The Case For Prebiotic Supplements
Prebiotics occur naturally in a wide range of foods, including apples, bananas, barley, berries, oats, tomatoes, and wheat. Theyre also found in onions, garlic, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichokes, and soybeans, although these may be a harder sell for most kids. Yogurt can also be a great source of prebiotics, but avoid the ones marketed for kids, as they are often loaded with added sugars, Avena cautions. Additionally, food companies are increasingly adding prebiotic fibers and sugars such as inulin and oligosaccharides into nutrition bars, cereals, pastas and other packaged products.
Yet despite prebiotics being readily available, Avena says the average kid doesnt consume enough of them. For children, especially toddlers, it can be very difficult to get the appropriate amount into their diets, she says. Babies under 12 months are usually OK because breastmilk naturally contains prebiotics and many formulas are fortified with them. But once they transition to food, there tends to be a precipitous drop-off. If they dont like the particular foods that contain prebiotics, or if theyre a picky eater in general, it can be a struggle to get prebiotics into their diet
How Do Probiotics Work
Here is how probiotics usually work in infants :
What Are The Natural Alternatives
Probiotics can be found in several natural foods, but dairy products are the most common place to find them. Cultured or live yogurts could be one of the top choices for children. They also contain other nutrients such as calcium, protein, and possibly other vitamins, beneficial for developing infants. Choose a food source that is low in sugar and contains the helpful bacteria lactobacillus. This has the most consistent results and has been examined in most clinical studies. Other alternatives could be soy milk or various types of cheeses.
Dont Miss: Why Does Lettuce Give Me Diarrhea
Recommended Reading: Do Probiotics Make You Pee More
Do Babies Need Probiotics
Amniotic fluid is not sterileits your babys first introduction to bacteria. And the kind of bacteria in the amniotic fluid is influenced by moms gut and oral flora.
In a perfect world, moms would have great flora to pass onto their babies. But over the last century, we have been subjected to antibiotics, GMOs, sugary/starchy diets, and lots of processed foodsall of which can degrade the gut flora passed onto our babies.
Baby probiotics are a babys first line of defense, since they help to improve the balance of good bacteria in their body.
Does My Baby Need Probiotics When Having Antibiotics
Yes, probiotics are beneficial for babies on antibiotics. Antibiotics not only deplete the harmful bacteria but also bring down the numbers of good bacteria. Infants on an antibiotic course may also develop diarrhea as a side effect. Giving probiotics is an excellent way to restore good gut bacteria and cut down the side effects of the antibiotics .
You May Like: C Section Babies And Probiotics
Why Trust Verywell Family
A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements, especially for babies. I spent time reviewing the most current research on probiotic supplementation for infants, and I looked at multiple brands and products. I believe the supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands that are devoted to product purity and are composed of high-quality ingredients. Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN
What Are The Best Types Of Probiotics For Toddlers
You may want to look for the following when shopping for probiotics for your toddler:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG : This strain has consistently been shown to help with diarrhea.
- Saccharomyces boulardii:This strain is also thought to help children who have infectious diarrhea.
Keep in mind that there are lots of bacteria strains in supplement form within the Lactobacillus group as well as the Bifidobacterium group, so its unclear which strains may be most effective.
Ask your child’s pediatrician which strain he or she specifically recommends for your child.
Choosing A Safe Infant Probiotic
Now that you know how valuable probiotics are for giving your child a strong foundation for optimal health, you might be wondering what to look for in an infant probiotic. After all, we spend hours researching the best and safest car seats, cribs, and toys for our babies and infant probiotics play just as important of a role in their well-being!
First off, youll want to look for a product that is hypoallergenic, does not contain harmful fillers or dyes, and is free of inflammatory ingredients namely, gluten, dairy, corn, and soy. Exposure to these can stress your babys immune system, potentially leading to leaky gut, and causing symptoms of food sensitivity.
Your infant probiotic should also contain a balanced blend of multiple strains of the two most important beneficial bacteria: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Clinical research has shown that these two types of bacteria support digestive and immune health throughout this particular period of your babys development.
And it is important that your babys probiotics mimic the natural diversity of a healthy infant microbiome, which is why you need a blend of multiple strains. I like to think of the microbiome as a thriving rainforest with many different species of plants working symbiotically to maintain the balance. You want to make sure youre growing a diverse set of flora, not just one species of tree.
Does My Child Need A Probiotic
Disclaimer: All probiotic recommendations made in this post are not prescriptive nor individualized to your specific situation and needs. Always seek out the advice of your doctor and dietitian before proceeding with anything.
You hear of them and see them advertised everywhere your mom is taking one daily to treat her bloating, your doctor may have recommended one for your colicky baby, and the yogurt aisle in the grocery store is screaming about all the probiotics it contains. Whats all the hype? Is it worth giving your baby or toddler one? Lets dive in!
What is a probiotic?
Probiotics are defined as live micro-organisms that survive in the digestive tract and promote gut health. We have trillions of bacteria living in our guts that are naturally existing some good and some bad. The good bacteria keep the bad ones at bay, and strengthen the guts mucosal barrier so that foreign materials and germs cannot bind to it. They can also work by lowering the pH of the intestine so that it would be an unattainable environment for unfavourable materials and germs to live. In other words having lots of good bacteria keeps us healthy! And even though the gut is constantly hosting new probiotics, it is important to ensure that the balance between the good and bad bacteria is not offset. In other words, we always want the ratio of good to bad to be very high.
What type of probiotics are good?
How do we obtain good bacteria?
After a round of antibiotics
Can Babies With Lactose Intolerance And Milk Allergy Have Probiotics
Babies can have probiotic drops or powder safely following recommendations from the manufacturer. However, lactose intolerance and milk allergy become a problem when the primary source of probiotics for the baby is yogurt. The ability to eat probiotic-rich yogurt varies as per the condition :
Lactose intolerance: Lactose intolerant babies may tolerate yogurt, especially if they can breastfeed. You must start with a minimal quantity of yogurt and look for symptoms like stomachache, bloating, and gas. If you sense the baby is tolerating yogurt well, then you can slowly increase the quantity. Give yogurt mixed with food items like cereal or fruits during meal times.
Milk allergy: A baby with a milk allergy is unable to digest only cows milk, but can have breast milk. Therefore, babies with a milk allergy should avoid all milk products including yogurt.
Next, we address a few commonly asked questions about probiotics for babies.
Also Check: Is It Ok To Take Probiotics With Antidepressants
What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics For Babies
Different strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria offer distinct benefits .
Best Strains Of Probiotics For Babies
Researchers of an Australian study found that the best probiotics for infants were ones that included 2-3 strains or species of probiotics . Here are the top three to look for:
1. B. bifidum is one of the first strains to colonize babys intestines and adheres to the intestinal wall better than other strains. It continues to be an important bacteria for digestion and nutrient absorption. It may help with infant skin conditions like baby eczema and yeast infections. It may also help with infant digestive issues such as necrotizing enterocolitis , IBS, constipation, diarrhea, and even lung infections.
2. B. infantis is the strain that is most prevalent and powerful in infants and declines as we age. In fact, a new study shows that this strain may be going extinct in the Western world. This is a huge issue, as it crowds out pathogenic bacteria and helps with overall health and digestion. One review found that B. Infantis can reduce inflammation and support immune function.
3. L. reuteri is a strain that has been found to have many benefits for young children and infants. One study found that children ages 6 months to 3 years who took supplemental L. rheuteri had nearly one third fewer cases of diarrhea and half as many respiratory infections. Another studysuggests that L. rheuteri is an excellent treatment for colic. It was also found to reduce the levels of bacteria that cause tooth decay!
Why Every Baby Needs Infant Probiotics
Amy Myers, MD
Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MD®.
As a parent, you want the very best for your child, and setting your baby up for lifelong optimal health is one of the best gifts you can ever provide for her.
By starting life with a healthy gut and thriving immune system, your child will be on the path to optimal health and wellness, including healthy skin, digestion, and ideal inflammatory and immune responses.
By now you likely know about the importance of taking probiotics for supporting a healthy gut and strong immune system. Its something I recommend everyone take and its part of my wellness essentials for children and adults.
However, did you know that newborns up to 2 years of age have specific bacteria in their microbiome and that they require a different type and specific strains of bacteria? Thats why its a key first step to get your child on a gut-healthy routine designed for this specific stage of her development.
Prebiotics & Probiotics Are Naturally Occurring
There is so much hype surrounding probiotics these days, it’s easy for parents to wonder whether their child is getting an adequate supply in their milk. If you are breastfeeding, your breastmilk will supply the right amount of prebiotics and probiotics. Similarly, if you are formula feeding, virtually all infant formula’s on the market will have been tested for adequate levels of prebiotics and probiotics. If you are concerned about this when selecting your formula, there is plenty of information about how to select the right formula.
Your infant might need to try a few different brands before you find what fits, and that’s completely normal. All babies have different reactions to different formula recipes, and buying the high-end organic formula doesn’t automatically mean that your infant will digest it well. Speak to your pediatrician if you are having a hard time selecting a formula. There are several different options on the market, and you will eventually find the right fit! While breastfeeding women don’t need to supplement their feeds with formula in order to provide more probiotics, you can also speak to your pediatrician about this if you have concerns that your baby is not getting enough milk .
How To Give Your Baby Probiotics While Breastfeeding
You can give your baby probiotics in a number of ways:
- As a powder that is mixed with breast milk or formula before feeding.
- In drops that are put into your babys mouth.
- In a gel that is rubbed on your babys gums.
- In a capsule that is swallowed by yourself and then passes through your breast milk to your baby .
These supplements can help supplement any vitamins or medications you are taking. Probiotics do not replace breast milk and should only be used as part of a healthy diet. Speak with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
While probiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, they should not be seen as a replacement for breast milk. Breast milk is still the best source of nutrition for infants and provides them with antibodies that help protect them against infection.
However, probiotics can help supplement any vitamins or medications you are taking and can be given to your baby in a number of ways.
When Can Babies Have Probiotics
The source of the probiotic determines when your baby can have it. Here is the average age to introduce probiotics to the baby, depending on the different food sources:
- Yogurt: 12 months. You can try introducing it around the age of nine months .
- Soy milk: 12 months
- Cottage cheese: 12 months
- Probiotic drops, infant formula, and infant cereal: Probiotic drops and infant formula may be available for babies as young as three months old. However, it is best to consult the doctor before giving probiotics to infants below the age of six months. Infants older than six months can safely have probiotic infant cereal, formula, and drops.
- Fermented soy, milk, and vegetable products: Several traditionally fermented products contain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Examples of milk-based fermented products are kefir and some types of cheese. Miso and tempeh are fermented soy delicacies that are a dairy-free source of probiotic. Kimchi and Sauerkraut are preparations made by fermenting vegetables with bacteria.
Most cheeses and other fermented milk preparations can be safely introduced to babies at the age of 12 months.
Fermented soy and vegetable preparations can also be given at 12 months, but since they contain high quantities of sodium, consult a pediatrician before trying them.
Dont Miss: What To Eat For Leaky Gut
How To Buy Baby The Best Baby Probiotics
To help you shop for specific baby probiotic products that have proven helpful for various conditions, check out the 2021 Clinical Guide to Probiotic Products Available in the USA. Updated each year to capture the latest science, this is the guide that many doctors consult before recommending particular probiotics for kids. If you want to know which probiotic to give Johnny when he is on antibiotics or has ulcerative colitis, that site does really good job, Merenstein says. But its still smart to run your pick by your childs doctor before buying it.
Merenstein also advises parents to check out the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics website. This research-based organization has created several short, easy-to-understand videos and infographics on how probiotics work and how to choose the best products.
As a final note, Merenstein says that when shopping for probiotics, always check the Supplement Facts panel to make sure the strain or strains are listed precisely. Each probiotic name should include the genus , the species , and a set of numbers or letters to indicate the exact strain.
Should I Go To The Gp Before Trying A Probiotic
Infant probiotics are considered safe for children of that age so if the baby is healthy it is not necessary, however it is a good idea to mention anything you are giving your baby to your doctor, especially if there are other health conditions too.
Disclaimer: Psychreg is mainly for information purposes only. Materials on this website are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website. Read our full disclaimer here.