Dietary treatment of colic caused by excess gas in infants: biochemical evidence

World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Apr 28;17(16):2104-8. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i16.2104.


Aim: To evaluate the impact of feeding colicky infants with an adapted formula on the hydrogen breath test and clinical symptoms.

Methods: Hydrogen expiration was measured by SC MicroLyzer gas chromatography at inclusion and 15 d after treatment with an adapted low-lactose formula in 20 colicky infants.

Results: All babies were symptomatic: 85% with excess gas, 75% with abnormal feeding pattern, and 85% with excessive crying. The hydrogen breath test at inclusion was abnormal: 35 ± 3.1 ppm. After 15 d feeding with an adapted low-lactose formula, crying and flatulence decreased in 85% of patients (P < 0.001). For infants in whom no decrease of gas was reported, crying was still reduced (P < 0.01). Moreover, the feeding pattern was improved in 50% of infants when it was initially considered as abnormal. Finally, the hydrogen breath test decreased significantly (10 ± 2.5 ppm, P < 0.01).

Conclusion: This study showed an association between clinical improvement and evidence of decreased levels of hydrogen when the infants were fed with a specially designed, low-lactose formula.

Keywords: Colic; Hydrogen breath test; Infants; Lactose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests
  • Colic / diet therapy*
  • Colic / etiology*
  • Diet*
  • Flatulence / complications*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / chemistry
  • Hydrogen / metabolism
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula / chemistry
  • Lactose / metabolism


  • Hydrogen
  • Lactose