The influence of probiotics on gastrointestinal tract infections among children attending childcare: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Current literature related to the impact of probiotics on the incidence of gastrointestinal tract infections (GITIs) has shown mixed results and no systematic review available with pooled analysis exists.


Thus, the aim of this systematic review was to provide contemporary evidence regarding the overall and strain-specific influence of probiotics in preventing GITIs among infants and children attending childcare centres. The review shortlisted 18 RCTs after screening through the initial search results of 779 articles. However, only 15 trials were deemed eligible, addressing at least one outcome in the pooled analysis.


It is concluded that the supplementation of probiotics (overall effect) may reduce the risk of GITI episode by 26%, with Lacticaseibacillus paracasei, Limosilactobacillus reuteri and Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG being specifically potent probiotic strains in reducing GITI episode, duration of infection and absence from childcare respectively. There is insufficient evidence to determine the effect of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 based on the findings of the trials included in this review.



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Published: 18 November 2021

Journal of Applied Microbiology; DOI: