The following is a summary of “Synbiotics in the Management of Pediatric Gastrointestinal Disorders: Position Paper of the ESPGHAN Special Interest Group on Gut Microbiota and Modifications,” published in the January 2023 issue of Gastroenterology and Nutrition by Hojsak, et al.

Synbiotics are a combination of living microorganisms and substrate(s) that are only used by host microorganisms and positively impact the host’s health. More research are examining their function in various illnesses and disorders. For a study, researchers sought to offer suggestions on how to utilize synbiotics to treat pediatric gastrointestinal diseases. The guidelines were created by the ESPGHAN Special Interest Group on Modifications to Gut Microbiota.

They searched and evaluated all systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses from the literature databases that were already available, and then they published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared the use of synbiotics, in all delivery vehicles and formulations, at any dose, compared to not using synbiotics. However, they did not evaluate the synbiotics found in newborn formula. Only when there were at least two RCTs using a clearly defined synbiotic were recommendations made.

The use of the evaluated synbiotic combination in treating acute gastroenteritis, preventing necrotizing enterocolitis, Helicobacter pylori infection, inflammatory bowel disease, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and allergy in infants and children cannot be recommended or discouraged based on the evidence that was currently available.

To facilitate comparisons between trials, there was a need for more RCTs on using synbiotics for gastrointestinal illnesses that are well-designed and use the same outcome measures.