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Probiotics as a help in children suffering from malnutrition and diarrhoea


Malnutrition is associated with a significant impairment of cell-mediated immunity, phagocyte function, immunoglobulin A concentrations and cytokine production. This situation—which is unfortunately very frequent in infants and children from developing countries—leads to a high risk of infection, and often to episodes of diarrhoea, hence aggravating the nutritional status. Fermented milks are known to exert a beneficial influence on the host's health. They act by modulating gut microflora, regulating any alteration of gut mucosa and stimulating immune response. A number of studies have shown that probiotics shorten the duration of diarrhoea and prevent recurrence of other episodes. Furthermore, probiotics can prevent diarrhoea from infection in infants with malnutrition. In addition, it has been shown that cytokines could be used as biological markers of both impaired immune system and the immune stimulation of probiotics. The aim of this review is to update the effect of fermented milks in situations of malnutrition and diarrhoea as a consequence of infection as well as the role of cytokines produced by fermented milks in these deficient conditions.

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Correspondence to A Marcos.

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Solis, B., Samartín, S., Gómez, S. et al. Probiotics as a help in children suffering from malnutrition and diarrhoea. Eur J Clin Nutr 56 (Suppl 3), S57–S59 (2002).

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  • malnutrition
  • diarrhoea
  • children
  • probiotics

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