What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are friendly organisms, most are bacteria although some are yeast, that help sustain a healthy GI tract. "Not only are we colonized by bacteria on the outside of our bodies, but they are also found in our airways and gut and play a vital role in the regulation of the immune response," says Vincent Pedre, M.D., an internist, clinical instructor in medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and author of the book Happy Gut.
The two most well known strains of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium—both are commonly added to food products and supplements (Lactobacillus acidophilus is the one usually found in yogurt).
As with any supplement or change in your child's diet that you may be considering, check with your pediatrician before you begin. "Probiotics may offer health benefits to most kids, but they aren't recommended for children who are chronically or seriously ill or those who have a compromised immune system," warns Alissa Rumsey, RD, MS, CSCS, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can learn more about probiotics in our recent blog article "The How, When & Why of Probiotics".
How Do Probiotics Help Kids:
The most common use of Probiotics is for the general increasing of gut health and protection and therefore by extension the immune system. Specific uses include but are not limited to:
Reducing the duration of Stomach Bugs or what's known as acute gastroenteritis - No parent wants their child to be sick, especially if the bug is going to get passed around to multiple children or adults so anything to shorten everyone's misery is most appreciated. You can read more
Preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea - If your kid's starting a round of antibiotics for, say, an ear or strep throat infection, probiotics can help reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, according to the review from the national institute of health on the benefits of probiotics for kids. There are two probiotic strains with good evidence behind them for this purpose: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and S. boulardii.Anytime you take anti-biotics they are designed to kill bacteria that are causing an infection in your body. Unfortunately antibiotics can't tell the difference between the good and bad bacteria in your guy so they kill as much bacteria as they can. Since they kill the good bacteria as well many times kids will experience loose stool or a general upset in the intestinal tract. It's a good idea to use probiotics as directed by your health practitioner and usually not at the same times as you take the antibioitcs. For example if you take the antibiotics right away in the morning it's best to wait a few hours to take the probiotics.
Preventing Respiatory Tract, Ear and Genarl Infections - Dr. Pedre says. "Probiotic supplements may also decrease the frequency of sinus, ear, and upper respiratory infections in susceptible children." And, according to new research, probiotic supplements have been linked to a lower risk of allergic eczema.
Managing Irriatable Bowel Syndrome - Kids with functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome may also benefit from probiotics, a review found. A meta-analysis of nine trials in children and adolescents found several probiotic strains that increase treatment success (which might also include cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy). The three strains or products with good success were Lactobacillus rhamnosusGG, Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938, and VSL#3 (a therapeutic probiotic that's been proved to help with conditions like ulcerative colitis, pouchitis, and irritable bowel syndrome in adults).
The researchers also found that a mixture of Bifidobacterium infantis M-63, Bifidobacterium breve M-16V, and Bifidobacterium longum BB536 is associated with better control over abdominal pain in kids with IBS and a higher quality of life compared to placebo (because, hey, IBS can really put a damper on a kid's daily life).
Best Selling Products:
With so many products out there it can be confusing. We always encourage you to talk with your healthcare practitioner about what's best for you and your family. With that said the top 3 childrens probiotics we sell are as follows: