While many adults recognize the healing power of probiotics, some are reluctant about giving such supplements to their kids. Are the beneficial bacteria safe for little ones?
Do they affect children and adults in the same way? These are some of the most common questions that need to be answered for a parent to decide whether probiotics are ok for little ones.
Are Probiotics Safe for Kids?
This is the most important issue to address prior to moving on.
By now, we all know that probiotics are good bacteria that live in the digestive tract. These good bacteria control the colonies of pathogens and harmful microorganisms that could cause GI issues and other health problems.
Giving probiotics to kids isn’t harmful. That’s the plain and simple answer. The bacteria are naturally found in the human gut. This applies both to kids and to adults.
While some strains of beneficial bacteria could be better for little ones than others, opting for a specialized probiotic formula is definitely safe.
Researchers believe that giving probiotics to healthy babies isn’t linked to any side effects. Kids that have a weakened immune system and pre-term babies are an exception.
If you want to give your baby or child a probiotic supplement, talking to a physician prior to getting started will be a good idea.
Evidence Of Benefits
Probiotics are safe for kids but are they beneficial? Researchers haven’t done an awful lot of work when it comes to identifying the health benefits that little ones can experience from probiotic supplementation. Still, a couple of clinical studies provide positive results.
In a 2005 study, researchers worked with 200 infants. The babies were given probiotics over the course of 12 weeks. On the average, kids that were given a probiotic supplement suffered from diarrhea much less frequently than the babies that were given a placebo.
Another study was carried out in 2003. This time, researchers wanted to find out how probiotics affect the immunity of children. The study involved 130 children.
All of them were at a risk of developing allergies. Over the course of six months, these kids were given a probiotic.
Researchers explored the incidence of eczema after two years. Of the kids that were given a probiotic supplement, 23 percent had developed eczema after the end of the experiment.
In the placebo group, 46 percent of the kids had developed eczema.
Choosing the Right Probiotic Supplement for Your Kid
Examining the ingredients of a probiotic supplement is the first step towards choosing the right product for the needs of your child.
Several bacterial strains are particularly beneficial for babies and toddlers. Lactobacillus GG reduces the incidence of diarrhea in little ones.
Bifidobacterium infantis is another quite appropriate strain for little ones. This good bacterium reduces the risk of diarrhea in little ones.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus fermentum, lactobacillus lactis and bifidobacterium bifidum also rank among the most beneficial strains for kids.
It’s also a good idea to up the probiotic intake through the selection of the right foods. Some of the fermented fruits will be difficult to give to little ones.
Chances are that your son or daughter isn’t going to be impressed by sauerkraut or kimchi. Yogurt, however, is a wonderful possibility. If plain yogurt isn’t something that your kid enjoys, you can add fruits to it and make the snack much more delicious.
When it comes to picking a probiotic supplement, there are specialized formulas for children. Products designed for the needs of adults will also be suitable, as long as they feature the right bacterial strains.
Perfect Biotics by Probiotic America is one such product. It’s equally beneficial for children and for adults due to the diversified range of bacteria featured in the formula.
Always talk to your pediatrician prior to starting a probiotic supplementation formula. A doctor will assess the quality of the supplement that you’ve chosen and help you figure out whether it’s the right option for your little ones.