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Complementary and Alternative Medicine - Cam

Search Health Information    Diarrhea (Holistic)

Diarrhea (Holistic)

About This Condition

While persistent or severe cases may need special care, for common diarrhea discomfort relief just takes time and a few well-chosen remedies. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Refuel and rehydrate

    Replace lost fluids and replenish electrolytes by drinking sports drinks or other rehydration formulas, or eating vegetable soup

  • Go with probiotics

    Try “beneficial bacteria” supplementation to help with recovery and prevent recurrences; take 500 mg of Saccharomyces boulardii one to four times a day, or 3 billion colony-forming units of probiotic bacteria one to three times a day

  • Rely on lactase

    If you think you may suffer from lactose intolerance, try a digestive enzyme–containing lactase when drinking or eating milk products

  • Make time for a checkup

    See your healthcare provider if diarrhea continues for more than a few days or if you experience other abdominal symptoms

About

About This Condition

Diarrhea is any attack of frequent, watery stools.

Diarrhea can be triggered by many different conditions. Acute diarrhea is often caused by an infection and may require medical management. The primary role of nutrition in acute diarrhea is to prevent depletion of fluid, sodium, potassium , and calories. Replenishment of all four has been achieved with “rehydration solutions” and with a variety of foods, from salted carrot soup to peeled scraped apple to rice gruel. However, diarrhea severe enough to necessitate the use of rehydration solutions requires direct medical supervision. Therefore, nutritional approaches to overcoming depletion of fluid, sodium, potassium, and calories are not discussed here, but rather should be discussed with a doctor. Diarrhea-induced low blood sugar , dehydration, or electrolyte imbalance can be serious or even life-threatening, particularly if prolonged in children.

A healthcare provider should be consulted if diarrhea continues for more than a few days, as it may indicate a more serious health condition. Diarrhea alternating with constipation may be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Symptoms

Normal bowel habits vary considerably from person to person depending on age, diet, cultural factors, and individual physiology. However, loose watery stools occurring three or more times in one day is generally considered abnormal. In some instances, diarrhea may be accompanied by cramping abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, and bloody or foul-smelling stools.

Holistic Options

Other integrative approaches that may be helpful: Acupuncture may be useful for the treatment of diarrhea, particularly in infants. A preliminary study of acupuncture treatment in 1,050 cases of infantile diarrhea found 95% were relieved with one to three treatments.1 Similar results have been reported in other preliminary trials2 , 3 and case reports.4 , 5 A controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of infantile diarrhea compared scalp acupuncture or traditional body acupuncture with drug therapy, primarily antibiotics. The cure rate for scalp and body acupuncture was significantly higher (90% and 89%) than that of drug treatment (46%).6

Eating Right

The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.

Recommendation Why
If you’re lactose intolerant, avoid milk products
People whose diarrhea is caused by lactose intolerance can avoid the problem by steering clear of milk and ice cream or by taking lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose.
People who are lactose intolerant —meaning they lack the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar—often develop diarrhea after consuming milk or ice cream. People whose lactose intolerance is the cause of diarrhea will rid themselves of the problem by avoiding milk and ice cream or in many cases by taking lactase , the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Lactase is available in a variety of forms in pharmacies (and in grocery stores in the form of lactase-treated milk).
Try the BRAT diet
Some doctors recommend the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, and toast) for acute bouts of diarrhea. These foods are mild, well-tolerated, and good sources of helpful nutrients.

Some doctors recommend a diet called the BRAT diet for acute bouts of diarrhea. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, apples and toast. These foods are mild, well-tolerated and good sources of fiber, potassium and other nutrients that may be helpful in diarrhea. The efficacy of this diet has not been evaluated in clinical trials.

Cut down on coffee
Drinking several cups of coffee per day causes diarrhea in some people. Avoiding all coffee for a few days should help determine whether coffee is the culprit.

Drinking several cups of coffee per day causes diarrhea in some people.7 People with chronic diarrhea who drink coffee should avoid all coffee for a few days to evaluate whether coffee is the culprit.

Look at your supplements
Large amounts of vitamin C or magnesium found in supplements can also cause diarrhea, avoiding the offending supplement brings rapid relief.

Large amounts of vitamin C or magnesium found in supplements can also cause diarrhea, although the amount varies considerably from person to person. Unlike infectious diarrhea, diarrhea caused by high amounts of vitamin C or magnesium is not generally accompanied by other signs of illness. The same is true when the problem comes from sorbitol or fructose.8 In these cases, avoiding the offending supplement or food brings rapid relief.

Uncover your food allergies
Allergies and food sensitivities are common triggers for diarrhea. People with chronic diarrhea not attributable to other causes should discuss the possibility of food sensitivity with a doctor.

Allergies and food sensitivities are common triggers for diarrhea.9 For example, some infants suffer diarrhea when fed cow’s milk-based formula but improve when switched to soy-based formula.10 People with chronic diarrhea not attributable to other causes should discuss the possibility of food sensitivity with a doctor.

Watch for certain sugars
Avoid fructose in fruit juices such as apple juice and pear juice, and in soft drinks and desserts. Also avoid sorbitol in dietetic sweets. These sugars may be poorly absorbed, sometimes leading to diarrhea.

Some foods contain sugars that are absorbed slowly, such as fructose in fruit juice or sorbitol in dietetic confectionery. Through a process called osmosis, these unabsorbed sugars hold onto water in the intestines, sometimes leading to diarrhea.11 By reading labels, people with chronic non-infectious diarrhea can easily avoid fruit juice, fructose, and sorbitol to see if this eliminates the problem.

Supplements

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Supplement Why
3 Stars
Lactase (Lactose Intolerance)
6000-9000 IU tablets chewed with a lactose-containing meal or 1000 IU in liquid form added to 8 ounces of milk before drinking.
If you think you may suffer from lactose intolerance, supplementing with digestive enzyme–containing lactase when drinking or eating milk products may help.

If lactose intolerance is the cause of diarrhea, supplemental use of lactase prior to consuming milk or milk-containing products can be helpful.12Cheese rarely has enough lactose to cause symptoms in lactose-intolerant people. Lactase products are available that can be chewed while drinking milk or added to milk directly.

3 Stars
Multivitamin
Take as directed on label
Diarrhea-related malabsorption can lead to deficiencies of many vitamins and minerals. For this reason, it makes sense to take a multivitamin-mineral supplement.

The malabsorption problems that develop during diarrhea can lead to deficiencies of many vitamins and minerals.13 For this reason, it makes sense for people with diarrhea to take a multivitamin-mineral supplement . Two of the nutrients that may not be absorbed efficiently as a result of diarrhea are zinc and vitamin A , both needed to fight infections. In third world countries, supplementation with zinc and vitamin A has led to a reduction in, or prevention of, infectious diarrhea in children.14 There is evidence that even children who are not zinc-deficient could benefit from zinc supplementation during an episode of infectious diarrhea, if the diarrhea is being caused by certain specific organisms, such as the organism that causes cholera or some strains of E. coli.15

2 Stars
Bovine Colostrum
10 to 20 grams daily
Colostrum appears to be useful in treating certain types of infectious diarrhea. In one study, it significantly reduced diarrhea and the amount of oral rehydration required.

Colostrum might be useful for certain types of infectious diarrhea. In a double-blind trial, children with diarrhea caused by a rotavirus were treated with immunoglobulins extracted from colostrum derived from cows immunized with rotavirus. Compared with the placebo, colostrum extract significantly reduced the amount of diarrhea and the amount of oral rehydration solution required. The rotavirus was eliminated from the stool significantly more rapidly in the colostrum group than in the placebo group (1.5 days, vs. 2.9 days).24

In addition to a positive effect against acute rotavirus diarrhea,25 there is also evidence that specific forms of colostrum (derived from specially immunized cows or those with confirmed presence of specific antibodies) are effective against diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium parvum, Helicobacter pylori, Escherichia coli, and Clostridium difficile.26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 However, it is not known whether commercially-available colostrum provides significant amounts of the specific immunoglobulins that are active against these organisms. Furthermore, unless the immunoglobulins are present in high enough concentrations, the preparation is not likely to be effective.31

2 Stars
Carob
15 grams daily
Useful for treating diarrhea in adults, children, and infants, carob is rich in tannins that have an astringent or binding effect on the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract.

Carob is rich in tannins that have an astringent or binding effect on the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract. A double-blind trial has suggested it may be particularly useful for young children and infants with diarrhea.32 Some healthcare professionals recommend 15 grams of carob powder is mixed with applesauce (for flavor) when given to children. Carob can also be used for treating adult diarrhea.

2 Stars
Fiber
Adults: 20 grams daily soluable fiber; for young children: 6.5 grams daily soy fiber
While fiber from dietary or herbal sources is often useful for constipation, it may also play a role in alleviating diarrhea.

While fiber from dietary or herbal sources is often useful for constipation, it may also play a role in alleviating diarrhea.33 , 34

2 Stars
Glucosamine
250 mg with morning and evening meals
Some autistic children suffer from chronic diarrhea. In one study, supplementing with glucosamine eliminated the diarrhea in five of six children with autism, possibly by blocking the effect of certain dietary components on the intestinal tract.

Some autistic children suffer from chronic diarrhea . In a study of children with autistic spectrum disorders and persistent diarrhea for many years, supplementing with 500 mg of glucosamine per day (spread over the morning and evening meal) for 30 days eliminated the diarrhea in five of six cases.35 The authors hypothesized that glucosamine worked by blocking the effect of certain dietary components on the intestinal tract.

2 Stars
Glutamine
136 mg per pound of body weight
Glutamine appears to be beneficial for diarrhea by improving the health of the intestinal lining, rather than by affecting the immune system.

In a double-blind study of children (ages six months to two years) with acute diarrhea, supplementing with glutamine significantly reduced the duration of diarrhea by 26%.36 Children were given 136 mg of glutamine per pound of body weight per day for seven days. Glutamine appeared to work by improving the health of the intestinal lining, rather than through any effect on the immune system.

2 Stars
Psyllium
9 to 30 grams daily
Psyllium seed (an excellent source of fiber) makes stool more solid and can help resolve diarrhea symptoms.

While fiber from dietary or herbal sources is often useful for constipation, it may also play a role in alleviating diarrhea. For example, 9–30 grams per day of psyllium seed (an excellent source of fiber) makes stool more solid and can help resolve symptoms of non-infectious diarrhea.37 Alginic acid, one of the major constituents in bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus), is a type of dietary fiber and as a result may potentially help relieve diarrhea. However, human studies have not been done on how effective bladderwrack is for this condition.

2 Stars
Sangre de Drago
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
An extract from stem bark latex of Sangre de drago, has been shown to be effective in treating traveler’s diarrhea, non-specific diarrhea, and diarrhea associated with HIV and AIDS.

An extract from stem bark latex of Sangre de drago (Croton lechleri), an herb from the Amazon basin of Peru, has demonstrated significant anti-diarrheal activity in preliminary38 , 39 and double-blind trials. Double-blind research has demonstrated the extract’s effectiveness for traveler’s diarrhea,40 non-specific diarrhea,41 and diarrhea associated with HIV infection and AIDS.42 , 43 For traveler’s diarrhea and nonspecific diarrhea, amounts ranging from 125 mg to 500 mg taken four times daily for two days have proven effective. However, in one trial, only the 125 mg four times daily amount (but not higher amounts) was effective for acute nonspecific diarrhea.44 The reasons for the failure of higher amounts in this study is not known. Very high amounts of these extracts (350–700 mg four times daily for seven or more days) were used in the trials involving people with HIV and AIDS. Such levels of supplementation should always be supervised by a doctor. Most of this research on Sangre de Drago is unpublished, and much of it is derived from manufacturers of the formula. Further double-blind trials, published in medical journals, are needed to confirm the efficacy reported in these studies.

2 Stars
Sangre de Drago (HIV and AIDS Support)
Take under medical supervision: 350 to 700 mg four times per day for seven or more days
An extract from stem bark latex of Sangre de Drago, an herb from the Amazon basin of Peru, has been shown to be effective against diarrhea associated with HIV and AIDS.

An extract from stem bark latex of Sangre de Drago (Croton lechleri), an herb from the Amazon basin of Peru, has demonstrated significant anti-diarrheal activity in preliminary45 and double-blind trials. Additional double-blind research has demonstrated the extract’s effectiveness for diarrhea associated with HIV infection and AIDS.46 , 47 Very high amounts of this extract (350–700 mg four times daily for seven or more days) were used in the studies. Such levels of supplementation should always be supervised by a doctor. Most of this research on Sangre de Drago is unpublished, and much of it is derived from manufacturers of the formula. Further double-blind trials, published in peer-reviewed medical journals, are needed to confirm the efficacy reported in these studies.

2 Stars
Tormentil Root Extract (Rotavirus Infection)
Take a liquid herbal extract daily: for the amount, multiply your age by three and take that number of drops
Tormentil root is an herb that has been used for many years in different European folk medicines for treating diarrhea.

Tormentil root (Potentilla tormentilla) is an herb that has been used for many years in different European folk medicines for the treatment of diarrhea. In a double-blind study of children with diarrhea caused by rotavirus infection, the duration of diarrhea averaged three days in children who received tormentil root extract, compared with five days in those who received a placebo.48 No adverse effects were seen. The amount of tormentil root extract used was 3 drops for every year of life, taken three times a day until diarrhea stopped, or for a maximum of five days.

1 Star
Barberry
Refer to label instructions
Berberine, a constituent of barbarry, has been shown to improve infectious diarrhea in some double-blind trials.

Due to of its supposed antimicrobial activity, goldenseal has a long history of use for infectious diarrhea. Its major alkaloid, berberine (also found in barberry and Oregon grape ), has been shown to improve infectious diarrhea in some double-blind trials.49 Negative studies have generally focused on people with cholera, while positive studies investigated viral diarrhea or diarrhea due to strains of E. coli. These studies generally used 400–500 mg berberine one to three times per day. Because of the low amount of berberine in most goldenseal products, it is unclear how effective the whole root or root extracts would be in treating diarrhea.

1 Star
Bilberry
Refer to label instructions
Bilberry has been used traditionally in Germany for adults and children with diarrhea. Only dried berries or juice should be used—fresh berries may worsen diarrhea.

Astringent herbs traditionally used for diarrhea include blackberry leaves, blackberry root bark, blueberry leaves, and red raspberry leaves.50 Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and, like blackberry, may relieve acute diarrhea. A close cousin of the blueberry, bilberry , has been used traditionally in Germany for adults and children with diarrhea.51 Only dried berries or juice should be used—fresh berries may worsen diarrhea.

Cranesbill has been used by several of the indigenous tribes of North America to treat diarrhea. The tannins in cranesbill likely account for the anti-diarrheal activity52—although there has been little scientific research to clarify cranesbill’s constituents and actions.

1 Star
Blackberry
Refer to label instructions
Blackberry is an astringent herb traditionally used to treat diarrhea.

Astringent herbs traditionally used for diarrhea include blackberry leaves, blackberry root bark, blueberry leaves, and red raspberry leaves.53 Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and, like blackberry, may relieve acute diarrhea. A close cousin of the blueberry, bilberry , has been used traditionally in Germany for adults and children with diarrhea.54 Only dried berries or juice should be used—fresh berries may worsen diarrhea.

Cranesbill has been used by several of the indigenous tribes of North America to treat diarrhea. The tannins in cranesbill likely account for the anti-diarrheal activity55—although there has been little scientific research to clarify cranesbill’s constituents and actions.

1 Star
Bladderwrack
Refer to label instructions
Alginic acid, a constituent in bladderwrack, is a type of dietary fiber and as a result may help relieve diarrhea.

While fiber from dietary or herbal sources is often useful for constipation, it may also play a role in alleviating diarrhea. For example, 9–30 grams per day of psyllium seed (an excellent source of fiber) makes stool more solid and can help resolve symptoms of non-infectious diarrhea.56 Alginic acid, one of the major constituents in bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus), is a type of dietary fiber and as a result may potentially help relieve diarrhea. However, human studies have not been done on how effective bladderwrack is for this condition.

1 Star
Blueberry
Refer to label instructions
Blueberry is an astringent herb traditionally used to treat diarrhea.

Astringent herbs traditionally used for diarrhea include blackberry leaves, blackberry root bark, blueberry leaves, and red raspberry leaves.57 Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and, like blackberry, may relieve acute diarrhea. A close cousin of the blueberry, bilberry , has been used traditionally in Germany for adults and children with diarrhea.58 Only dried berries or juice should be used—fresh berries may worsen diarrhea.

Cranesbill has been used by several of the indigenous tribes of North America to treat diarrhea. The tannins in cranesbill likely account for the anti-diarrheal activity59—although there has been little scientific research to clarify cranesbill’s constituents and actions.

1 Star
Chamomile
Refer to label instructions
Typically taken as a tea, chamomile may reduce intestinal cramping and ease the irritation and inflammation associated with diarrhea.

Chamomile may reduce intestinal cramping and ease the irritation and inflammation associated with diarrhea, according to test tube studies.60 Chamomile is typically taken as a tea. Many doctors recommend dissolving 2–3 grams of powdered chamomile or adding 3–5 ml of a chamomile liquid extract to hot water and drinking it three or more times per day, between meals. Two to three teaspoons (10–15 grams) of the dried flowers can be steeped in a cup of hot water, covered, for ten to fifteen minutes as well.

1 Star
Cranesbill
Refer to label instructions
Cranesbill has been used by several North American indigenous tribes to treat diarrhea. The tannins in cranesbill likely account for the anti-diarrheal activity.

Cranesbill has been used by several of the indigenous tribes of North America to treat diarrhea. The tannins in cranesbill likely account for the anti-diarrheal activity61—although there has been little scientific research to clarify cranesbill’s constituents and actions.

1 Star
Folic Acid
Refer to label instructions
Folic acid can help repair intestinal lining damage caused by acute diarrhea.

Acute diarrhea can damage the lining of the intestine. Folic acid can help repair this damage. In one preliminary trial, supplementing with very large amounts of folic acid (5 mg three times per day for several days) shortened the duration of acute infectious diarrhea by 42%.62 However, a double-blind trial failed to show any positive effect with the same level of folic acid.63 Therefore, evidence that high levels of folic acid supplementation will help people with infectious diarrhea remains weak.

1 Star
Goldenseal
Refer to label instructions
Due to of its supposed antimicrobial activity, goldenseal has a long history of use for infectious diarrhea. Its major alkaloid, berberine, has been shown to improve infectious diarrhea.

Due to of its supposed antimicrobial activity, goldenseal has a long history of use for infectious diarrhea. Its major alkaloid, berberine (also found in barberry and Oregon grape ), has been shown to improve infectious diarrhea in some double-blind trials.64 Negative studies have generally focused on people with cholera, while positive studies investigated viral diarrhea or diarrhea due to strains of E. coli. These studies generally used 400–500 mg berberine one to three times per day. Because of the low amount of berberine in most goldenseal products, it is unclear how effective the whole root or root extracts would be in treating diarrhea.

1 Star
Marshmallow
Refer to label instructions
Herbs high in mucilage, such as marshmallow, may help reduce the irritation to the walls of the intestinal tract that can occur with diarrhea.

Herbs high in mucilage, such as marshmallow or slippery elm , may help reduce the irritation to the walls of the intestinal tract that can occur with diarrhea. A usual amount taken is 1,000 mg of marshmallow extract, capsules, or tablets three times per day. Marshmallow may also be taken as a tincture in the amount of 5–15 ml three times daily.65

1 Star
Oak
Refer to label instructions
A tannin in oak has been shown to inhibit intestinal secretion, which may help resolve diarrhea. In Germany oak is recommended to treat mild, acute diarrhea in children.

In laboratory experiments, a tannin in oak , known as ellagitannin, inhibited intestinal secretion,66 which may help resolve diarrhea. Oak is well regarded in Germany, where it is recommended (along with plenty of electrolyte-containing fluids) to treat mild, acute diarrhea in children.67

1 Star
Oregon Grape
Refer to label instructions
Berberine, a constituent of Oregon grape, has been shown to improve infectious diarrhea in some trials.

Due to of its supposed antimicrobial activity, goldenseal has a long history of use for infectious diarrhea. Its major alkaloid, berberine (also found in barberry and Oregon grape ), has been shown to improve infectious diarrhea in some double-blind trials.68 Negative studies have generally focused on people with cholera, while positive studies investigated viral diarrhea or diarrhea due to strains of E. coli. These studies generally used 400–500 mg berberine one to three times per day. Because of the low amount of berberine in most goldenseal products, it is unclear how effective the whole root or root extracts would be in treating diarrhea.

1 Star
Periwinkle
Refer to label instructions
European herbalists have used periwinkle for conditions with a watery discharge, such as diarrhea.
European herbalists have used periwinkle for headaches, vertigo, and poor memory since medieval times.69 It was also considered a helpful remedy for conditions with a watery or bloody discharge such as diarrhea, bleeding gums, or menorrhagia.70
1 Star
Red Raspberry
Refer to label instructions
Red raspberry is an astringent herb traditionally used for diarrhea. Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and may relieve acute diarrhea.

Astringent herbs traditionally used for diarrhea include blackberry leaves, blackberry root bark, blueberry leaves, and red raspberry leaves.71 Raspberry leaves are high in tannins and, like blackberry, may relieve acute diarrhea. A close cousin of the blueberry, bilberry , has been used traditionally in Germany for adults and children with diarrhea.72 Only dried berries or juice should be used—fresh berries may worsen diarrhea.

Cranesbill has been used by several of the indigenous tribes of North America to treat diarrhea. The tannins in cranesbill likely account for the anti-diarrheal activity73—although there has been little scientific research to clarify cranesbill’s constituents and actions.

1 Star
Slippery Elm
Refer to label instructions
Herbs high in mucilage such as slippery elm may help reduce the irritation to the walls of the intestinal tract that can occur with diarrhea.
Herbs high in mucilage, such as marshmallow or slippery elm , may help reduce the irritation to the walls of the intestinal tract that can occur with diarrhea. A usual amount taken is 1,000 mg of marshmallow extract, capsules, or tablets three times per day. Marshmallow may also be taken as a tincture in the amount of 5–15 ml three times daily.
1 Star
Sweet Annie
Refer to label instructions
Sweet annie has been used traditionally to treat infectious diarrhea and malaria.

Sweet annie has been used traditionally to treat infectious diarrhea and malaria. However, more modern studies have used the isolated constituent artemisinin and it is unclear how effective the herb is in managing diarrhea.

1 Star
Tylophora
Refer to label instructions
Tylophora has been used traditionally in the Ayurvedic system for diarrhea due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions.

Tylophora has been used traditionally in the Ayurvedic system for diarrhea probably due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions, although human studies have not confirmed this use.

1 Star
Vitamin A
Refer to label instructions
Only in cases of malabsorption should vitamin A be used to treat diarrhea, as it has been shown to have no effect or to increase risk of diarrhea in well-nourished children.

It is known vitamin A supplements support immune function and prevent infections. This is true, however, only under some circumstances. Vitamin A supplementation can also increase the risk of infections, according to the findings of a double-blind trial.74 In a study of African children between six months and five years old, a 44% reduction in the risk of severe diarrhea was seen in those children given four 100,000–200,000 IU supplements of vitamin A (the lower amount for those less than a year old) during an eight-month period. On further investigation, the researchers discovered that the reduction in diarrhea occurred only in children who were very malnourished. For children who were not starving, vitamin A supplementation actually increased the risk of diarrhea compared with the placebo group. The vitamin A-supplemented children also had a 67% increased risk of coughing and rapid breathing, and signs of further lung infection, although this problem did not appear in children infected with the AIDS virus. These findings should be of concern to American parents, whose children are not usually infected with HIV or severely malnourished. Such relatively healthy children fared poorly in the African trial in terms of both the risk of diarrhea and the risk of continued lung problems. Vitamin A provided no benefit to the well-nourished kids. Therefore, it makes sense not to give vitamin A supplements to children unless there is a special reason to do so, such as the presence of a condition causing malabsorption (e.g., celiac disease ).

References

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3. Lin YC. Observation of therapeutic effects of acupuncture treatment in 170 cases of infantile diarrhea. J Tradit Chin Med 1987;7:203-4.

4. Cao Y. Personal experience on acupuncture treatment of diarrhea. J Tradit Chin Med 1990;10:163-7.

5. Cao Y. Personal experience on acupuncture treatment of diarrhea. J Tradit Chin Med 1990;10:251-6.

6. Lin Y, Zhou Z, Shen W, et al. Clinical and experimental studies on shallow needling technique for treating childhood diarrhea. J Tradit Chin Med 1993;13:107-14.

7. Babb RR. Coffee, sugars and chronic diarrhea. Postgrad Med 1984;75:82, 86-7.

8. Barness LA. Safety considerations with high ascorbic acid dosage. Ann NY Acad Sci 1975;258:523-8 [review].

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11. Hyams JS, Etienne NL, Leichtner AM, Theuer RC. Carbohydrate malabsorption following fruit juice ingestion in young children. Pediatr 1988;82:64-8.

12. Montes RG, Perman JA. Lactose intolerance. Postgrad Med 1991;89:175-84 [review].

13. Werbach MR. Nutritional influences on Illness, 2d ed. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1993, 256-61 [review].

14. Bhan MK, Bhandari N. The role of zinc and vitamin A in persistent diarrhea among infants and young children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1998;26:446-53 [review].

15. Crane JK, Hoque KM. Zinc for infectious diarrhea in developed countries: should we be sprinkling our own lawns? J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2008;46:484-5.

16. Pothoulakis C, Kelly CP, Joshi MA, et al. Saccharomyces boulardii inhibits Clostridium difficile toxin A binding and enterotoxicity in rat ileum. Gastroenterology 1993;104:1108-15.

17. Surawicz CM, Elmer GW, Speelman P, et al. Prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by Saccharomyces boulardii: A prospective study. Gastroenterol 1989;96:981-8.

18. Bleichner G, Blehaut H, Mentec H, Moyse D. Saccharomyces boulardii prevents diarrhea in critically ill tube-fed patients. A muticenter, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Intensive Care Med 1997;23:517-23.

19. Kollaritsch H, Holst H, Grobara P, Widermann G. Prevention of traveler's diarrhea with Saccharomyces boulardii. Results of a placebo controlled double-blind study. Fortschr Med 1993;111:152-6 [in German].

20. Kirchelle A, Fruhwein N, Toburen D. Treatment of persistent diarrhea with S. boulardii in returning travelers. Results of a prospective study. Forstchr Med 1996;114:136-40 [in German].

21. Plein K, Hotz J. Therapeutic effects of Saccharomyces on mild residual symptoms in a stable phase of Crohn's disease with special respect to chronic diarrhea—a pilot study. Z Gastroenterol 1993;31:129-34.

22. Lewis SJ, Potts LF, Barry RE. The lack of therapeutic effect of Saccharomyces boulardii in the prevention of antibiotic-related diarrhoea in elderly patients. J Infect 1998;36:171-4.

23. Piarroux R, Millon L, Bardonnet K, et al. Are live saccharomyces yeasts harmful to patients? Lancet 1999;353:1851-2 [letter].

24. Sarker SA, Casswall TH, Mahalanabis D, et al. Successful treatment of rotavirus diarrhea in children with immunoglobulin from immunized bovine colostrum. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1998;17:1149-54.

25. Mitra AK, Mahalanabis D, Ashraf H, et al. Hyperimmune cow colostrum reduces diarrhoea due to rotavirus: a double- blind, controlled clinical trial. Acta Paediatr 1995;84:996-1001.

26. Okhuysen PC, Chappell CL, Crabb J, et al. Prophylactic effect of bovine anti-Cryptosporidium hyperimmune colostrum immunoglobulin in healthy volunteers challenged with Cryptosporidium parvum. Clin Infect Dis 1998;26:1324-9.

27. Greenberg PD, Cello JP. Treatment of severe diarrhea caused by Cryptosporidium parvum with oral bovine immunoglobulin concentrate in patients with AIDS. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol 1996;13:348-54.

28. Casswall TH, Sarker SA, Albert MJ, et al. Treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection in infants in rural Bangladesh with oral immunoglobulins from hyperimmune bovine colostrum. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1998;12:563-8.

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