Probiotics and prebiotics may improve infant health

Synbiotics combine probiotics and prebiotics to help promote a healthy gut microbiome.

Sepsis is a bacterial infection that spreads to organs and tissues, with low-birth-weight and preterm infants particularly susceptible. In this study, 4,500 infants from 149 villages in the Indian state of Odisha—where infant mortality rates are high, often due to sepsis infection— got daily synbiotics or a placebo beginning two to four days after birth.

After 60 days, infants who received the probiotic lactobacillus plantarum plus the prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharide inulin were 40 percent less likely to have developed sepsis compared to placebo. Because the results were so unexpectedly good, doctors stopped the trial and gave all the infants synbiotics. Synbiotics also reduced chances for lower respiratory tract infection requiring antibiotic treatment by 34.4 percent.


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