Colic is an inflammatory condition linked to the gut microbiome.

Inflammation is literally the body "on fire" and is a primary immune mechanism response of the body to a range of noxious stimuli.  Chronic inflammation is being shown to be involved in the onset and the development of most if not all chronic illness that are now at epidemic proportions in our society. These include atherosclerosis (damaged and blocked arteries), heart disease, stroke, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, thyroid disorders, diabetes, asthma, autism, arthritis, celiac disease, eczema, psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, lupus, migraines, periodontal disease, sleep apnoea, chronic kidney failure, cancer and now the latest research is linking it with colic and infant digestive conditions . 


While colic may not pose an immediate health threat it creates a lot of stress in both the parent and baby and there are some indications that babies with colic become children at increased risk for recurrent abdominal pain or become adults who have more frequent functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) or mood disorders than a control healthy infant population without colic. It has been also suggested that infants with infantile colic are at increased risk of developing migraine. 


Several studies have found evidence of dysbiosis, or an abnormal gut microbial community in babies with colic. Dysbiosis, is an imbalance in the composition of the gut bacteria occurring during the critical stages of development, induces lasting shifts in the immune and metabolic systems if accompanied by an inflammatory response. In a study of 28 infants with colic at the age of 1 month and control infants without colic, the infants with colic had increased concentrations of inflammation markers (IL-8, MCP-1, and MIP-1β) in their blood and particular Clostridium bacterial species in the fecal samples. This suggests that gut microbiota alterations and colic in infants is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation and one of the growing reasons for the use of probiotics in infants with colic and other digestive issues as well as improving gut health of the mother. 


In another study for each mode of infant feeding (breast milk, formula, or breast + formula), infants’ fecal calprotectinl which is an indicator of gut inflammation and leaky gut, was higher in babies with colic. In addition infants with colic had significantly different gut bacteria species with fewer Bifidobacilli


Sources

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017 May;64(5):691-695. Infantile Colic Is Associated With Low-grade Systemic Inflammation. Pärtty A1, Kalliomäki M, Salminen S, Isolauri E.

(J Pediatr 2018;203:55–61). J Pediatr. 2018 Dec; 203: 55–61.e3. Published online 2018 Aug 31. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.07.042. Infant Colic Represents Gut Inflammation and Dysbiosis J. Marc Rhoads, MD,1 James Collins, PhD,2 Nicole Y. Fatheree, BBA,1 S. Shahrukh Hashmi, MD, PhD,3 Christopher M. Taylor, PhD,4 Meng Luo, PhD,4 Thomas K. Hoang, BS,1 Wallace A. Gleason, MD,1 Melissa R. Van Arsdall, MD,1 Fernando Navarro, MD,1 and Yuying Liu,