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Probiotic strain shown to have multiple benefits in premature infants

Posted:  Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The spectre of necrotising enterocolitis and other gut ailments looms large on premature infants. A recent review found that supplementing enteral nutrition with a particular strain of probiotic, namely Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 could reduce the risk of necrotising enterocolitis and feed intolerance in premature infants.

Published online in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN), the study reviewed randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and non-RCTs of L. reuteri DSM 17938 supplementation in premature infants.

The researchers included studies that compared enteral administration of L. reuteri DSM 17938 or mother strain L. reuteri ATCC 55730 within the first 10 days of life and continued for 7 days with placebo or control, and those that compared L. reuteri DSM 17938 with another probiotic strain.

The review of RCTs found a statistically insignificant improvement in NEC, while the non-RCTs showed a significant improvement. Although the researchers stressed the need for larger studies to arrive at a definitive positive result, the findings suggest that L. reuteri DSM 17938 supplementation has the potential not just to reduce the risk of NEC but also to facilitate enteral nutrition in premature infants.

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