Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Probiotic supplements do not reduce frequency of middle ear infections in infants

112 children ages 7 to13 months who received commercially available preparation of probiotics named Streptococcus thermophilus, Streptococcus salivarius and Lactobacillus rhamnosus had similar number of  ear infections as 112 children who received no probiotic supplementation.

This is a disappointing, but not unanticipated finding. Because breast milk contains probiotics and breast milk diet is associated with lower incidence of ear infections, inferring that adding probiotics to artificial baby formula may reduce incidence of ear infections was a stretch. Besides probiotics breast milk contains antibodies against many bugs and other compounds with antibacterial and antiviral properties, most likely responsible for this particular health benefit of breast milk.

Sergei Shushunov, MD