Fermentation benefits

Can yogurt prevent diarrhoea in children on antibiotics?

little boy eating yogurt

Gastrointestinal upset is a well-known complication of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which may affect the function of normal bowel flora. These changes often present as antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD), which may result in poor compliance with antibiotic therapy.

The frequency of AAD is estimated to be between 11% and 30% for children on oral antibiotics. This randomised, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled clinical trial investigates the efficacy of a probiotic yogurt in reducing the rate of AAD in children on antibiotics.

Participants and interventions children (aged 1–12 years) prescribed antibiotics, were randomised to receive 200 g/day of either yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), Bifidobacterium lactis (Bb-12) and Lactobacillus acidophilus (La-5) or a pasteurised yogurt (placebo) for the same duration as their antibiotic treatment.

Results showed that there were no incidents of severe diarrhoea (stool consistency ≥6, ≥3 stools/day for ≥2 consecutive days) in the yogurt group and six in the placebo group. There was also only one episode of minor diarrhoea (stool consistency ≥5, ≥2 stools/day for ≥2 days) in the yogurt group compared to 21 in the placebo group.

The yogurt group also reported fewer adverse events than the placebo group. According the authors, an economical, easily accessible, nutritious food, like such a probiotic yogurt could be an effective method for reducing the incidence of antibiotic-associated GI disturbance in children.

Source: Michael J Fox et al. BMJ Open 2015;5:e006474 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006474