Here's Why Probiotics Is Not Beneficial to Kids With Stomach Virus

Probiotics not beneficial for young kids with stomach virus
Probiotics not beneficial for young kids with stomach virus (photo: pexels)
By M. GraceNovember 26th, 2018

Children with stomach viruses are oftentimes prescribed to take probiotics in order to ease the symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. However, a study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found out that probiotics are not effective enough to treat gastroenteritis in children.

On a report on November 25, the study suggested that gastroenteritis accounts for 1.7 pediatric emergency room visits and more than 70,000 hospitalizations each year. Moreover, they looked into nearly 1,000 children aged between three months to four years and had provided against the costly use of probiotics (live microorganisms which are believed to restore the balance of intestinal bacteria and boost the immune system).

The participants of the study were children who had come to the emergency room with symptoms of gastroenteritis: vomiting, watery stools, diarrhea and other signs of acute intestinal infection. The participants also did not take any probiotics for the preceding two weeks.

"Probiotics have become an increasingly popular way to treat children experiencing acute gastroenteritis. Some smaller studies have indicated that probiotics may help, however, such studies had a number of limitations. We sought to provide independent and conclusive evidence for or against probiotic use in infants and toddlers with acute gastroenteritis," said the study author David Schnadower.

Another study in Canada, published in the same journal and co-authored by Schnadower, examined the effectiveness of probiotics in children with stomach viruses. The findings of the study have reportedly mirrored in the study conducted in the United States.

"Probiotics had no effect on the children. Parents are better off saving their money and using it to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables for their children," said US study co-author Phillip I. Tarr.

"Because of the popularity of probiotics, it was important to make sure their use is worth the cost. In this instance, probiotics added no measurable benefit, and, therefore, they are not worth the added cost," said Schnadower.

"We tested many different scenarios -- infants compared with toddlers, whether the patient had taken antibiotics, whether the gastroenteritis was caused by virus or bacteria, and how long diarrhea had been going on before the treatment was given. We also had the probiotic independently tested for purity and strength. Every time, we reached the same conclusion," Schnadower said.

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