Can children benefit from probiotics?
The short answer is a resounding yes. Children, like adults, receive many benefits from getting additional good bacteria throughout their lives. Remember that at least 70% of our immune system can be found in the gut, where good bacteria work to maintain balance and support ongoing digestive and immune health. So it stands to reason that bolstering those numbers with probiotics for babies and children is a good way to support a healthy tummy and immune system during childhood and into adulthood.
Newborns receive their first good bacteria earlier than you might expect
It was long believed that babies received their first good bacteria from their mothers as they entered the world through the birth canal. But recent data suggests a newborn’s first exposure may happen even earlier—in the mother’s womb. A study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine suggests babies come into contact with a “small but diverse amount of bacteria” in the placenta—an organ that begins to develop shortly after fertilization and nourishes the developing fetus throughout pregnancy. This is interesting mainly because the mother’s womb was typically believed to be a sterile environment, but now there is evidence of a pre-existing bacterial community within the placenta that may be the beginning of each child’s unique microbiome.
When would a probiotic be suitable for a child?
Regardless of when newborns receive their first microbes, supplying additional beneficial bacteria throughout the early years may help promote digestive and immune health. Keep in mind that babies and children encounter constant challenges to their immune and digestive systems as they grow and develop. Just like adults, factors such as diet, their environment, a change in routine, and the use of certain medications may disrupt the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. For this reason, taking a probiotic supplement as early as infancy may help promote a healthy balance of intestinal flora to support digestion, and probiotics are considered a gentle way to help support the immune system.
Are probiotics safe for infants?
Countless studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of supplemental probiotics for infants and children. Remember that probiotics are simply the “good” or “friendly” bacteria that occur naturally in the human gut. However, because babies and children encounter daily challenges to their immune systems that can affect a healthy digestive balance and lessen their numbers of good bacteria, daily probiotics for kids are a recommended way to help replenish their supply of good bacteria.
Probiotics are Natural Health Products that support good digestion and immune health. Similar to when you consume a new food, they may produce occasional gas or bloating when first consumed. For this reason, many parents choose to progress gradually when starting kids on probiotics, often beginning with a smaller dose and increasing the amount each day to reach the recommended dose. Always read and follow the label.
Why am I always hearing about strains?
There are more than 100 trillion bacteria in a healthy human gut, and among them are more than 1,000 different strains of beneficial bacteria. Because different strains provide different benefits throughout the digestive system, it is ideal to select a probiotic supplement that contains a variety of strains. For example, our FloraBABY delivers a blend of scientifically studied, gut health-promoting strains chosen for their prevalence in infants’ and toddlers’ digestive tracts to foster optimum digestion.
We know from clinical studies that probiotics are strongly connected to digestive and immune health, both in adults and children.
Health gut function
Added beneficial bacteria can support a healthy digestive balance.
Choosing the right probiotic for your little ones
When it comes to choosing the right probiotic for your infant or child, it helps to consider a few things. For infant probiotics, look for a powdered formula that mixes easily with liquids. It should contain at least a billion live probiotic cultures and multiple strains. For school-age children, chewable tablets are a great way to help them get added good bacteria in their diet. Again, look for multiple strains to help promote digestive balance. And always with infant and children’s supplements, be sure to check the label.
When to talk to your doctor
A daily probiotic supplement is considered a gentle way to support digestive health in babies and children, but it is a good idea to consult your health care practitioner before starting your kids on any nutritional supplements. If you are concerned about specific digestive or health issues, always consult your doctor first.
Renew Life® Probiotics for babies and children
At Renew Life® we believe a healthy, balanced gut is important at every age. Our Ultimate Flora® Kids Probiotics provide added digestive support for growing bodies.
The Placenta Harbors a Unique Microbiome. Aagaard, K. Ma, J. Antony, K. Ganu, R. Petrosino, J. and Versalovic, J. Science Translational Medicine 21 May 2014:Vol. 6, Issue 237, pp. 237ra65 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008599