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Int J Food Microbiol. 2006 Aug 1;110(3):246-53. Epub 2006 Jun 30.

Spontaneously fermented millet product as a natural probiotic treatment for diarrhoea in young children: an intervention study in Northern Ghana.

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  • 1Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Dept. of Food Science, Food Microbiology, Rolighedsvej 30, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


Indigenous lactic acid fermented foods may have potential as probiotic treatment for diarrhoea, due to high levels of lactic acid bacteria. In this study the effect of a millet drink, spontaneously fermented by lactic acid bacteria, as a therapeutic agent among Ghanaian children with diarrhoea, was assessed. Children below 5 years of age coming to Northern Ghana health clinics for treatment of diarrhoea were randomised to two groups. Children of both groups received treatment for diarrhoea given at the local clinic. The intervention group in addition received up to 300 ml fermented millet drink (KSW) daily for 5 days after enrolment. The clinical outcome of diarrhoea and reported well-being were registered every day for the 5-day intervention and again 14 days after diagnosis. Among 184 children (mean age 17.4, standard deviation 11.3 months) included, no effects of the intervention were found with respect to stool frequency, stool consistency and duration of diarrhoea. However, KSW was associated with greater reported well-being 14 days after the start of the intervention (P=0.02). The fact that no effect of KSW on diarrhoea was observed could be because many children had a mild form of diarrhoea, and many were treated with antibiotics. Either this could have affected the lactic acid bacteria, or the lactic acid bacteria in KSW had no probiotic effects. It is speculated that the effect after two weeks could be due to a preventing effect of KSW on antibiotic-associated diarrhoea which could help reducing persistent diarrhoea.

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