Supplements, especially those having a natural origin, are good for our health. Most people don’t even doubt the concept but how about giving natural supplements to kids?
There are some questions that we’ll need to answer right now.
Probiotic supplements are essential for improving digestive health and strengthening the immune response in adults. If you’re a parent, you’re probably wondering whether probiotic supplementation is a good idea for your kids.
Giving kids probiotics can result in an array of health benefits. Here are some of the most important facts to keep in mind when getting started.
Are Probiotics Safe For Kids?
Probiotics are common beneficial bacteria. They’re found in an array of fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi (more about foods here).
Many companies also manufacture probiotic supplements that contain a higher concentration of bacteria than foods and also feature a bigger number of bacterial strains.
Several studies have been carried out to test the safety and effectiveness of probiotic and prebiotic supplements given to kids.
Researchers have concluded that when given to healthy children, these products can deliver a range of health benefits. Parents can start with probiotic foods like yogurt to test tolerance. Potentially, it’s possible to start giving children high quality probiotic supplements.
The health benefits of probiotics for kids are similar to what adults will experience.
In 2010, the results of one study were presented in Pediatrics journal. Researchers found out that kids eating yogurt experienced shorter and less violent bouts of diarrhea linked to viral gastroenteritis.
In addition, kids taking probiotics had lower risk of experiencing diarrhea as a result of a treatment with antibiotics.
Some evidence even suggests that probiotics could be beneficial for newborns and prematurely born babies.
Preliminary studies reveal that giving premature babies (having weight of at least 1,000 grams) probiotics can potentially prevent necrotizing enterocolitis or the death of intestinal tissue.
This problem is caused by underdevelopment of the intestinal tissue, a difficult delivery that prevents the proper oxygenation of the tissue or the heavy growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines.
It’s also interesting to point out that a combination of probiotics and prebiotics seems to deliver even bigger health benefits for kids. Some research suggests that giving little ones probiotics and prebiotics will reduce the risk of eczema in otherwise healthy kids.
Thus, you should definitely consider strengthening your child’s immunity through the addition of beneficial bacteria to daily meals.
Dosage And Additional Tips
To make the most of the opportunity, you have to follow a couple of tips.
According to research published in the December 2007 issue of Pediatric Clinics of North America, a safe daily dose for healthy kids is five to 10 billion CFU.
This dosage is sufficient to reduce the risk of antibiotic-induced diarrhea and to balance the intestinal flora.
If you have a very young kid (up to two-year old), look for chewable tablets and products especially formulated for infants. There are some products available in the form of fruit or berry-flavored syrups, which are even easier to administer.
Always take a look at the product’s label to identify the strains of bacteria. Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one of the most beneficial probiotics for kids because of its ability to balance the intestinal flora and to help fight the growth of pathogens.
Lactobacillus reuteri and Bifidobacterium lactis are also considered highly beneficial for toddlers and children.
The final thing you may want to do is talk to your pediatrician before getting started.
A physician that specializes in child health will give you a better idea about the benefits you’ll get from probiotic supplementation. The doctor will assess your child’s health to determine whether probiotics are safe.
Finally, the two of you can look at different supplements and figure out which one is going to be best for your child. Probiotic supplements aren’t created equal and a bit of expert assistance will make it easier for you to choose the right one.