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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2012 Aug;31(8):859-62. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e3182620e52.

The role of prebiotics and probiotics in prevention and treatment of childhood infectious diseases.

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Pediatric Infectious Diseases Unit, University Children's Hospital Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Germany.


Infant formulae and food products marketed for children have been increasingly supplemented with probiotics and/or prebiotics. A vast number of studies have accounted for the transit of probiotic use from alternative to more evidence-based medicine. Data support the use of certain probiotics for the adjunct treatment of acute viral gastroenteritis, and for prevention of gastrointestinal diseases. Further roles of prebiotics and probiotics are seen in the prevention of overall infectious diseases and respiratory infections. Data from well-conducted randomized-controlled trials support the therapeutic role for probiotics toward necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants. However, it is difficult to translate heterogeneous-based study results, which are mainly due to varying genera, strains, doses, study settings and measured outcomes, into evidence-based recommendations. This article focuses on the evidence of clinical benefits of prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics toward prevention and treatment of pediatric infectious diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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