Effect of a Multi-Strain Probiotic on Growth and Time to Reach Full Feeds in Preterm Neonates

Marwyn Sowden, Evette van Niekerk, Andre Nyandwe Hamama Bulabula, Jos Twisk, Mirjam Maria van Weissenbruch

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Background: The main nutritional goal for premature neonates is to achieve a postnatal growth rate that the neonate would have experienced in utero. Postnatal growth failure is, however, very common in very and extremely low birth weight neonates. The use of probiotics shows promising results in reducing the time for full feeds, as well as in increased weight gain. The optimal probiotic strain has, however, not been elucidated. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the difference in the growth and time to reach full feeds between the two treatment arms, using Labinic TM as a multi-strain probiotic and a placebo. Methods: We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial investigating the effect of a multi strain probiotic (Labinic TM) on various outcomes in preterm neonates. The results on the time to reach full feeds and the growth will be discussed in this paper. A probiotic or placebo was given once daily to the neonates for 28 days. Weight and feeding volume were measured daily, and length and head circumference were measured weekly. Results: The probiotic group reached full feeds earlier 8.7 days; ± 2.0 than the placebo group 9.7 days; ±4.3 (p = 0.04) and regained their birthweight earlier than the placebo group 11.5 days ± 6.3 vs. 13.3 days ± 6.3 (p = 0.06). From day 21 onwards, the probiotic group showed a significantly greater crude gain in weight (p < 0.001) than the placebo group (estimated difference between the two groups day 21: 56.7 g and at day 28: 83.7 g. There was a significant improvement observed in the weight Z-score change in the probiotic group over the 28-day period. Conclusion: The use of a multi-strain probiotic (Labinic TM) shows great potential as a low-cost, low-risk intervention in reducing the time to reach full feeds as well as shortening the time to regain birthweight. The probiotic had an additional beneficial impact on Z-score change in weight potentially decreasing post-natal growth restriction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4658
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • feeding intolerance
  • growth
  • preterm neonate
  • probiotic

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