Explaining probiotics and how they help
Interest in nutritional supplements and functional foods has grown exponentially over the past few years. Mainly used by adults, some healthy supplements replenish the good health in the body while others are merely marketed this way.
According to a medical journal published by LWW Journals regarding the Clinical Uses of Probiotics, probiotics are live non-pathogenic microorganisms – commonly known as good bacteria. Many of which are in the human gut, where they live in a symbiotic relationship. Probiotics help with issues like the common cold, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and more.
Grownups take probiotics with hardly any side effects, but you may be wondering whether the same goes for your children. Keep reading to learn more about the effects of probiotics for children.
What Are Probiotics?
Bacteria are not all harmful like some may think. For a human body to remain healthy, it needs certain bacteria. For instance, bacteria that help with digestion, absorbing nutrients and battling other germs that cause illness.
Each human body has a community of bacteria called a microbiome made of good and bad fungi, viruses and bacteria. If the balance between good and bad bacteria in your microbiome tips, illness and infection can result. For instance, an everyday happenstance is the case of antibiotics killing infection-causing bacteria and some good bacteria that you need. That leaves your immune system open for other harmful organisms to take over, increasing the potential for secondary infection. The most common of which include intestinal infections, urinary tract infections and yeast infections. Probiotics contain live, healthy bacteria naturally found in the body. Human bodies may have one or a mixture of a few species.
Should Children Take Probiotics?
The standard census among healthcare professionals is that an unhealthy microbiome is responsible for many ailments. Probiotics are a popular natural remedy for children and can help strengthen their immune system [link to Probiotics That Help Children Achieve A Healthy And Well-Balanced Immune System].
According to the 2012 National Health Interview SurveyTrusted Source, probiotics are the third most used natural product for children.
Here are additional studies that support the benefits we know about probiotics:
- A 2015 research review concluded that probiotics were better than placebo in reducing the duration and incidents of upper respiratory tract infections in patients. School absence and antibiotic use due to colds were additionally eased.
- An American Family Physician review uncovered that probiotics might assist in treating inflammatory bowel disease and reduce the duration of diarrhoea caused by gastroenteritis. When prescribed to breast-feeding and expecting mothers, probiotics also facilitated the development of allergies and eczema in their infants.
- Published in JAMA PediatricsTrusted Source, a study revealed that giving infants probiotics within the first three months of life may help prevent acid reflux, constipation and acid reflux.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting probiotic use in children, but the health benefits may be strain specific. A strain that helps one condition may be useless against another. You must consult with your pediatrician before introducing probiotic supplements to your children.
How To Choose The Right Probiotic Product For Your Children & What To Look For When Purchasing It
Consider this your probiotic checklist; only buy supplements from reputable brands, check the expiration date, and review the storage requirements.
If your doctor recommends giving your child probiotics there are plenty of different probiotic supplements on the market – including our own [link to Product Page] of course. The key is to research the item to make sure that it contains three or more strains of good bacteria. For instance, here are three probiotic strains:
- Bifidobacterium Animalis SSP. lactis BI-07™ - A strain published in more than 80 scientific publications and 32 clinical trials. With a long history of safe use and it is well suited for intestinal survival.
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus HN001™ - L. rhamnosus HN001™ has been consumed for more than two decades in foods and supplements and documented in more than 100 scientific publications. Initially selected as a probiotic candidate due to its high tolerance to acidic conditions and was subsequently shown to survive the intestine.
- Bifidobacterium lactis HN019™ - B lactis HN019™ has been consumed in dairy foods for decades and has been widely studied for its probiotic properties in over 100 scientific publications. It also has tolerance toward acidic conditions and intestinal survival.
For the good bacteria to thrive, we need prebiotics. Here are two of the best documented prebiotic strains:
- Fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) - FOS is a chain of plant sugars. FOSs are also used as prebiotics. Not to be confused with probiotics, prebiotics act as food for probiotic organisms. FOS does not get digested until it reaches the colon. In the colon, it is digested by good bacteria which helps the bacteria grow.
- Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are formed by plant sugars linked in chains. GOS is found naturally in certain root vegetables, beans and dairy products. GOS works the same way as FOS, it helps the good bacteria grow. GOS has been documented to help stomach disorders such as constipation and preventing allergies in infants.
Gut-Related Issues Probiotics Help Prevent
Experts are still learning about all the benefits of probiotics and how they work. There is some supportive evidence that probiotics prevent infectious diseases, help with digestion and even play a role in sustaining a healthy weight.
Studies show probiotics help children with digestive issues such as:
- Infectious diarrhoea
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
It must be said that each child has his or her unique microbiome, meaning that some studies show no effect of probiotics on children.
There are too many beneficial studies to ignore, which stands to mean that you should consider adding probiotics to your children's diet. Probiotics for children may offer similar health benefits as for adults — from supporting healthy digestive bacterial growth to boosting their immune system.
Before introducing probiotics to your children's diet, speak with your pediatrician to determine if probiotics are right for them. Once you receive the green light, consider adding our probiotic product to your cart.