Public Release: 

Lactobacillus reuteri may have multiple benefits as a probiotic in premature infants

Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 could reduce the risk of necrotising enterocolitis and feed intolerance in premature infants

American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.)

A new study finds that supplementing enteral nutrition with Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) DSM 17938 as a probiotic may reduce the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature infants. NEC is a condition where portions of the bowel undergo tissue death. It is the second most common cause of death among premature infants.

The study, published today in the OnlineFirst version of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN), the research journal of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), is a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-RCTs of L. reuteri DSM 17938 supplementation in premature infants born at a gestational age of less than 37 weeks. Studies comparing enteral administration of any dose of L. reuteri DSM 17938 or mother strain L. reuteri ATCC 55730 within the first 10 days of life and continued for at least 7 days with placebo or control were eligible for inclusion. Studies comparing L. reuteri DSM 17938 with another probiotic were also included. In the end, 6 RCTs and 2 non-RCTs were included.

The results from the RCTs showed a statistically insignificant improvement in NEC, while the non-RCTs showed significant improvement. Overall, this systematic review suggests that L. reuteri DSM 17938 supplementation has the potential not only to reduce the risk of NEC but also to facilitate enteral nutrition in premature infants. However, larger definitive studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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A publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (JPEN) is the premier scientific journal of nutrition and metabolic support. It publishes original, peer-reviewed studies that define the cutting edge of basic and clinical research in the field. It explores the science of optimizing the care of patients receiving enteral or intravenous therapies. All published JPEN articles are available online at http://pen.sagepub.com.

The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,000 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education. For more information about A.S.P.E.N., please visit http://www.nutritioncare.org.

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