Probiotics: Baby and functional food

Presenting global evidence for their utility in children, Prof. Sherman illustrated that evidence through randomized controlled trails have demonstrated that certain probiotic strains are more effective than placebo in a variety of conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Multiple meta-analyses indicate effectiveness in reducing the duration of acute enteritis in preschooler’s and in reducing the frequency of necrotizing enterocolitis in pre-term babies. As probiotics exist naturally in some foods and are also available as dietary supplements in powder, capsule, and tablet forms. In 2002, the industry secured FDA designation of specific strains of B. lactic and Streptococcus thermophiles as substances generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in milk-based formulas for infants aged 4 months and older. Most probiotic bacteria are similar to the beneficial bacteria that occur naturally in the gut, including those of the Lactobacillus species (eg, L. acidophilus). Infants acquire other bacteria during their first months, mainly those of the bifid bacterium and Enterobacter species. Bifid bacterium species dominate in the gut of breast-fed infants, whereas Enterobacter microbes dominate in bottle-fed infants. This difference in species, which has been identified as key to breast-fed infants’ superior immunity to many infections, has spurred much of the medical and Pediatric communities’ interest in probiotics. Infant formula manufacturers have also taken interest.

 

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