Effects of probiotics on child growth
This review found a benefit of dietary intake of probiotics in terms of weight and height gain in under-nourished children and possible benefit in terms of weight gain in well-nourished children in developing countries. The limited evidence suggests that probiotics have the potential to improve child growth in developing countries and in under-nourished children. More research is needed to explore this further.
Under-nutrition in children can have long term consequences for both individuals and society. Previous studies have suggested that probiotic intervention may promote child growth and be used to treat under-nutrition in children. This study aimed to evaluate existing evidence of the benefits of probiotics in treating under-nutrition in children, using a systematic review and narrative analysis to account for heterogeneity. Twelve studies were included in this review, ten of which were randomized control trials. Results showed five trials, conducted in developing countries, to indicate positive effects of probiotics on child growth. No significant effect of probiotics on child growth was observed in studies conducted in developed countries. More research is required to further explore the impact of probiotics on under-nutrition in children.