A study published in Pediatrics shows that a daily dose of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri may help reduce episodes of diarrhea and respiratory tract infections among children who visit day care.
The researchers tested 336 healthy children ages 6 months to 3 years who were attending day care centers in Mexico City, Mexico. Half received a daily dose of Lactobacillus reuteri and the other half received a placebo.
The intervention lasted three months, and the children were followed for another three months without supplements. During the study, there were 69 episodes of diarrhea in the placebo group and 42 in the supplement group.
The placebo group had 204 respiratory tract infections, compared with 93 in those taking L. reuteri. In addition, the control group spent an average of 4.1 days on antibiotics, while the supplement users averaged 2.7 days. The differences persisted during the 12-week follow-up.
The researchers concluded, "In healthy children attending day care centers, daily administration of L. reuteri had a significant effect in reducing episodes and duration of diarrhea and respiratory tract infection, with consequent cost savings for the community."