Fermentation benefits

Acute gastroenteritis in children: what about yogurt?

acute gastroenteritis

The ESPGHAN updated guidelines of May 2014 for treatment of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) don’t describe the benefits of yogurt in nutritional management. Many countries however do believe in the positive effect of yogurt consumption. Following these considerations, the efficacy of yogurt in the management of AGE needs to be evaluated.

Acute gastroenteritis is also called gastric flu and is caused by infectious bacteria and viruses that affect the stomach and intestines. Diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain are the main symptoms. Dehydration and weight loss are important risks of AGE. With the proven health benefits of yogurt, we need to reflect on how yogurt can contribute in the management of AGE.

A systematic review on the role of yogurt in the treatment of children with AGE was published in the online journal Clinical Nutrition. The authors used different databases to compose four RCTs of 448 subjects for their analysis. All RCTs were low in methodological quality and were performed in clinical setting.

Improved weight gain with yogurt consumption for children with AGE

There was no consistency in the data on the influence of yogurt consumption on the duration of diarrhea and stool frequency. Neither was there a significant difference in stool volume between children who consumed yogurt during their AGE treatment and those who did not. The chances of success and failure of the treatment was also the same in both groups. Due to the limitations in data and methodologies of the trials, these findings should be handled with caution.

However, the consumption of yogurt did contribute to an increase of total weight gain during the treatment. Furthermore they determined a shorter duration of hospitalization for the group of children who consumed yogurt, this difference was small but significant.

Source: Patro-Golab B et al. Clinical Nutrition Journal. September 17, 2014