The effects of prebiotic supplementation on weight gain, diarrhea, and constipation in infants.


eMediNexus    25 July 2018

A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health evaluated the effect of prebiotics on some common clinical ailments – weight gain, diarrhea, constipation, fever and respiratory tract infections, in healthy term infants. This study included 60 healthy-term, breastfed (BF) infants and 120 healthy-term formula-fed infants. The latter were randomly assigned to either the prebiotic formula (PF) or regular formula (RF) groups in the ratio 1:1. Here, ready-to-use prebiotic-supplemented formula containing galacto-oligosaccharides and polydextrose (ratio 1:1) was used. The results revealed that at two months of age, PF infants demonstrated significantly higher weight gain than BF and RF. While at 6 months, bodyweight was significantly higher in the RF group compared to BF and PF groups. Similar results were seen at 8, 10 and 12 months of age. Additionally, at 10 months, the duration of diarrhea was significantly shorter in the PF-fed group compared to the RF group. A marked difference was observed between PF and RF, and BF and RF groups with respect to the duration of diarrhea. Means for constipation episodes per year were 0.03 ± 0.18, 0.433 ± 0.77 and 0.1 ± 0.30 for the BF, RF and PF groups, respectively, with notable difference found between BF and RF, and PF and RF groups . In conclusion, it was stated that prebiotic-supplemented and regular formula were similar to breast milk regarding prophylactic effects for diarrhea, constipation and respiratory tract infections in the first year of life. Thus, prebiotic-supplemented formula may be an appropriate substitution for breast milk when breast milk in unavailable.

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