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Probiotics May Help Preserve Variety of Gut Bacteria in Infants

Babies are born with a wide variety of bacteria in their gut, but that variety decreases as they get older. A recent study suggests that probiotics may not only beneficially change the gut microbiomes of healthy infants but may also have anti-inflammatory effects.


Participants in the study included 202 healthy infants between the ages of three and 12 months. The infants were breastfed and/or fed formula. They were given either Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis R0033, Lactobacillus helveticus R0052, Bifidobacterium bifidum R0071, or a placebo for eight weeks.


The researchers found that the most common probiotic genus in all of the infants at the beginning of the study was Bifidobacterium. At the conclusion of the study, they noted no significant changes in in Bifidobacterium in the probiotic groups. The placebo group, however, had decreases in different Bifidobacterium species, including B. bifidum and B. breve. They also had increases in Bacteroides, Blautia, Clostridium, Coprococcus and Faecalibacterium.


The researchers also noted an increase in the anti-inflammatory ratio interleukin (IL)-10/IL-12 at the end of the intervention period in the B. infantis R0033 group. The pro-inflammatory ratio of TNF-? to IL-10 increased in the L. helveticus R0052 group.


Researchers from Complutense University of Madrid led the study. It was published online ahead of print on May 4, 2018, in the journal Beneficial Microbes.

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