2 Probiotic Strains Found Safe for Newborns

Newborns have been found to have good tolerance for two specific probiotic strains, according to a study published in Pediatric Research.

A press release from Probi, which supplied the probiotics for the study, explains that infants are born with a low microbial count in the digestive tract, leaving them susceptible to gastric distress. Over time, they develop the microbiota that helps build a barrier in their GI tract, strengthen the immune system, and prevent infections. Babies acquire good bacteria from breast milk and, later on, solid food, but probiotics may help speed the process.

The parallel, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study looked at 36 infants, aged 4-83 days at the start of the study. The infants were given a daily supplementation of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum HEAL9 and Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus 271 or placebo for eight weeks.

The researchers found no differences between the groups in growth parameters, adverse events, or intestinal performance. However, the test group had significantly higher fecal levels of the two probiotics and of lactobacilli in general than the placebo group, after 4 and 8 weeks of intake. At the end of the study, both groups had similar fecal microbial diversity.

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The researchers concluded: “Lactiplantibacillus plantarum is a species that seldom has been analysed in infants, but it could be detected in 25% of the subjects before administration (mean age 41 days). Lactiplantibacillus plantarum and L. rhamnosus establish well in the intestine of infants and are well tolerated. The microbiota was positively affected by the intake of probiotics.”

Titti Niskanen, Director R&D & Clinical Operations at Probi, said in the press release: “The L. plantarum and L. rhamnosus strains establish well in the intestine of the newborns and are safe. Intake of the study product was safe and did not result in any adverse effects on growth and infant behavior. Furthermore, the study suggests that the two strains might have immune-supporting effects, as none of the newborns in the probiotic group experienced an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) while 25% in the placebo group suffered from an infection during the study.”

Tom Rönnlund, Probi CEO, adds: “Safety data are necessary for marketing and sales of probiotic strains, in particular targeting infants or young children, but also for products targeting adults and sensitive populations. This study adds to our knowledge of probiotics in newborns and children, and we will evaluate further investigations in the health benefits in infants.”