What Are Baby Probiotics And What Are The Benefits
“Probiotics are good bacteria that normally should be living in our intestines, and which begin to colonize our intestines from the time we are in the womb, explains Jenelle Ferry, M.D., a neonatologist and the director of feeding, nutrition and infant development at Pediatrix Medical Group of Florida. We want to keep a healthy balance of this good bacteria in our gut to out-compete the bad bacteria.
Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are the two most common probiotic strains, and besides being available as supplements, they can also be found in naturally fermented foods like yogurt.
According to Dr. Ferry, probiotics can help support better digestion as well as the immune response. “The best supporting evidence we have for probiotics in older infants and in toddlers is to aid with some GI illnesses. Use of probiotics can shorten the duration of gastroenteritis and help the post-diarrheal illness recovery,” she says.
What Probiotics Should I Take While On Antibiotics To Prevent Diarrhea
Ever finish that round of antibiotics and experience days of diarrhea? Yes, we have been there! No fun. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea is commonly experienced with the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
So which probiotic should be taken to help with diarrhea prevention?
While the research is still growing, existing research points to use of the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus in preventing the incidence of diarrhea and in treating other gastrointestinal disorders.
Saccharomyces boulardii, a beneficial yeast eating yeast, has also been shown to help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children.
If you havent recently gone on an antibiotic, you may still benefit from another top-rated probiotic supplement for more baseline support.
Probiotics Colic And Gi Issues
How effective are probiotics for babies? The evidence is mixed, at least for now— and much more research is needed.
We don’t have enough information to confirm which probiotic strains work best to treat certain conditions in babies, how much of each probiotic works best to treat a condition, and when in a baby’s life is the best time to give a certain probiotic.
There are also no official approved doses of probiotics for babies at this time, so doses are at each doctor’s discretion.
Even so, the results of some recent clinical studies show promise. Here’s a brief overview of current research on probiotics, colic, and GI issues. Most studies of note involved lactobacillus reuteri:
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When Should My Baby Take A Probiotic
It depends. Although some baby probiotics might be labeled “daily,” it’s important to only give them to your child only when your pediatrician recommends it which could mean every day, or it could mean only under certain circumstances.
For instance, your doctor may recommend a daily probiotic if youre trying to treat colic, explains Dr. Gina Posner, M.D., F.A.A.P., a Fountain Valley, California-based pediatrician and member of the What to Expect Medical Review Board. But other times, your pediatrician may advise you to give your baby a probiotic only when he has an issue that warrants it, such as a stomach virus or if they’re starting an antibiotic. As always, talk to your doctor before starting probiotics.
Benefits Of A Bifidobacterium
The decline of Bifidobacterium in infant gut microbiomes and the associated dysregulation of the microbial community, with more numerous potential pathogens, has been suggested as one possible contributor to the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases that plague residents of resource-rich nations. Conversely, observational studies have shown beneficial immune effects of having a fecal microbiome dominated by Bifidobacterium. In two studies in Bangladeshi infants and young children, fecal B. infantis and Bifidobacterium abundances at two months of age were strongly correlated with improved vaccine responses at six months and two years old compared with infants not colonized by B. infantis or with low relative abundances of Bifidobacterium.
In an effort to restore the Bifidobacterium-dominated infant gut microbiome that was typical of breastfed babies 100 years ago, we decided to conduct a randomized, controlled trial using the B. infantis EVC001 probiotic. Given that not all B. infantis strains consume all HMOs efficiently, we selected B. infantis EVC001 because we knew this strain had the full cassette of genes needed to fully digest all HMOs. Healthy, full-term, breastfed infants were randomized to consume B. infantis EVC001 for 21 consecutive days starting on day 7 postnatal or to not receive the probiotic.
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Taking Probiotics During And After A Course Of Antibiotics
Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat serious bacterial infections that can sometimes be life-threatening. There are some unpleasant side effects of taking antibiotics that include gastrointestinal upset, yeast infections, and rashes.
The Yonsei Medical Journal reports that antibiotics upset the intestinal microbiota and can cause antibiotic-associated diseases. The most common side effect of taking antibiotics is diarrhea.
Other studies into the effect of antibiotics on gut health have shown that taking antibiotics can cause Clostridium difficile infections that can cause inflammation of the colon. Research has also found that interfering with the gut microflora can also impact the immune system and put you at risk of further infection.
Scientific research shows why you should take probiotics after taking antibiotics. For example, a systematic review of 20 trials found that probiotics can help to prevent C. diff. infections that cause diarrhea.
Another review of clinical trials involving more than 3,400 children found that various probiotic strains can help to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children.
One study found that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730 was effective in reducing and preventing diarrhea in people taking antibiotics. Taking 2 probiotic supplements 2 times a day for 4 weeks helped to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
When Is The Best Time To Give Your Baby Probiotics
No one knows for certain, but a tentative consensus is coalescing around earlier being better. Probiotics given during the first month of life lower genetically-at-risk childrens chances of Type 1 Diabetes, whereas those given later had no effect. Allergy researchers have started referring to the first 100 days as the critical window for early immune development.
In short, the research remains unclear on which common probiotics work best and on the optimal timing, probiotics appear safe even in immunologically vulnerable babies like preemies , and high dose, multi-strain cocktails have the most evidence on their side.
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What Are The Best Probiotics For Newborns
There are so many probiotics available, but the vast majority of them are not formulated, manufactured, or guaranteed the way you would want for your newborn. A newborns health is fragile, and the last thing you want to do is pick an ineffective or dangerous probiotic, even if it saves a few dollars.
Natrens scientists have created a probiotic supplement called Life Start which allows you to give your baby an incredibly high-quality, safe product that is formulated just for them. This supplement comes with our potency guarantee that every strain in the probiotic is microbiologically pure and is manufactured to the highest standards of safety.
Is It Safe To Give Your Baby Probiotics
Studies show that you can safely give probiotics to most babies. To be on the safe side, its always best to check with your babys healthcare professional before starting probiotics or any other supplements. Additionally, if your baby has suspected allergies, you should verify that the probiotics you purchase are not cultured on such allergens .
How To Restore Gut Health While Taking Antibiotics
Avoiding antibiotics altogether is the easiest way to ensure antibiotics dont disrupt your gut microbiome. However, a severe infection can make taking them unavoidable and you will need to take steps to proactively restore your gut health and combat the effects of the antibiotics.
Something to note is that antibiotics should never be used to treat sinus infection or some ear infections because most of the time they are viral infections and not bacterial. Viral infections are caused by viruses and typically last 10-14 days. Bacterial infections are secondary infections usually caused by a virus. If symptoms such as a runny nose lasts longer than 14 days or you have a fever that gets worse, its likely due to a bacterial infection.
Heres What You Can Do To Give Her The Best Start Possible
Ah, the gut microbiome, that teeming collection of fungi, viruses and bacteria that lives inside our intestines. We hear so much about it nowadays, that you could almost believe a healthy gut was a panacea for everything from obesity to asthma.
Sadly, it probably isnt. Not for you, at least.
But for your baby? Thats another story!
Research over the past decade has found that infants gut microbiomes can shape their metabolic and immune-related health as well as their lifelong risk for obesity, asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.
Translation? Looking ahead to delivery, do not fret about pooping-on-the-table during delivery , fret about your baby not taking a bacteria-laden bath on its way outside.
And thats the rub. We now disrupt the normal seeding of a babys gut with moms bacteria in over half of all U.S. births. C-sections and early life antibiotics all interrupt the transfer of bugs from mom to baby.
Infants gut microbiomes can shape their metabolic and immune-related health as well as their lifelong risk for obesity, asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.
While what happens during birth is often outside our control, there are simple steps you can take today to boost your babys gut health that appear at least safe, and possibly beneficial.
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How To Choose The Best Probiotics For Your Baby
When choosing a probiotic supplement for your baby, its important to consider the science and research behind the product, the formulation, as well as the ingredients. You want to make sure youre giving your baby a probiotic-based on extensive science, one that is targeted to their health needs, and a clean, trustworthy product.
Is There A Minimum Age Limit
Different companies may make different probiotics for newborns, older babies and toddlers. Although there is no minimum age specified for general probiotic use, as mentioned above, it’s always important to discuss with your child’s doctor first. “You should always talk to your pediatrician before starting a specific probiotic, and this is especially important if your child has a compromised immune system or cancer,” says Dr. Ferry.
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How Do Antibiotics Impact Health
As mentioned, antibiotics alter the make-up of your gut microbiome. Less diversity of beneficial bacteria, such as lactobacillus, can impact your health and performance in many ways because the brain and the gut connect!
The reality is that experts have found potentially dangerous long-term consequences that are the result of widespread overuse of antibiotics.
Diarrhea is one of the top issues experienced by patients following a round or two or three or four of antibiotics. One research study found that even a single treatment of intravenous antibiotics can change the dynamic of fecal bacterial strains and the development of the pathogen Clostridium difficile . Pretty cool!
People are also becoming resistant to antibiotics from overusing them! Essentially this means that the body develops the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. So basically, you wipe out good bacteria with no return on investmentaka fighting your disease!
Also, it is well established that the severe disruption of antibiotics on the ecology of the human microbiome may result in your body not performing vital functions such as nutrient supply, vitamin production, and protection from pathogens.
- Skin issues
Just to name a few
NOW, does this mean you should never use an antibiotic? No, absolutely not. When youve got an infection, we dont want you withering away in pain or, even worse, developing a more severe condition by leaving it untreated!
Are Probiotics Safe For Children
From all the research into probiotics for children, no serious side effects have been found from taking a daily probiotic supplement . However, probiotics are not suitable for all children, especially those with medical conditions which may cause weakened immune systems.
Probiotics can cause side effects, including nausea, rashes, constipation or bloating. These are usually mild and temporary but will vary for each child.
Always take advice from your childs GP or Registered Dietitian prior to starting a new supplement or if you are concerned about any side effects.
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Probiotics And Antibiotic Associated Diarrhoea
When antibiotics reduce the microbiota, this provides an opportunity for less beneficial and pathogenic bacteria to establish themselves instead. Sometimes this can lead to antibiotic associated diarrhoea. A specific type of diarrhoea caused by a particularly nasty bacteria accounts for 25% of diarrhoea after a course of antibiotics. It can be particularly severe, so studies have investigated if this can be prevented by probiotics. A Cochrane Review of the data looked at 31 trials, totalling 8672 participants and found that probiotics reduced the risk of Clostridiumdifficile associated diarrhoea . Although this effect was greatest where the risk was higher, safety in immunocompromised patients isnt well documented .
If Breastfeeding Improve Moms Diet
The first step to improving a breastfed babys gut health is for mom to improve her diet. Mom continues to inoculate baby with her breastmilk and the healthier she is, the healthier her milk is.
Foods to eat to improve gut health include:
- Bone broth The gelatin and collagen in bone broth help to seal the gut lining and glutamine helps to strengthen it. Heres why and how to make it.
- Fermented foods An excellent way to get probiotics is unpasteurized fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. These foods are naturally rich in beneficial bacteria. You can make them at home or there are now several quality brands in stores, too.
- Pastured meats and wild-caught fish These sources are higher in omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation. We use this source for meats and this one for fish and other seafood.
- Cooked vegetables Vegetables are important for their nutrient profile but can be rough on a healing digestive tract. Cooking vegetables makes them easier to digest.
- Omega-3s from fish oil We get ours from quality seafood and our favorite fish oil supplement.
- Vitamin D Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in our indoors, workaholic culture and has been linked to leaky gut. To combat this our family spends time in the sun and takes a quality vitamin D supplement when were not getting as much sunlight.
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Four Leaf Rover Protect Soil
This supplement may seem like a probiotic, however, it doesnt actually contain live cultures. It has other qualities that make it especially good for the gut.
What we love: Some people say soil-based probiotics are better at maintaining the stomachs acid than traditional probiotics. The clay is known to remove heavy metals from a dogs body, and the blueberry powder helps mental aging. There is some research that soil-based bacteria decreases a dogs anxiety. Thats all in addition to the gut healing elements of PROTECT.
What customers say: Customers say they can see the quality of the nutrients in this powder just by looking at it. It is easy to sprinkle over both warm food and dry kibbles. Many users say they are happy with the unique all-natural ingredients of the product. Aside from firming up stools, the product is known to increase appetite. Be aware that this probiotic might give your dogs stool a slightly black hue.
Ingredient: Certified organic wild blueberry powder, bentonite clay, dandelion root powder, and burdock root powder.
How Do Antibiotics Damage Your Gut Health
Antibiotics are prescribed to nearly half the UK population every year for common conditions and in hospitals to treat and prevent serious infections. Here are the most common applications for antibiotics:
|urinary tract, bladder and kidney infections||skin and wound infections|
Unfortunately, antibiotics dont stop at bad bacteria and they dont treat viral infections, which are often nearly impossible to distinguish from bacterial ones. Instead, antibiotics kill good bacteria too, and thats bad because good bacteria are often helping your body fight the infection.
Many people also experience mild-to-severe antibiotic side effects, especially if their immune health is already compromised, like hospital patients. More seriously, antibiotics can leave room for extremely harmful bacteria such as E.coli, C.diff and Salmonella infections that may be so severe that hospitalization is required.
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Are Probiotics Safe For Babies
Although probiotics are an excellent means to support the health of your baby’s developing gut microbiome, probiotics may not be suitable in certain circumstances including babies with severe health conditions or those in NICUs. In these instances, a doctor should always be consulted before trying probiotics.
It is also worth noting that although probiotics may be beneficial in supporting gut and immune system development, not all babies need them. For example, babies born vaginally and who have not needed any antibiotics may not need additional support. This is particularly true if their mums maintained good health during pregnancy.
Are Probiotics Safe For Infants And Toddlers
Generally yes, all brands can safely be given to healthy babies or toddlers. Keep in mind that probiotics are considered a supplement and not a medication, so are not regulated by the FDA. When choosing a probiotic for baby and to ensure its safety, its best to look for one that has been certified by an independent body like ConsumerLab, USP or NSF International. Please consult your pediatrician before you start a probiotic or if you have any questions or concerns, especially if your child has a weak immune system, was born prematurely or has other health issues.
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