Probiotics May Ease Colic

Giving colicky babies the good bacteria found in yogurt may ease their agony, studies suggest.

By Reader's Digest Editors

Giving colicky babies the good bacteria found in yogurt may ease their agony, studies suggest.

Researchers from the University of Turin in Italy found that a few daily drops of Lactobacillus reuteri, a bacterium that can help improve digestion, significantly reduced crying among infants with colic.

While some 20 percent of babies suffer from colic, defined as three or more hours a day of inconsolable crying during the first three months of life, no one completely understands what causes it.

A 2009 study at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston-School of Medicine found that colicky babies had inflammation and bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts that may have triggered it. Babies without colic had no such inflammation and more beneficial bacteria.

The Italian study subsequently found that giving babies probiotics could perhaps help prevent this inflammation. Babies who received the good bacteria only cried an average of 51 minutes a day, compared with two and a half hours in babies who did not receive the probiotic.

Sources: The New York Times, WebMD

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