By Bob Condor

I worked with a manager just a couple years back who was missing work every other week because her baby/toddler was experiencing significant digestive episodes, including diarrhea that was life altering for child and mother.

Thinking I was being helpful, I mentioned probiotics to the manager. I talked about available liquid supplements and mentioned certain yogurt (Stonyfield Farm) and kefir brands (Lifeway, Helios, Nancy’s) that made products that were kid-friendly, organic and offered multiple live cultures of the friendly bacteria that we all need.

The manager pretty much waved me off, asking about some project or another. The manager missed more work. Most importantly, the kid still suffered.

Fast forward: A new study from German researchers suggest “it is best to start probitoic therapy as early as possible” in infants and toddlers suffereing from diarrhea, which can even be life-threatening for babies. The German scientists specifically evaluated a “good” strain called E. coli Nissle 1917 or EcN that has been licensed in Europe for treating bowel diseases since that Nissle guy discovered it in 1917. This strain is not to be confused with the destructive E. coli bacteria covered in the media.

The 151 infants and toddlers followed in the study recovered

faster with the EcN as part of medication offered compared to the medication only. On average, the children not receiving probiotics had bouts of diarrhea lasting three to four days longer. The study was published this month in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

There is considerable previous research on probiotics and diarrhea, including a 2007 Swedish study showing the condition can be treated in children not only more effectively but less expensively when probiotics are the primary treatment instead of antibiotic medications. The children were still provided some antibiotics, but only about 10 percent of the usual dose.

As any parent knows, weaning your child away from unnecessary antibiotics is one of the kindest and healthiest action steps you can take for his/her wellness.

“Bob Condor is the Daily Health Blogger for Barton Publishing . He is also the Living Well columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer . He covers natural health and quality of life issues and writes regularly for national magazines, including Life, Esquire, Parade, Self, and Outside. He is a former syndicated health columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of six books, including “The Good Mood Diet” and “Your Prostate Cancer Survivors' Guide.” He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two 11-year-old kids.”