Premature and young infants

The starting point for development and maturation of our immune system is the moment of birth when the gut is colonised by bacteria from the mother’s birth canal. 

Any disruption of the natural process of acquiring germs from the mother at birth (eg. birth by Caesarean Section or early use of antibiotics) may result in less than optimum maturation of the baby’s immunity. 

Lactobacillus GG has been documented to strengthen the immune system of premature and young infants and to protect them from the risk of infections. 

Extremely premature babies weighing less than 1.5 kg whowere admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit were fed LactoGG’s probiotic strain throughout their stay in the hospital. 

The doctors found that babies acquired less fungal and yeast infections if they were given the GG probiotic.

Effect of Lactobacillus GG on the number of premature infants acquiring fungus during their hospital stay. [Manzoni et al. 2006]

In 2008 a clinical trial involving nearly 1000 mothers and their babies was carried out using a probiotic preparation containing LACTOGG®’s probiotic strain. 

This probiotic preparation was consumed by the mothers in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy and was continuously given to the newborn babies for 6 months in one group and none in another. 

The babies were checked regularly until they were 2 years old.The researchers found that those babies who had received the probiotic preparation in their first 6 months of life had significantly fewer episodes of nose, throat and lung infections during their first 2 years of life. 

Total number of infections in infants 6-24 months old, after 6 months probiotic supplementation was completed. [Kukkonen et al. 2008]

The babies who took the probiotic preparation also had less need for antibiotics in their first 6 months of life.

Another clinical trial investigated whether including Lactobacillus GG in a probiotic preparation in the first 2 months of life would protect the infant from getting infections.

It was found that the supplemented babies suffered less middle ear infections and had less need for antibiotics. The researchers also documented that the infants in the probiotic group suffered less repeated infections of the nose and throat throughout their first year of life.

Babies on a probiotic preparation containing Lactobacillus GG had less infections and needed less antibiotics. [Rautava et al. 2009]


Kukkonen K et al. Long-term safety and impact on infection rates on postnatal probiotic and prebiotic (synbiotic) treatment: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatrics 2008;122:8-12

Luoto R et al. Prebiotic and probiotic supplementation prevents rhinovirus infections in preterm infants: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J. Allergy Clin Immunol 2014;133:405-13

Manzoni P et al. Oral supplementation with Lactobacillus casei subspecies rhamnosus prevents enteric colonization by Candida species in preterm neonates: a randomized study. ClD 2006;42:1735-42

Rautava S et al. Specific probiotics in reducing the risk of acute infections in infancy - a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Br J Nutr 2009;101(11):1722-6

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