Effect of Long Term Consumption of Probiotic Milk on Infections in Children Attending Day Care Centres: Double Blind, Randomised Trial

BMJ. 2001 Jun 2;322(7298):1327. doi: 10.1136/bmj.322.7298.1327.

Abstract

Objective: To examine whether long term consumption of a probiotic milk could reduce gastrointestinal and respiratory infections in children in day care centres.

Design: Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study over seven months.

Setting: 18 day care centres in Helsinki, Finland.

Participants: 571 healthy children aged 1-6 years: 282 (mean (SD) age 4.6 (1.5) years) in the intervention group and 289 (mean (SD) age 4.4 (1.5) years) in the control group.

Intervention: Milk with or without Lactobacillus GG. Average daily consumption of milk in both groups was 260 ml.

Main outcome measures: Number of days with respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms, absences from day care because of illness, respiratory tract infections diagnosed by a doctor, and course of antibiotics.

Results: Children in the Lactobacillus group had fewer days of absence from day care because of illness (4.9 (95% confidence interval 4.4 to 5.5) v 5.8 (5.3 to 6.4) days, 16% difference, P=0.03; age adjusted 5.1 (4.6 to 5.6) v 5.7 (5.2 to 6.3) days, 11% difference, P=0.09). There was also a relative reduction of 17% in the number of children suffering from respiratory infections with complications and lower respiratory tract infections (unadjusted absolute % reduction -8.6 (-17.2 to -0.1), P=0.05; age adjusted odds ratio 0.75 (0.52 to 1.09), P=0.13) and a 19% relative reduction in antibiotic treatments for respiratory infection (unadjusted absolute % reduction -9.6 (-18.2 to -1.0), P=0.03; adjusted odds ratio 0.72 (0.50 to 1.03), P=0.08) in the Lactobacillus group.

Conclusions: Lactobacillus GG may reduce respiratory infections and their severity among children in day care. The effects of the probiotic Lactobacillus GG were modest but consistently in the same direction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Child Day Care Centers*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / prevention & control
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lactobacillus*
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control*

Substances

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents