Background: To evaluate whether a fermented dairy drink containing the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001 could reduce the incidence of common infectious diseases (CIDs) and the change of behavior because of illness in children.
Subjects/methods: We conducted a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled allocation concealment clinical trial in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Participants were 638 children 3-6 years old in daycare/schools. The intervention was a fermented dairy drink containing a specific probiotic strain or matching placebo with no live cultures for 90 consecutive days. Two primary outcomes were assessed: incidence of CIDs and change of behavior because of illness (both assessed by parental report).
Results: The rate of change of behavior because of illness was similar among active and control groups. However, the incidence rate for CIDs in the active group (0.0782) is 19% lower than that of the control group (0.0986) (incidence rate ratio=0.81, 95% CI: 0.65, 099) P=0.046.
Conclusions: Daily intake of a fermented dairy drink containing the probiotic strain L. casei DN-114 001 showed some promise in reducing overall incidence of illness, but was primarily driven by gastrointestinal infections and there were no differences in change of behavior.