Compared to conventional rehydration therapy, probiotic administration shortened bouts of diarrhea in children, according to a randomized double-blind controlled clinical study published in a recent issue of BMC Infectious Diseases. The trial involved children aged one to 23 months who were hospitalized for acute rotovirus diarrhea. The children were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: oral rehydration solution plus placebo; oral rehydration plus Saccharomyces boulardii; or oral rehydration plus a probiotic combination (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum and S. boulardii). Researchers measured the duration of diarrhea, fever, vomiting and hospitalization.
Median duration of diarrhea (58 hours) was shorter in children who received single-species product than in controls. Children on the single-species probiotic also has a shorter duration of fever compared to controls and of vomiting. The researchers concluded both products decreased the duration of diarrhea compared to oral rehydration solution alone. While the single species product reduced fever, the multiple species product cut vomiting subsequent to the initiation of treatment. They noted the “quantity of probiotic bacteria needed for optimum treatment of gastroenteritis remains to be determined, particularly when multiple species are included in the product.”