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The evidence isn't clear on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for the constant crying of colic. They combed through three of the biggest medical research databases – MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library – to find randomized trials involving babies 3 months old and younger (the age range for colic). The results were split: half showed probiotics to help reduce or prevent crying, and half showed no effect.
Among the seven trials in which probiotics were used to try to prevent colic, only two offered any evidence of a positive effect.
Some of the mothers took the probiotics in liquid form while others took capsules before birth (last four weeks of pregnancy) while in other trials the babies received drops, capsules or formula with probiotics after birth. The good news was that no adverse effects were reported from the probiotics, including no gastrointestinal issues or infections.
But the bad news is that the study barely clears up whether probiotics help much with colic or not.
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The physicians of the TV show The Doctors explain the best (and worst) ways to fight your cold naturally. We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. Some people like to travel by train because ?it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of ?an airplane.
The incessant crying that no one has ever definitively tied to an easily identifiable cause can be beyond stressful. Among the five trials that used probiotics to treat already existing colic, three found it effective in breastfed babies, one found it ineffective in breastfed babies and one found it possibly effective in formula-fed babies.


But any sense of a clear finding was hampered by how different the studies were from each other and different types of bias that all were subject to (inadequate blinding or randomization, for example). This is great because it means parents with a colicky baby can try probiotics to see if it works for them with less concern for possible risks.
Some natural cold treatments may relieve symptoms or slightly shorten the length of your illness, and some healthy habits may reduce your risk of getting a cold in the first place, but there's no silver bullet. Adults who meditated for eight weeks had about one third fewer colds over the winter compared with a control group, an Annals of Family Medicine study found.
The same Annals study found that people who began a moderately intense exercise program had 29 percent fewer colds than a control group. People who got fewer than seven hours of sleep a night were nearly three times more likely to develop symptoms when exposed to a virus than those who got eight or more hours, research found.
We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa!
However, it’s helpful to know what the evidence says probiotics are actually effective in treating. One school of thought that attributes colic to gastrointestinal issues, something probiotics might legitimately help with.
Five of the studies used probiotics to manage already-diagnosed colic and the other seven administered probiotics as a preventive measure for colic.
Specifically, the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri appeared most likely to do the trick, reducing crying time by an average of 21 days in the three studies using that probiotic for breastfed babies with colic.
But since many of our patients experiment with natural cold remedies anyway, we combed the latest studies for the best sniffle soothers.
This mineral shortens illness by about a day (it stops the virus from replicating) if you take it within 24 hours of feeling sick, a 2013 Cochrane review of 18 randomized controlled trials found.


A 2011 analysis of ten studies found probiotics decreased the number of people who had at least one cold. One New England Journal of Medicine study found that echinacea did not prevent or treat colds. Some trials have found that taking ginseng preventively shortened the duration of colds, but experts question how well the studies were done and worry about inconsistent results.
So some researchers out of Australia decided to review the evidence on probiotics’ effectiveness in treating colic in a paper published in JAMA PediatricsOctober 7. Six of the trials looked only at formula-fed babies while three looked only at breastfed babies. A 2014 review of 24 trials found that echinacea shortened colds more than a placebo, but evidence wasn't strong. Only one included both breastfed and formula-fed babies, and two included populations of breastfed babies with mothers eating dairy-free diets.
Studies use various preparations, plant parts, and species, so results are hard to generalize.
Side effects aren't common, but check with your doctor if you're allergic to plants in the daisy family (including ragweed). The studies didn't find risks, although megadoses can cause stomach upset and possibly kidney stones if you're prone.



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