Probiotics may provide relief for infants with colic, new study reveals

Probiotics may provide relief for infants with colic, new study reveals
Press Release | Dec 04. 2019 10:01 GMT

Up to one in four infants globally suffer from excessive crying and fussing – often called colic. A new study shows that the BB-12®1 probiotic strain may help reduce crying duration and the number of crying episodes and bring relief to infants and their parents

The results from a new clinical trial show that the daily intake of probiotic strain Bifidobacterium (BB-12®) may provide help to infants suffering from colic around the world. 80% of the infants supplemented with Bifidobacterium (BB-12®) met the trial primary endpoint criteria, showing a reduction in duration of crying by 50% or more.

“As a father of four, I know all too well the impact on the whole family of a crying baby that just can’t be soothed. That’s why I’m very excited by these results which clearly show that the BB-12® probiotic strain may help manage colic, providing an improved quality of life for the whole family during these first few months of the baby’s life”, explains Andrew Scorey, head of Human Health at Chr. Hansen.

Up to 25% of infants worldwide suffer from colic2
Associated with parental guilt, frustration, sleep problems and visits to the doctor, excessive crying and fussing – often called colic – is a source of major distress for the infants, parents and caregivers. It’s one of the most common reasons parents seek medical advice during the first three months of their baby’s life3. And yet the exact cause for colic is largely unknown.

Colic is defined as severe pain in the abdomen caused by wind or obstruction in the intestines and suffered especially by babies. Characterized by excessive crying, grimacing, a red face, knees drawn up to the chest, clenched fists and excessive gas4, the answer seems to lie in the gut. Babies with colic have lower counts of good bacteria and increased concentrations of undesirable bacteria in their digestive tracts5, 6.

“The probiotic strain Bifidobacterium (BB-12®) may ease colic by modifying the microbiota in infants with intestinal dysbiosis. The results indicate that the strain does this by increasing bifidobacterial abundance and by inhibiting the increase of harmful bacteria,” explains senior scientific advisor at Chr. Hansen, Ulla Holmboe Gondolf.

One of the most documented strains in the world
The trial was conducted in Italy by Professor Roberto Berni Canani and has been published in medical journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics: “The therapeutic efficacy of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (BB-12®) in infant colic: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial”.

The 80 breast fed infants in the trial were seven weeks or younger and had all been diagnosed with colic according to Rome III criteria. The infants were given a placebo, or 1 billion live bacteria per day of Bifidobacterium (BB-12®) oil drops provided by Chr. Hansen over 28 days.

Bifidobacterium (BB-12®) has been used worldwide since 1985 as an ingredient in food and dietary supplements. It has been described in more than 315 scientific publications where more than 190 of these are from clinical studies7.


1 BB-12® is a trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S | 2 Wolke et al. J Pediatr. 2017;185:55-61.e4 | 3 Kheir et al. Ital J Pediatr, 2012;38:34 | 4 National Health Service 2019; | 5 Zeevenhooven et al. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2018;15:479-496. | 6 Mayer et al. J Clin Invest, 2015;125:926-38. | 7 As at August 2019.

Chr. Hansen is a global, differentiated bioscience company that develops natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. At Chr. Hansen we are uniquely positioned to drive positive change through microbial solutions. We have worked for almost 150 years to enable sustainable agriculture, better food and healthier living for more people around the world. Our microbial and fermentation technology platforms, including our broad and relevant collection of around 50,000 microbial strains, have game-changing potential. Matching customer needs and global trends we continue to unlock the power of good bacteria to respond to global challenges such as food waste, global health and the overuse of antibiotics and pesticides. As one of the world’s most sustainable companies, we touch the lives of more than 1 billion people every day. Driven by our legacy of innovation and curiosity to pioneer science, our purpose – To grow a better world. Naturally. – is at the heart of everything we do.

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