How Do They Work
Researchers are trying to figure out exactly how probiotics work. Some of the ways they may keep you healthy:
- When you lose “good” bacteria in your body, for example after you take antibiotics, probiotics can help replace them.
- They can help balance your “good” and “bad” bacteria to keep your body working the way it should.
How Can You Give Probiotics To Infants
Probiotics are available in the liquid and powder form, both of which are easy to give to the child. The supplements in the liquid form can be mixed into the regular diet of the child, be it breast milk or solid food. It can also be given to the child directly. If the supplement is in the powdered form, you can dip your finger in it and make your child suck the powder off your finger. This also ensures that the supplement is absorbed by the body instantly.
Probiotics And Gut Health
The best case for probiotic therapy has been in the treatment of diarrhea. Controlled trials have shown that Lactobacillus GG can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children . Although studies are limited and data are inconsistent, two large reviews, taken together, suggest that probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%, when compared with a placebo.
More common than diarrhea is the opposite problem constipation. In a search for studies on the benefits of probiotics in treating constipation, researchers found that probiotics slowed “gut transit time” by 12.4 hours, increases the number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3, and helped to soften stools, making them easier to pass. But the jury is still out on specific recommendations when it comes to the benefits of
Probiotic therapy may also help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical trial results are mixed, but several small studies suggest that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of ulcerative colitis and prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease and the recurrence of pouchitis . Because these disorders are so frustrating to treat, many people are giving probiotics a try before all the evidence is in for the particular strains they’re using. More research is needed to find out which strains work best for what conditions.
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Can I Use Probiotics To Help With Medical Conditions
There is currently a large amount of research happening around the idea of what probiotics can do for your body. Even though there are a lot of possibly positive outcomes, researchers are still working to find definitive answers about how probiotics can help with various conditions.
However, there are some medical conditions where probiotics may help. This can vary between people meaning that what works for one person may not work for another. These can also vary based on the certain probiotic that is taken.
Some of the conditions that might be helped by increasing the amount of probiotics in your body include:
- Upper respiratory infections .
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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How Can Probiotics Help
During infancy, the foundations for a babys gut microbiome are still being laid. The microbes introduced at this stage play a key role in the development of the gut eco-system.Probiotics can be used to add good bacteria to your babys gut, promote the growth of important native bacteria, prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, and maintain an overall healthy digestive system. Certain probiotic species, such as L. reuteri, have been shown to have a direct effect in the reduction of crying and fussing time in colicky babies.Prebiotics are dietary fibers that feed the good gut bacteria, providing the nutrients they need to continue supporting your babys healthy digestion. They help the bacteria help your newborn!
Probiotics Can Help Reduce Symptoms Of Certain Digestive Disorders
Over one million people in the US suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease .
Certain types of probiotics from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains have improved symptoms in people with mild ulcerative colitis .
Surprisingly, one study found that supplementing with the probiotic E. coli Nissle was just as effective as drugs in maintaining remission in people with ulcerative colitis (
Nevertheless, probiotics may have benefits for other bowel disorders. Early research suggests they may help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome .
They have also been shown to reduce the risk of severe necrotizing enterocolitis by 50%. This is a fatal bowel condition that occurs in premature infants .
Probiotics may help reduce the symptoms of bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis, IBS and necrotizing enterocolitis.
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Natural Exposure To Good Bacteria For Infants
The gut microbiome is a very fragile internal ecosystem, and it is well established that the groundwork for a robust gut starts at birth.
There are three main ways that an infants microbiome is populated during and shortly after birth:
Safety And Side Effects
It is generally believed that probiotics are safe to use.
Side effects are mild and include gas, bloating, and minor abdominal discomfort. These are the result of increased activity in the intestines and usually resolve within a few days as the body gets used to new probiotic bacteria.
There isnt much research regarding the use of probiotics if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. That is why it might be cautious to stay away from probiotics during this period.
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How Popular Are Probiotics
The 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days. Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals. The use of probiotics by adults quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. The 2012 NHIS also showed that 300,000 children age 4 to 17 had used probiotics or prebiotics in the 30 days before the survey.
Health Benefits Of Probiotics
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Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements .
More and more studies show that the balance or imbalance of bacteria in your digestive system is linked to overall health and disease.
Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria and have been linked to a wide range of health benefits.
These include benefits for weight loss, digestive health, immune function and more (
This is an overview of the key health benefits linked to probiotics.
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Why Is The Daily Recommended Dose Higher For L Reuteri Osfortis Than For Other Biogaia Probiotic Products
The dose is based on the results from clinical trials, i.e., the dose that has been shown to be efficient in clinical trials for this specific indication. The clinical trial by Nilsson et al. 20181 showed significantly reduced bone loss in older women with low bone mineral density at a dose of 10 billion CFU of L. reuteri ATCC PTA 6475 per day. Therefore, the recommended daily dose of Osfortis is 10 billion CFU/day.
1. Nilsson AG, Sundh D, Bäckhed F, Lorentzon M. Lactobacillus reuteri reduces bone loss in older women with low bone mineral density a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial. J Intern Med. 284:307-317. doi: 10.1111/joim.12805
When Can You Introduce Probiotics To Your Child
Probiotics can be introduced to children from an early age, as they do not have any harmful effects on the child. However, they are not necessary for children whose diet only consists of breast milk. Only after the child starts on a diet of solid food, probiotics are usually given. This is because the exposure of the child to the environment is higher, thus putting the child at risk of being attacked by dangerous microorganisms. Still, your child might be getting enough of friendly bacteria from normal food items, like yoghurt and vegetables. Probiotics are introduced earlier to children if they have been given antibiotics constantly. This is because those medicines usually remove the bacteria which have colonized the gut, making your intestinal tract gullible to infections and attacks.
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Should I Give My Baby Probiotics Everyday
This one is a resounding, yes! As with any healthy habit, consistency is key. Youll want to be sure to give them to your baby every day. Otherwise, they wont work as efficiently. And, if you stop giving them entirely, the probiotics benefits may subside over time. Youll also need to practice a bit of patience when you start probiotic usage like any supplement, they need time to start working.
Interactions With Other Supplements And Medications
Antibiotics are taken to treat bacterial infections. This means that they work against pathogenic bacteria, but at the same time they also kill off probiotic bacteria.
If you are taking probiotics during antibiotic treatment, you need to ensure that there is at least a 2 hour gap between probiotic and antibiotic .
This way you will ensure that at least some amount of probiotic bacteria survives and grows in your intestines.
Antifungal medications are used for treating fungal infections .
Some probiotic supplements contain yeast, called Saccharomyces Boulardii. If you are taking antifungal medications, they will reduce the effectiveness of your probiotic.
Antifungal medications include:
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Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
Learning About The Microbiome
The community of microorganisms that lives on us and in us is called the âmicrobiome,â and itâs a hot topic for research. The Human Microbiome Project, supported by the National Institutes of Health from 2007 to 2016, played a key role in this research by mapping the normal bacteria that live in and on the healthy human body. With this understanding of a normal microbiome as the basis, researchers around the world, including many supported by NIH, are now exploring the links between changes in the microbiome and various diseases. Theyâre also developing new therapeutic approaches designed to modify the microbiome to treat disease and support health.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is among the many agencies funding research on the microbiome. Researchers supported by NCCIH are studying the interactions between components of food and microorganisms in the digestive tract. The focus is on the ways in which diet-microbiome interactions may lead to the production of substances with beneficial health effects.
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What Is Probiotic Used For
In medicine, we are typically trying to treat bad bacteria with an antibiotic, so it is hard to imagine that a bacteria is good for us. All of us have good bacteria in our digestive tract that is necessary for proper digestion. Sometimes our good bacteria gets depleted, for example, when we get a stomach bug or use an antibiotic. This can lead to diarrhea and poor digestion. Taking a probiotic replenishes our good bacteria, re-establishing an important balance and promoting good digestion.
We now know that this good bacteria also plays an important part in the immune system. As we do more research, we are understanding the importance of the gut in establishing a strong immune system, and its potential role in helping with the symptoms of asthma, allergies, and even diabetes.
Mommys Bliss Probiotic Drops
Why its great: The packaging for this probiotic is one of my favorite things about it. Sure it has an excellent strand of probiotic thats proven to improve gut health too, but let me tell you about the dropper. So, most infant probiotics tell you to administer a certain amount of drops, but it can often be hard to know if youre giving your baby the correct amount. And, sometimes its difficult to get the drops out at all . The dropper that comes in this bottle of probiotics has a black line on it, so you know exactly where to draw the liquid up to.
Mommys Bliss is an excellent woman-owned and woman-run company. Because of this, they understand the needs of mommas. With this easy to use product, you know you are giving your baby what they need, from age newborn and up.
Keep in mind: This product should not exceed temperatures above 77, so you will want to store it accordingly.
Good for: Newborn babies, as the product is safe for babies from day one.
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Why Might An Infant Need Additional Probiotics
The digestive system of an infant is delicate and certain experiences, such as the use of antibiotics during delivery, can wipe out the healthy bacteria in an infants gut. An imbalance of good and bad bacteria can cause a number of symptoms that can be distressing to both parents and baby:
- Bowel issues including diarrhea and constipation
- Asthma and allergies
- Acne and eczema
- Upper respiratory infections
Probiotics serve to assist the body in remedying and/or preventing these symptoms by activating the immune system.
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.
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Nordic Naturals Babys Nordic Flora Probiotic Powder
Why its great: This one is the least expensive and it comes in powder packets that are easy to use. Each packet is the correct dosage, so you dont have to worry about measuring out the right amount. It has 4 billion CFU and contains 2 strains of probiotics that are proven to help with digestive health. This probiotic is also completely odorless and tasteless, which means its also easier to get your child to take it.You get 30 doses with this box and it is best for babies and toddlers 6 months to 3 years old.
Keep in mind: This one is for 6 months and up, so youll need to find something else to use for newborns.
Good for: Parents that want a good quality probiotic on a budget.
Development And Composition Of Gut Microflora
Colonization of an infants intestine begins immediately after birth. Type of delivery, the infant diet and other factors, such as environment, gestational age and the presence of antibiotics, influence the composition of gut microflora. Because bifidobacteria and galacto-oligosaccharides are components of breast milk, the flora of breastfed infants contain more lactobacilli and bifidobacteria than the flora of formula-fed infants. Once solid food is introduced into the diet, the composition of a childs intestinal microflora begins to resemble the adult flora.
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