the probiotic once a day for 28 days. There were also positive effects in terms of sleep duration and stool frequency and consistency. Comparisons were made by the researchers with 40 other children who received placebo substances.

According to the researchers, the probiotic had a positive effect on the intestinal microbiome; in particular, it increased the bacterial production of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that can regulate the time related to intestinal transit as well as the perception of pain and in general phenomena related to the relationship between the intestine and the brain.

“It is important to emphasize that this study studied a specific well-characterized probiotic strain and that these results cannot be extrapolated to other probiotic strains,” reports Roberto Berni Canani, senior author of the study and researcher at the University Federico II of Naples.

As the press release presenting the research also specifies, childhood colic is a fairly common gastrointestinal disorder that can affect up to one in four children, particularly during the first three months of life. It is not a malignant condition but can be a source of discomfort for the child himself and therefore also for families.