Are Probiotics Safe For Kids Heres What You Need To Know
You may have passed them in the health food aisle at your local grocery store or seen a reference to them in your favorite healthy living blog probiotics.
Many adults use these supplements to help regulate their digestive systems. Some claim that probiotics can help with conditions like eczema and even yeast infections.
But probiotics dont always work the same for children.
Probiotics are useful for keeping your digestive tract healthy, says Dr. Joy Drass, pediatrician at Geisinger Port Matilda. But its important to know which probiotics you can give to your child, since they may not work the same way they do in adults.
Improve Mental Health And Reduce Stress
One of the most important revelations about the benefits of probiotics is the role they play in the gut-brain connection. This is the direct line of communication between the brain and enteric nervous system. Its been found that this communication is what links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain to your peripheral intestinal function.
Researchers have shown that many mental disorders or behavioral problems can be linked to poor gut bacteria. Digestive discomfort caused by an imbalance of gut bacteria or poor digestion can contribute to poor mental health.
In the same way, sensitivity to gastrointestinal irritation can cause signals to the central nervous system that influence mood. Its been found that people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome tend to have higher rates of sympathetic nervous system function and lower rates of parasympathetic function. This could explain the reason that IBS sufferers are more prone to stress.
The good news is that probiotics appear to alleviate symptoms of mental distress and anxiety by reducing the inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This, in turn, helps to downregulate the hormones that activate sympathetic nervous system function .
What Is Your Gut Microbiome
If you have unexplained stomach trouble, allergies, or fatigue, you might have problems with your gut microbiome. You have a delicate ecosystem of microorganisms in your gut that helps maintain wellness. If your microbiome is unbalanced, your health may suffer. Add probiotics to your diet to support gut health.
Your gut consists of many of your internal organs. It includes the whole length of your digestive system. This system breaks down food and processes it into forms that your body can use as energy.
The digestive system contains trillions of helpful bacteria. These make up your gut microbiome. Your microorganisms feed on sugars and fibers in your diet and make it easier to process foods. It would be best if you had a combination of microorganisms for optimal gut health. An imbalance in your gut microbiome can lead to health problems.
Research links gut function to overall immune function. Your gut removes waste material as well as harmful microorganisms like viruses or disease-causing bacteria from your body. If the gut isn’t working efficiently, it may limit immune function or trigger reactions to substances that linger in your system.
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Probiotics Can Help Prevent And Treat Diarrhea
Probiotics are widely known for their ability to prevent diarrhea or reduce its severity.
Diarrhea is a common side effect of taking antibiotics. It occurs because antibiotics can negatively affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut (
A review of 15 human studies found supplementing with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains for 12 months can improve anxiety, depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and memory .
One study followed 70 chemical workers for 6 weeks. Those who consumed 100 grams of probiotic yogurt per day or took a daily probiotic capsule experienced benefits for general health, depression, anxiety and stress .
Benefits were also seen in a study of 40 patients with depression.
Taking probiotic supplements for 8 weeks decreased depression levels and reduced levels of C-reactive protein and hormones such as insulin, compared to people who did not take a probiotic .
Research shows taking probiotics may help improve symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress and memory, among others.
Boosts Immunity And Decreases Inflammation
Probiotics are still in the process of being studied, particularly regarding their role in immunity. But when they are used in conjunction with prebiotics, probiotics show a lot of promise in this area of health.
When they are used together, scientists call pro and prebiotics synbiotics. One study found that probiotics may have potential for preventing a large range of immunity-related diseases that are caused by inflammation.
Because inflammation leads to many diseases and health issues, the fact that probiotics can decrease inflammation in the gut is critical. Probiotics have shown themselves to be particularly helpful in improving the quality of life for seniors, and they may even help protect against the common cold or flu.
Additionally, research is currently being done to see if probiotics can improve inflammation in the gut for patients with HIV who have yet to undergo any treatment.
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Protect Against Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotics may be needed to help the body fight infections, but they can disrupt the gut environment. Antibiotics often decrease the variety of good bacteria in the gut, which can reduce their ability to fight against other disease-causing microbes.
Sometimes, harmful bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics which is a real threat to treatment. Some strains of Lactobacillus bacteria have been shown to protect against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , an infection resistant to several common antibiotics.
Protects Against Food Allergies
The prevalence of food allergies has continued to multiply over the past decade, and research suggests that changes in intestinal flora might contribute to this. But modifying gut microbiota with probiotics may alleviate food allergies and intolerances, and help restore one’s ability to eat a triggering food.
Infants born without diverse gut bacteria have a higher chance of developing allergies during their first two years of life. Because probiotics help reduce chronic gut inflammation and regulate immune responses, they can help alleviate food allergies as well.
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They Don’t Hang Out In Your Gut For Very Long
When you nosh or swallow a probiotic, it doesn’t take up permanent residence in your intestinal ecosystem with the bacteria that’s there already, says Hutkins. It might help crowd out a microorganism that’s making you sick , but it eventually just passes through the gut. That’s why it’s impossible to take too many you’ll just poop them out. This in-and-out nature also means that if you’re aiming for a health benefit, you need to ingest them almost daily.
The Benefits Of Probiotics For Women
We know at least 70 percent of the immune system can be found in the gut, where good bacteria called probiotics work to keep things in balance and support digestive and immune health. This is true at every age and every stage of life, for both men and women, but what you may not realize is that women have unique needs when it comes to supporting internal balance.
The female body and its microbiomethe vast collection of microorganisms in the digestive tract and elsewhere that works to promote overall healthis decidedly different from that of its male counterpart. For women, understanding that difference is an essential part of maintaining a healthy gut bacteria balance and staying on the path to wellness.
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Boosts The Immune System
The immune system has a vital role in the body, as it protects us from harmful substances, germs and cell changes that could make us ill. Research has found that probiotics may help give your immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Another study found that certain probiotic strains can improve the outcome of intestinal infections by reducing the duration of diarrhea.
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Some Probiotics May Aid Weight Loss
If your goal is to lose weight, stocking up on probiotics but not just any probiotics might help. Research suggests some strains may contribute to fat loss, while others may be linked to weight gain.
One 2013 study linked 12-week supplementation of the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri with an 8.5 percent belly fat reduction.
A 2014 study also found that women with obesity who took Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplements for 12 weeks lost significantly more weight than those who didnt take a probiotic. But the supplement didnt have a notable effect on the weight of the men in the study.
In a 2015 study, participants who drank fermented milk supplemented with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 for 1 week seemed to absorb less fat and excrete more fat in their poop than those who drank plain fermented milk.
But some 2012 research also found that Lactobacillus acidophilus led to weight gain.
The TL DR: We need more research to explore the role of probiotics in weight loss, but there seems to be a link.
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Manufacturer Reputation & Transparency
Some supplement companies have produced high-quality probiotics for over a decade, giving them a leg up on the competition. Others are new to the sector, introducing formulas in response to current trends. We werent anti-startup, but we did prefer manufacturers with solid transparency and a proven history of producing quality supplements.
Optimize Gut Function By Balancing The Bacteria In Your Digestive System
Keeping the gut microbiome balanced allows for normal gut function, while some changes to the gut bacteria can lead to problems. Probiotics can help maintain the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and help repopulate with healthy bacteria after conditions that disturbed the microbiome.
For example, taking antibiotics kills off many of your good gut bacteria. This leaves room for bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi to overgrow. Taking a probiotic during and after antibiotics is a must for sustained health.
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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.
How Probiotics Are Good For You
They might lower the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause illness or inflammation. They can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.
Researchers are studying when and how probiotics might best help. There’s more research for some illnesses than others. They might help people with:
- Diarrhea, especially when it’s linked to specific antibiotics. Probiotics also might help with infectious diarrhea, especially in children.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some probiotics might keep ulcerative colitis in remission and prevent Crohn’s disease from relapsing and getting worse.
- Irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics also are being studied for many other conditions. There isnât as much research yet, but some people say that probiotics have helped them with:
- Decreasing inflammation, such as from rheumatoid arthritis
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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.
Maintain And Restore Bone Health
Our beneficial bacteria restore and maintain our intestinal health. This allows our gut with its billions of probiotics to properly sort through what we ingest and absorb all the nutrients we need and excrete any waste. Probiotics assist our body in getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain bone health, also in old age.
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Tips For Incorporating More Probiotics Into Your Diet
1. Add probiotic-rich foods to your diet.
There are many probiotic-rich foods that you can add to your diet to get more probiotics. Some of the best options include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and natto.
2. Take a probiotic supplement.
If youre not getting enough probiotics from your diet, you can also take a supplement. Look for a product that contains live and active cultures and make sure to take it regularly.
3. Eat more prebiotic-rich foods.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that helps feed the good bacteria in your gut. Some of the best prebiotic-rich foods include bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, and asparagus.
4. Get more exercise.
Exercise is important for overall health, but it can also help boost the good bacteria in your gut. Studies have shown that people who are more active have higher levels of probiotics in their gut.
5. Reduce stress.
Chronic stress can have a negative impact on gut health, so its important to find ways to reduce stress in your life. Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing are all great ways to do this.
6. Limit your intake of sugar and processed foods.
Sugar and processed foods can feed the bad bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation. To keep your gut healthy, limit your intake of these types of foods.
7. Quit smoking.
Smoking is detrimental to gut health, so quitting is one of the best things you can do for your gut bacteria. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about ways to make it easier.
8. Get enough sleep.
Is It Safe To Take Probiotics Daily
For healthy individuals, probiotics have a long history of being safe and beneficial to use daily. Thats because most probiotic supplements typically use the same microbes that already exist naturally in the human gut.
The risk is greater for people with severe medical conditions or who are immunocompromised as supplementation. If you have a severe medical condition or are immunocompromised, please consult with your healthcare practitioner before you start using a probiotic supplement.
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Benefits Of Taking Probiotics At Night
In case you want a refresher, probiotics are good micro organism thought to spice up the well being of your microbiome, or the steadiness of micro organism, fungi, and viruses that lives in your intestines. The difficult factor about probiotics is that they do not keep in your intestine for very lengthy. Due to that, taking your probiotics at a sure time can really make them more practical. The best time to take probiotics is correct earlier than mattress as a result of the intestine is fairly inactive at night time. Even if you happen to toss again nutritional vitamins or different medicine within the morning , you must nonetheless take your probiotics at nighttime. The underside line: One of the best time to take a probiotic is mostly at nighttime earlier than mattress.
Probiotics And Lactose Intolerance
People with lactose intolerance can often consume yogurt with few symptoms because of the probiotics it contains. These probiotics help digest the lactose in the small intestine before it reaches the colon. In addition, the yogurt starter cultures Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus help break down the lactose. Yogurt is a good way for people with lactose intolerance to consume the recommended servings of dairy without experiencing uncomfortable symptoms.
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Are Probiotics Necessary
Depending on your personal health history, you may not necessarily need probiotics in your daily diet. That said, certain conditions do benefits from regular use. Any condition that impacts your gut microbiome, such as irritable bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome . Likewise, if you find that youre showing signs of digestive distress, such as diarrhea, constipation, etc., you may find that taking a quality probiotic may offer some relief.
Risks And Side Effects
All probiotics arent created equally. Not all strains have beneficial effects, and its important to do your research before starting a new supplement.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates products with probiotics in different ways , however not all products are guaranteed to be of high quality.
As always, if you have an existing medical condition, all new supplement regimens should be conducted under the supervision of a medical professional. This is especially important if youre immunocompromised.
Probiotic side effects can sometimes include bloating, flatulence and diarrhea if you take too much too fast. You can start off with a smaller amount, like one tablespoon of kefir or one probiotic capsule a day, and work your way up if youre just getting into eating probiotic foods or taking dietary supplements.
One very rare side effect of probiotics seen in cancer patients is sepsis. This is an extremely rare occurrence.
Overall, according to the FDA, studies have found that probiotics are associated with very few probiotics side effects and a large number of benefits.
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