Probiotics boost bowel health, says new Netherlands report

London: A new pilot study from The Netherlands suggests that friendly bacteria, which have known benefits for intestinal health, may boost the number of bowel movements and relieve constipation.

The study investigated the potential of a probiotic mixture to alleviate the symptoms associated with childhood constipation, a condition that can affect up to 30 per cent of children in the Western world according to researchers.

The pilot reported that the frequency of bowel movements doubled following probiotic supplementation, increasing from two per week to 4.2 after two weeks, to 3.8 after four weeks. In addition a decrease in abdominal pain reported by the children showed a drop from 45 per cent at the start of the study to only 20 per cent after four weeks of supplementation.

Researchers from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam report state that previous studies with single strains showed conflicting results, and that a mixture of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains may hold the key. “Given their safety profile, probiotics could be an attractive compound to manipulate gastrointestinal motility in constipated children,” wrote lead author Noor Bekkali.

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Bio-Acidophilus costs £17.95 for 60 veg capsules. Adults should take 2 capsules per day. The dosage for children is lower at half a capsule per day from 12 months onwards, and 1 capsule from 2 years onwards. Children between 6 and 12 months can take half a teaspoon (2g) per day of Biocare’s strawberry or banana flavoured Acidophilus Powder (60g for £13.75), which contains the same beneficial strains of bacteria in a base of naturally flavoured FOS. Bifidobacterium Infantis (60g for £24.60) is suitable for children from birth onwards, as it only contains the one strain of bacteria, also in a base of FOS. The powder can mixed withwater, milk, juice or unheated food. Follow these dosage guidelines or as professionally directed.

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