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J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Oct;24(5):370-5.

Evaluation of a diet containing probiotics and zinc for the treatment of mild diarrheal illness in children younger than one year of age.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Meyer Children's Hospital of Haifa, Israel.



Supplementation of probiotics and supplementation of zinc during acute gastroenteritis in children have been shown to exert positive effects on diarrhea duration and severity. Our aim was to evaluate a new diet enriched with zinc and probiotic bacteria in the treatment of acute gastroenteritis in young children.


In a double blind prospective study, 65 children aged 6-12 months were randomized to receive 6 x 10(9) colony forming units of Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus (2 x 10(9) of each strain), 10 mg of zinc/day, and 0.3 grams of fructo-oligosaccharides in the supplemented group (n = 33) or placebo (n = 32), given in a soy protein based rice cereal. For each child, age, sex, weight, degree of dehydration, the presence of fever or vomiting, stool frequency and consistency were recorded daily until diarrhea resolution.


Diarrhea resolution occurred after 1.43 +/- 0.71 days in the supplemented group vs. 1.96 +/- 1.24 in the control group (p = 0.017). In the subset of children who presented with vomiting, time to vomiting resolution was 0.27 +/- 0.59 vs. 0.81 +/- 0.91 days in the supplemented and control groups, respectively (p = 0.06). On day 3, there was only 1 child with watery stools in the supplemented group versus 10 children in the control group (p = 0.02).


In our series, the feeding of a cereal containing Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus and zinc, reduced the severity and duration of acute gastroenteritis in young children. However, whether this combination is better than either the addition of probiotics or zinc alone is yet to be determined.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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