Improvement of symptoms in infant colic following reduction of lactose load with lactase

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Oct;14(5):359-63. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-277x.2001.00304.x.


Transient lactose intolerance has been identified as a possible causative factor in infant colic. A double-blind randomised placebo-controlled crossover study to investigate this has been undertaken in 53 babies with symptoms of colic. Pre-incubation of the feed with lactase resulted in breath hydrogen levels and total crying time which were both at least 45% lower than figures with placebo treatment, in 26% of the full trial group (95% confidence interval 12.9% to 44.4%), and in 38% of compliers (95% confidence interval 18.8% to 59.4%). The remainder did not respond to the same extent. These findings suggest that infant colic may have a multiple aetiology, and that in a significant number of cases the immediate cause is transient lactose intolerance, in which cases pretreatment of feeds with lactase can result in considerable symptomatic benefits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests
  • Colic / etiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Crying
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / analysis
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactase
  • Lactose / metabolism*
  • Lactose Intolerance / complications*
  • Time Factors
  • beta-Galactosidase / administration & dosage*
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Hydrogen
  • Lactase
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Lactose