Baby Formula and a Look at Lactobacilli in Diarrhea

Robert Vonnoh - The Baby's Bottle
Baby formula changes the intestinal microflora.
Lactobacilli species take on ulcers and child diarrhea and formula-fed infants have a distinct microbiota in comparison to breast-fed babies.

Lactobacillus reuteri Seems to Help Ulcers

Lactobacillus reuteri has already been shown in a few studies to have an effect on Helcobacter pylori, now there’s yet another study. In an open-label study initiated by the Italian University of Sassari, L. reuteri DSM17938 was provided to 22 stomach ulcer patients for eight weeks in combination with a standard medication. Eradication rates were approximately 14% when the bacteria was combined with a standard medication, and H. pylori loads were reduced. Unfortunately, the lack of a control group makes it impossible to say if L. reuteri really was helpful. In any case, it was well tolerated.

Lactobacillus acidophilus Helps Child Diarrhea?

Lactobacillus acidophilus LB is a candidate strain to help diarrhea, and several studies have had positive results. However, sometimes the real picture of a strain’s effectiveness is only seen after statistics have been performed on a series of studies in what is called a meta-analysis. A group at the University of Warsaw analyzed four randomized controlled trials. They found that L. acidophilus LB worked best in a hospitalized setting, reducing the duration of diarrhea. Outpatient children did not seem to get this effect, but the strain did seem to increase the chances of getting a cure on day four of a diarrheal illness.

The Microbiota of Formula-fed Infants is Different

Every parent wants to know if breast-feeding is better than formula. In a quest to determine eventual health outcomes, scientists from China performed an in depth intestinal microbiota analysis on three groups of infants: breast-fed, formula-fed and mixed-fed infants. Formula fed infants had significantly lowered Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria phylum species. They also had more of the families Enterobacteriaceae and Bifidobacteriaceae than breast-fed babies. Mixed-fed babies were similar to breast-fed ones but still had increases in Bifidobacteriaceae species. Whether these changes can suggest future health predispositions remains to be seen.