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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec;56 Suppl 4:S56-9.

Feasibility studies to control acute diarrhoea in children by feeding fermented milk preparations Actimel and Indian Dahi.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, Delhi, India.


The aim of this work was to study feasibility of diarrhoea control in children (6 months to 5 y of age) by feeding fermented milk preparations. The design used was a randomized controlled clinical trial and the study was carried out at the Delhi University College Hospital providing tertiary care, and a nearby community centre Nand Nagri, a resettlement colony in East Delhi. Children suffering from acute diarrhoea (75 patients from the hospital and 75 from the community) were allocated to three groups by double-blind technique. Group 1 was given a fermented milk, Actimel, containing 10(8) of each Lactobacillus casei DN-114001, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus per gram. Group 2 was given Indian Dahi (Lf 40) containing 10(8) of each Lactococcus lactis, Lactococcus lactis cremoris and Leuconostac mesenteroides cremoris per gram. Group 3 was given ultra-heat-treated yoghurt preparation (no live bacteria). Actimel was also used as a starter to prepare the curd in order to study the preventive effect of diarrhoea in children in a community. In the hospital study Indian Dahi and Actimel administration reduced mean duration of diarrhoea by 0.3 and 0.6 day (P<0.001), respectively. The corresponding figures in the community study were 0.2 and 0.5 day (P<0.05), respectively. The families using Actimel as a starter showed a reduction in diarrhoeal morbidity episodes by 40% of the children tested in a 3 month follow-up. In conclusion, Actimel, fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei DN-114001, and Indian Dahi can significantly reduce the duration of diarrhoea in children; the former preparation being superior.

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