Should I Give Probiotics To My Kids
Probiotics can be beneficial for both adults and kids. If your child has an illness that requires an antibiotic medication for treatment, taking a probiotic can help shorten symptoms. Probiotics can also be used to help relieve constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea, gas and eczema in children.
Introducing probiotics into your childs diet through food is typically a safe way to give them probiotics. Foods like yogurt and cottage cheese are often part of a balanced diet and can add in good bacteria without much risk.
There are commercially available probiotic supplements specifically designed for infants and children. However, it is important to talk to your childs pediatrician before giving them any probiotic supplement or changing the childs diet to include probiotic-rich foods.
How Do Probiotics Work In The Body
You might be wondering what happens in your body when you use a probiotic, and how they actually generate a health benefit. Probiotics can improve health through any of several specific mechanisms:
- Interact with other microorganisms in our microbiome
- Stimulate growth of beneficial bacteria in our microbiome
- Inhibit growth of harmful bacteria in our microbiome
- Interact directly with our bodys organs, such as the intestine
- Produce compounds that reduce inflammation or alleviate leaky gut
- Modulate our immune system
One way some probiotics work is through modulating our microbiome. Probiotics can affect the growth and activity of bacteria in our microbiome to change what they make and do. Studies have shown that these changes are possible even when the probiotic does not colonize for long periods of time. The consequences of probiotic-induced alterations to the human microbiome may be to then change how the microbiome affects organ function. For example, some probiotic strains of Bifiobacterium and Lactobacilus make antimicrobial compounds and organic acids that inhibit, endotoxin containing, potentially harmful bacteria in the intestine. Reductions in the numbers of those harmful bacteria results in reduced inflammation and disruptions to barrier integrity. This mechanism is indirect because probiotic efficacy is dependent on the resident microbiome at that particular body site.
Probiotics Diversity And The Human Microbiome
The human microbiome is the collection of microbes that live in and on the human body. We are made up of many more bacterial cells than human cells. Incredibly, the microbes in our bodies outnumber our own cells by a ratio of about 10 to 1. Many of these microbes live in the gastrointestinal tract, which contains about 100,000 billion bacteria from more than 400 different species and 60 percent of the bodys immune cells.
The digestive tract is sterile, with relatively few microbes, until after birth. The initial colonization of the intestines by bacteria is affected by how a baby is delivered, diet, hygiene, infections and medications, such as antibiotics. Microbial diversity is important for the development of the infants digestive tract and maturing of the immune system.
By diversity, we mean many different types of microbes. After 1 year, the gut microbiome is relatively stable in healthy children but it can be altered later in life by what we eat, infections, antibiotics, stress, travel, and various disease conditions.
Note: The safety of probiotics is not known in people with impaired immune systems, pregnant women, and the elderly
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Reasons To Get Prebiotics In Your Diet Plus The Best Sources
By now, most people are well-aware that foods rich in dietary fiber and probiotics offer a long list of benefits and are essential to overall health. Nonetheless, prebiotics are still largely under-appreciated and often lacking in the typical American diet.
Unfortunately, this can result in serious issues like indigestion, inflammation, impaired immunity, weight gain and possibly even an increased risk for many chronic conditions.
Are prebiotics better than probiotics?
Ideally you should get both. While probiotic foods play a key role in gut health and overall well-being, prebiotics help feed the probiotics to bump up the health benefits even more.
As explained more below, prebiotics and probiotics together amplify the incredible health-promoting properties of these powerful ingredients.
Understanding The Digestive System
The digestive system has several organs, including the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Within the network, the average person has about 300-500 different species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The bacteria totals in the billions, with hundreds more species recently discovered by researchers. This is known as the gut microbiome. Some are helpful probiotics, and some are harmful to a personís overall health. Creating a balance between the two types of bacteria is vital for digestive health.
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What Do Probiotics Do
Human studies have shown that probiotics can be useful for improving and sustaining health in a number of ways. Strong evidence for probiotic use is available for the prevention and management of digestive disorders and infectious and antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Beyond the digestive tract, probiotics may lower the frequency and duration of upper respiratory infections, diminish weight gain and insulin resistance, and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
How Are Probiotics Regulated In The United States
Government regulation of probiotics in the United States is complex. Depending on a probiotic productâs intended use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might regulate it as a dietary supplement, a food ingredient, or a drug.
Many probiotics are sold as dietary supplements, which donât require FDA approval before they are marketed. Dietary supplement labels may make claims about how the product affects the structure or function of the body without FDA approval, but they arenât allowed to make health claims, such as saying the supplement lowers your risk of getting a disease, without the FDAâs consent.
If a probiotic is going to be marketed as a drug for treatment of a disease or disorder, it has to meet stricter requirements. It must be proven safe and effective for its intended use through clinical trials and be approved by the FDA before it can be sold.
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What Has Science Shown About The Effectiveness Of Probiotics For Health Conditions
A great deal of research has been done on probiotics, but much remains to be learned about whether theyâre helpful and safe for various health conditions.
Probiotics have shown promise for a variety of health purposes, including prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea , prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.
However, in most instances, we still donât know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also donât know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would be most likely to benefit. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
The following sections summarize the research on probiotics for some of the conditions for which theyâve been studied.
Supplements And Dosage Recommendations
Some prebiotics are added to some foods artificially and can often be found as dietary supplements, such as Prebiotin, which is a prebiotin fiber that can be sprinkled on foods and dissolved in drinks. While many food manufacturers now produce foods that are high in fiber, many use isolated fiber sources that are difficult to digest, and some might even have mild laxative effects.
What is the best prebiotic to take?
The best prebiotics come from whole food sources and foods containing prebiotics, like raw chicory root or onions. Not only do these foods supply a concentrated amount of prebiotics, but they are also rich in other important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help optimize your health.
Focus on eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, aiming to get 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day from a variety of whole foods.
That said, if youre unable to meet your needs through food alone, you may want to consider prebiotics and probiotics supplements. Look for a supplement that contains real prebiotics instead of compounds with prebiotic-like effects, and be sure to buy from a reputable retailer with high-quality standards as well.
Additionally, its important to stick to the recommended dosage to avoid adverse symptoms and gastrointestinal problems. You may also want to start with a low dose and gradually increase your intake to assess your tolerance and minimize the risk of side effects.
How long do prebiotics take to work?
Probiotics In The Gut Microbiome
There are a few ways that adding good bacteria — probiotics — to the gut microbiome will help with dysbiosis.
First, ingesting probiotics adds beneficial bacteria directly to your gut microbiome, which helps to tip the balance of bacteria toward the good guys.
In addition to this, probiotics actually help to push out bad bacteria already in your gut they produce antimicrobial compounds that can help eliminate the harmful bacteria.
May Help Prevent Travelers Diarrhea
Research suggests probioticsparticularly L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus GG and S. boulardiican help prevent travelers diarrhea, 80% of which is caused by bacteria in the food or water supplyBae J-M. Prophylactic efficacy of probiotics on travelers diarrhea: an adaptive meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Epidemiol Health. 2018 40:e2018043. . The key is to consume the probiotics before, during and for a few days after your trip, says Cresci.
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What Are The Most Common Types Of Probiotic Bacteria
Though there are many types of bacteria that can be considered probiotics, there are two specific types of bacteria that are common probiotics found in stores. These include:
Probiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is:
- Saccharomyces boulardii.
How To Take Prebiotics
Aim to get 30g of fiber per day from plant foods, including prebiotics, to support your gut health and microbiome balance. If you want to increase the stakes, try to eat the rainbow and get 30 plant foods of different colours into your diet per week.
Considering prebiotic supplements? Remember that they dont come with all these added benefits. They are not a silver bullet, no matter what the packet says, because a diverse and balanced diet has been shown time and time again to be effective at promoting general health, healthy body weight, and preventing disease.
TIPYou can find out the best prebiotics for you and get personalised food recommendations by taking an Atlas Microbiome Test.
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What Does The Research Say
Probiotic doses are listed as colony forming units , which means the number of live strains in each dose.
Different brands will have different suggested doses and uses, so its important to understand the information listed.
Recent research found that the type of microbe strain, health condition, product formula, dose, and the quality of the product are all important for effectiveness.
The condition or symptom youre trying to treat can affect how the probiotic works and when youll see results. If youre taking a probiotic for general gut or immune health, youll need to take it awhile to see results.
On the other hand, if youre taking a probiotic for relief from diarrhea, you may see faster results.
For example, has shown that, when used in combination with rehydration therapy, treatment with probiotics can reduce the duration and frequency of infectious diarrhea in as little as 2 days.
Another study demonstrated that people who consumed a high-dose probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus casei, and Lactobacillus fermentium for 12 weeks experienced significantly less upper respiratory infections and flu-like symptoms compared to a placebo group.
Plus, it was shown that the probiotic drink boosted the immune system of the participants by increasing levels of antibodies including sIgA in the gut after 12 weeks.
Depending on what youre taking probiotics for, you may see symptom improvements anywhere between a few days to a few months.
Importance Of Microorganisms For Your Gut
The complex community of microorganisms in your gut is called the gut flora, gut microbiota, or gut microbiome .
The gut microbiota includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and helminths with bacteria comprising the vast majority. Your gut is home to a complex eco-system of 300500 bacterial species .
Most of the gut flora is found in your colon, or large intestine, which is the last part of your digestive tract.
Surprisingly, the metabolic activities of your gut flora resemble those of an organ. For this reason, some scientists refer to the gut flora as the forgotten organ .
Your gut flora performs many important health functions. It manufactures vitamins, including vitamin K and some of the B vitamins .
It also turns fibers into short-chain fats like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which feed your gut wall and perform many metabolic functions (
Probiotics and prebiotic fibers can help correct this balance, ensuring that your forgotten organ is functioning optimally .
Your gut flora consists of hundreds of types of microorganisms. These microorganisms perform numerous important bodily functions.
Probiotics are widely researched for their effects on digestive health .
Evidence suggests that probiotic supplements can help cure antibiotic-associated diarrhea .
When people take antibiotics, especially for long periods of time, they often experience diarrhea even long after the infection has been eradicated.
These unknowns include :
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When To Take Prebiotics
Most people in Europe dont hit the daily recommended allowance of fiber, which means that people are simply not getting enough plant-based foods. By doing so, they are also depriving their gut microbiomes of sustenance from prebiotics.
Increasing your prebiotic intake is really simple: eat prebiotic foods. This is particularly important for individuals who do not currently consume enough fibre in their diet, like those who eat lots of fat, processed meat, and refined sugars, as well as people who follow fad or restrictive diets.
How To Choose The Right Probiotic
When looking for probiotic products, look for a supplement with the following features
Multispecies and multistrain probiotic: The product should contain different bacterial species and multiple strains of bacteria.
Differentiated products tailored to your needs: Different digestive issues warrant different probiotic strains. Therefore, for optimal benefits, try to seek out a probiotic that is tailored to the specific health outcomes you are trying to achieve.
Clinical studies: The probiotic and its claims should be backed by clinical studies using the final product. This will ensure that you are buying a product whose effects have been studied and proven.
Human strains: Only human bacterial strains can colonize your gut . Other bacteria, such as bacteria found in fermented foods such as yogurt and in soil-based probiotics, cannot colonize the gut and usually pass through your body within a few days. For lasting positive effects, you want to make sure that you have human strains that can colonize.
Free of animal proteins, allergens and fillers: It is recommended to choose a probiotic that is free of dairy and other animal proteins, gluten, soy and yeast to ensure you are taking a clean product.
Delivery mechanism: When you ingest your probiotic, the probiotic travels through the harsh, very acidic environment of the stomach before it reaches the small and large intestine.
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Probiotics Help Balance The Friendly Bacteria In Your Digestive System
Probiotics include good bacteria. These are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed .
These benefits are thought to result from the ability of probiotics to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria .
An imbalance means there are too many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria. It can happen due to illness, medication such as antibiotics, poor diet and more.
Consequences can include digestive issues, allergies, mental health problems, obesity and more .
Probiotics are usually found in fermented foods or taken as supplements. Whats more, they appear to be safe for most people.
Probiotics are live microorganisms. When taken in sufficient amounts, they can help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria. As a result, health benefits may follow.
The Benefits Of Probiotics
In every healthy digestive system, there is a balance. Probiotics help to achieve that balance. There are many reasons a digestive system becomes unbalanced. These include illness, taking antibiotics, a poor diet, or an overgrowth of bad bacteria. Gastrointestinal problems can result from such an imbalance.
More research on probiotics is needed. However, there is evidence that:
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How Do Probiotics Work
The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral. When you are sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better.
Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also:
- Help your body digest food.
- Keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick.
- Create vitamins.
- Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed from entering your blood.
- Breakdown and absorb medications.
This balancing act is naturally happening in your body all of the time. You dont actually need to take probiotic supplements to make it happen. Good bacteria is just a natural part of your body. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber every day helps to keep the number of good bacteria at proper levels.