Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Babies and Probiotics

Secondary lactose intolerance, sometimes called temporary lactose intolerance, is something that hits about 10-15% of all babies at some point in infancy. It occurs when their delicate intestines are damaged by an illness or medication so that the ability to manufacture the lactase enzyme is knocked out. As the name implies, this is usually a temporary loss. After a few weeks, the intestines heal and the lactase start to flow again.

Is there anything a parent can do to help? Probiotics are one suggestion.

Are probiotics for every child? is an article on the site. It discusses a study done in South Africa:

Diarrhoea is one of South Africa’s biggest causes of death among children under the age of five. Unable to replace fluids, babies become weak and dehydrated, and the results are tragic.

It is in terms of prevention and treatment (in conjunction with oral rehydration solution) of babies with diarrhoea that probiotics work their magic most startlingly.

In one study, children aged between six and 36 months, who were hospitalised with diarrhoea, were split into two groups. One group received a probiotic called Lactobacillus reuteri and the other a placebo. Both groups also took an oral rehydration solution, essential for anyone with diarrhoea.

By the second day, the recovery rate of the probiotic group was remarkable compared to the control group.

Even when a baby has recovered from acute diarrhoea, like rotavirus diarrhoea, there is sometimes invisible damage to the digestive tract. This can cause problems with the digestion of the milk protein lactose, even if the baby tolerated milk-based formula with no problem previously.

Ongoing treatment with probiotics can help to break down the milk sugar, improving the baby’s lactose tolerance. The colonies of good bacteria will re-establish and provide the natural digestive assistance needed.

What to look for in a probiotic?

Look for one that is a human strain, clearly identified with a registration number from an international culture bank such as the American Type Culture Collection (e.g. ATTC 55730). Human-strain probiotics originate from breast milk or from the intestine itself. They are then grown in fermenters to produce enough for large scale production.

Good probiotics will have passed safety tests and have good, proven shelf life. With the pharmacist’s help, you should choose a probiotic that can survive in the acidic environment of the stomach as it passes through on its way to the intestine. An effective probiotic will deliver 100 million cfu of good bacteria.

And here's a warning:

An independent study published in the South African Medical Journal a few years ago drew attention to the fact that not all probiotics are equal and that even if you read the label you can’t be sure you’re getting what you’re promised. Other similar international studies had shown that few products really contained what the label claimed.

And one giant grain of salt: the information is being provided by Thebe Pharmaceuticals. However, I don't see anything here that is incorrect or excessively biased. Probiotics are not a cure-all, but they may be useful in reducing symptoms.

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1 comment:

elson cade said...

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