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Indian Pediatr. 2016 Dec 15;53(12):1083-1089.

Clinical Effects of Prebiotics in Pediatric Population.

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University Medical Centre, Ljubljana, University Children's Hospital; Ljubljana, Slovenia. Correspondence to: Prof Rok Orel, University Children's Hospital, BohoriÃceva 20, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.



Prebiotics are non-digestible components of food that in a selective manner trigger the expansion of microbes in the gut with valuable effects for the health of the host. In our document, current literature pertaining to the clinical effects of the use of prebiotics for the treatment and prevention of some common pediatric pathology such as infantile colic, constipation, absorption of minerals, weight gain, diarrhea, respiratory infections, and eczema is reviewed.


Data was collected through search of the MEDLINE, PubMed, UpToDate, Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register database as well as through references from relevant articles, all until September 2015. However, only the results of publications with adequate methodological quality were included.


Prebiotics seem to be very appealing in treatment of many clinical conditions, explicitly in the fight against constipation, poor weight gain in preterm infants, and eczema in atopic children. In contrast to probiotics, the evidence of true clinical efficacy of prebiotics, supported with exact type and dose information are rather sparse, and there are a limited number of randomized controlled trials concerning prebiotics in children, especially beyond the age of infancy.


Large well-designed, controlled, confirmatory clinical trials are required, using commercially available products, to help healthcare providers in making an appropriate decision concerning the appropriate use of prebiotics in different conditions.

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