Doctors in Madison are leading a study to see if probiotics are the key to a healthier life. The answer could lie in the youngest of patients.
You can find them on the shelves of nearly every grocery store -- foods fortified with probiotics -- a dietary supplement of live bacteria, the good kind that helps our digestive system.
Now, researchers with Dean Foundation want to know if taking priobotics at an earlier age can keep people healthier.
Think Activia for babies.
The advantages of probiotics for infants would be monumental, said Dr. Michael Yaffe. They have the potential to boost babies' immune systems. Infants receiving probiotics seem to have less infections, less fevers, less viral infections, less diarrhea and vomiting episodes.
Yaffe says probiotics could open the door to what many experts consider impossible: creating an infant formula that replicates breast milk, and the myriad benefits that come with it.
Parents come in here asking why is my child having another ear infection, they're having another stomach flu, they're in day care, and theyr'e getting these frequent infections, Yaffe said.
Doctors hope this new study will reveal an answer. If baby probiotics work, the impacts could be wide ranging -- fewer absences at school, fewer visits to the doctors, and fewer diseases down the road.
Dean Foundation is still looking for families to participate in this study. If you qualify, you'll get study formula for free.
Contact nancy at dean foundation (608) 252-8194 www.dean.org