Probiotics appear to improve diarrhoea but further research needed
Probiotic bacteria appear to shorten the duration of acute diarrhoea and reduce stool frequency, a reveals (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, issue 10).
The review — including 63 studies with 8,014 participants, mainly children — found that probiotic use in combination with oral rehydration therapy cut the duration of diarrhoea by around 25 hours and the risk of diarrhoea lasting four or more days by 59 per cent.
Despite the encouraging results, the authors say that more research is needed to identify which probiotics should be used and to determine the cost-effectiveness of this approach.
A separate review (ibid) of four trials examining the use of probiotics in children with persistent diarrhoea revealed that in two of these studies (n=324), probiotics reduced the length of an episode of diarrhoea by four days compared with placebo. However, the authors stress the review is limited by the small number of participants (n=464) and therefore does not represent a reliable estimate of the effects of probiotics.
Citation: Electronicjuice URI: 11044393
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