When it comes to supplementation, chances are, you’re very protective as to what you give to your kids. While you yourself may take protein powder, pre-workout supplements, and specific vitamins, minerals, and herbs, you refrain from giving these to your children. You may just be giving them a children’s multivitamin and that’s about as far as it goes.
But, in thinking this way, you could be missing out on one of the most vital supplements that they really should be taking. That supplement? Probiotics.
As adults, you may realize the importance of probiotics. Your digestive system requires these healthy bacteria in order to break down the foods you eat properly, to sustain a healthy immune system, and to avoid unwanted digestive strain.
For kids, these offer the same benefits. In fact, they may be even more important because they may not have as strong of an immune system as a full-blown adult. Furthermore, the chances your kids are taking in natural probiotics through their diet plan is very low as most kids simply don’t tend to eat these types of probiotic rich foods.
Check out the following video for more information on the topic of probiotics and kids.
So now that you have a primer on probiotics and kids, it’s time to take a closer look at how probiotics can impact your children and whether or not they should be utilizing them on a regular basis.
Let’s go through some of the common questions that you may have about this topic and clarify the information for you.
Probiotics and Babies?
The first thing you might be asking yourself is should I be giving my baby special probiotics? Please know that if you are breastfeeding, you’ll naturally producing some probiotics in the breast milk you’re giving them. Therefore, it’s not necessary to add an additional probiotic to their diet plan.
The only exception to this is when your baby is under proper medical care and in the low birth weight class. Research suggests that in those situations, a proper prophylactic probiotic may help to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis, which is a very damaging form of intestinal disease in babies.
Your treating physician will determine whether this is necessary for your baby or not, so note that you should be listening to their advice on this.
All other babies of healthy birth weights who are not at risk for any digestive system issues should refrain from utilizing an outside probiotic supplement.
Even if you choose not to breastfeed your children, please know that most infant formulas are now fortified with probiotics as well, so they’ll be getting all they need already through those.
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Are Probiotics Safe For Children?
The next question many parents have is whether probiotics are deemed safe for their young children (beyond the baby years). Are these supplements parents would feel good about giving to their children?
Because probiotics are naturally occurring organisms that we all as humans have inside our bodies, giving your children probiotics is not a whole lot different than giving them a multivitamin. You are providing them with a substance that they would naturally need to be taking in anyway.
If your child has a weakened immune system or has been taking antibiotics, which kills off the good bacteria inside the digestive tract, this is even more of a reason to consider giving them a probiotic supplement.
These supplements will help to jumpstart their digestive system and bring it back up to the good and healthy levels of probiotics that it needs.
What Benefits Will Probiotics For Children Offer?
So now you might be wondering what benefits will probiotics offer to your children? Because probiotics will react the same way in kids as it does in adults, your kids will benefit much the same way you would while taking them.
Immune Strengthening Benefits
Probiotics can help to strengthen the immune system of the child because much of their immune system is found in the gut environment. The stronger your child’s immune system is, the better their chances are of combating the common cold, flu, and other viruses that goes around.
Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea
Where probiotics may come in especially helpful is in children who do have to use antibiotic treatment. In many cases, treatment is necessary in order to overcome some sort of illness your child is dealing with. But, along with the use of antibiotics, most children will also develop diarrhea as well. This can then pose additional health concerns as diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration in children.
The good news is that probiotics appear to help this. Research indicates that when probiotics are given along with antibiotics, the incidence rates of antibiotic associated diarrhea is lower, thus your child will stand a better chance of not being impacted.
So even if you aren’t going to give your kids probiotics every single day, at the very least, give them this supplement if they are ever going to be using antibiotic treatments.
If your infant is colicky, chances are, you’ll do anything to help soothe your crying baby. The good news is there is help for dealing with this. Research published in the Pediatrics Journal noted that when infants who were colicky were given the probiotic L reuteri, within one week, the babies that were given the probiotic had a crying rate drop down to 51 minutes per day, compared to the test subjects who were given simethicone and came in at 145 minutes of crying per day.
If you can’t seem to soothe your baby, don’t worry, with the use of a carefully planned probiotic, you may just be able to help prevent that ongoing crying.
Intestinal Related Problems
Another area where a probiotic may help your child is if he or she is suffering from intestinal related problems. If they are dealing with a chronic condition such as irritable bowel syndrome or an inflammatory disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, probiotics may help to reduce the severity of the abdominal pain associated with these conditions. Symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramping, and/or diarrhea may all be lessened by taking a regular probiotic.
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If your child is suffering from eczema, this is another thing that probiotics may be able to assist with. Often eczema tends to come on after children drink milk and suffer from milk related allergies. When these individuals are given probiotics, research indicates it can help control their allergies, thus help better control the eczema that is taking place as well.
What’s interesting to note is that it appears as though mothers who took probiotics when they were pregnant were more likely to give birth to babies who did not suffer from eczema compared to mothers who were not taking probiotic supplements. Therefore, it may not only be important for young kids to take probiotics, but expecting mothers as well.
ADHD, otherwise known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is sadly an issue that is plaguing many children today. Many parents are conflicted about this problem and just are at a loss about what to do about it. While there are medical treatments for ADHD, most aren’t without the risk of side effects, leaving parents in quite the predicament.
While some kids have their situation under control better than others, there are children who are very hard to control because of this condition.
Research now suggests that probiotics may be helpful when trying to manage the symptoms of ADHD.
Research published in the BioMedSearch Journal noted that: ‘Overgrowth of pathogenic organisms (bacteria, fungi) in the bowel can trigger the release of neurotoxic endotoxins. Some of these compounds have been identified in the urine of children with ADHD. As a result, probiotics may be useful in ADHD children with atopic symptoms, parasites, and/or intestinal dysbiosis.’
So while using a probiotic may not completely rid your child of ADHD, it may make the condition more manageable.
Staying up to speed on your child’s oral care can be a challenge, especially once they are of the age to start brushing themselves. If your child isn’t a regular brusher, tooth decay can start at a relatively young age and lead to years of unfortunate visits to the dentist.
The good news is that research highlights the fact that using a probiotic product may help to stave off tooth decay, helping to improve the oral health of your children.
With so many sugary items now available to children on the market today, as a parent, you only have so much control over what they are putting into their body. Think of a quality probiotic as a great line of defense against the future effects these sugary items may have.
So as you can see, there are many good reasons to consider giving your child a probiotic supplement. Children do have a more sensitive system than adults do and as such, it’s definitely important to take care with how much you are giving your children in terms of probiotics. But it’s also important not to discount the benefits these healthy bacteria can have on the young body.
Too many adults write them off entirely because they are worried about giving their children any form of supplement.
What Types Of Probiotics Should Children Use?
Which now brings us to the question of which type of probiotic you should give your children. What you need to note here is that there is not just one type that will work for kids and one type that will work for adults.
Both kids and adults alike will want to focus on the highest quality of probiotics as both types of individuals require similar things to enhance their overall health.
P3-OM is the most comprehensive probiotic out on the market, giving you the most powerful strain of bacteria that will bring your gut flora up to optimal levels rapidly. Most other products will take weeks to bring your system up to par, but with P3-OM, you’ll get back to feeling your best in a much shorter time frame.
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How Much Probiotics Should Children Take?
Because children are smaller than adults, start them off with the lowest dose possible when using probiotics. You want to gauge their reaction to the supplement first after using for a few weeks before increasing any further from there.
It’s always a smart idea to consult with your doctor first before giving your children any probiotics. But do consider it, because it can have powerful benefits for children, just as it can for adults.
What Are Some Good Natural Sources Of Probiotics?
Finally, in addition to getting coverage through supplementation, remember that you can get your kids consuming probiotics through natural sources as well. While they may not be so keen on eating kimchi or sauerkraut, both of which are great sources of probiotics, there are a few options that can help them get their nutrition in while feeding their guts.
Here are a few ideas on options you can create on your own that most kids should find palatable.
Blend together half a cup of milk, some frozen berries, along with a half cup of plain, low-fat yogurt (with live bacteria cultures). Add some ice to make it extra thick if desired.
Creamy Banana Toast
Place a few slices of whole wheat bread in the toaster and then smear with some low-fat plain yogurt, sliced bananas, and some walnuts.
Combine a can of tuna with ¼ mashed avocado and ¼ cup low fat plain yogurt. Add a little salt, pepper, and paprika if desired and then serve in a whole wheat pita.
Cut up some sliced fruit and then serve with a dip made from ¼ cup plain yogurt, ¼ cup whipped topping, and 2 tbsp. sugar-free fruit spread stirred into the mix.
So there you have the main questions that you may have running through your mind about probiotics and children. Just as probiotics are very helpful to you as an adult, they are also incredibly helpful to your children as well. Don’t miss out on the advantages they provide.
Samanta, Moumita, et al. “Prophylactic probiotics for prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in very low birth weight newborns.” Journal of tropical pediatrics 55.2 (2009): 128-131.
Szajewska, Hania, Marek Ruszczyński, and Andrzej Radzikowski. “Probiotics in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” The Journal of pediatrics 149.3 (2006): 367-372.
Savino, Francesco, et al. “Lactobacillus reuteri (American Type Culture Collection Strain 55730) versus simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic: a prospective randomized study.” Pediatrics 119.1 (2007): e124-e130.
Isolauri, E., et al. “Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema.” Clinical & Experimental Allergy 30.11 (2000): 1605-1610.
Pellow, Janice, Elizabeth M. Solomon, and Candice N. Barnard. “Complementary and alternative medical therapies for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” Altern Med Rev 16.4 (2011): 323-337.
Nikawa, Hiroki, et al. “Lactobacillus reuteri in bovine milk fermented decreases the oral carriage of mutans streptococci.” International journal of food microbiology 95.2 (2004): 219-223.