Does my child need probiotics is a common question asked by parents before they give them out

Does my child need probiotics or not?

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about whether kids need probiotics or not.

Asking the question ‘does my child need probiotics for their gut health or medical condition?’ is becoming more relevant in today’s climate due to diet and lifestyle affecting our youth.

The right probiotics for kids are essential, but many parents don’t realize this until it’s too late and their child has developed digestive issues.

A lot of people believe children should take probiotics because they need them too much than adults do due to their weaker immune system and still-developing digestive system which makes it hard for them to fight off the infection on their own.

However, there are some cases with cases in which children should not take probiotics. It is recommended that you ask a paediatrician or a doctor before giving your kids any kind of supplements, especially when it comes to these supplements because they’re a huge responsibility and need to be dealt with carefully.

Should kids take probiotics?

There are many factors that can affect the health of your child, but probiotics may be one way to help. Probiotics are living microorganisms that are naturally present in some foods and also available as dietary supplements or medicines.

These friendly bacteria produce substances called “bacteriocins” which kill harmful bacteria in the intestine, thus maintaining a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria.  

It is important for children to have a balanced intestinal flora since their immune system is not fully developed at birth. Having proper gut flora will provide protection against pathogens in our environment, including organisms responsible for food poisoning, diarrhoea, candida Albicans infections, eczema etc.

Children who suffer from chronic illnesses such as asthma or allergies need probiotics more since their immune system is compromised due to their illness.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play a crucial role in our body’s ability to maintain proper cells function.

Children who eat diets rich in processed foods need probiotics because not only will they be missing out on vital nutrients, they are also receiving synthetic or inferior quality amino acids needed for growth.

How do I know if my child needs probiotics or not

You may be wondering if your child needs probiotics. It’s a good question and one that many parents ask themselves when their children are feeling sick or not acting like themselves.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain the balance of microorganisms in our gut.

They can promote healthy digestion, improve immune system function, and even prevent certain diseases. Probiotics come in the form of food supplements or live cultures in yogurt or other fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh etc.).

As you might imagine with any supplement there is always some risk (an allergic reaction) but also potential benefits (in this case for digestive health). So how do I know if my child needs probiotics?

The answer to that question is different for each child depending on their specific health needs and dietary preferences.

Should kids take probiotics for their gut health
Should kids take probiotics for their gut health?

When should my child start taking probiotics?

Probiotics can be beneficial for children suffering from colic, diarrhoea, constipation, yeast infections (vaginal or oral), eczema, allergy symptoms such as a stuffy nose and itchy eyes, and irritability.

So if your child has any of these health issues then he or she may benefit from probiotic supplements.

If your child is suffering from chronic digestive problems such as colic, diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal pain etc., then you might want to try giving them a daily probiotic supplement for about 1 to 2 weeks.

If you are seeing improvements, then continue with the supplements for another week or two before stopping them. Make sure your child finishes the entire bottle to ensure all of the bacteria have been fully ingested.

Some studies show that it can take up to 2 months for certain strains of probiotics to establish themselves in their new environment, so don’t give up if you don’t see a change right away.

If your child is suffering from one or two digestive problems and you were advised to try probiotics by their health care provider, then I would recommend starting with a daily dose of Bacillus Coagulans.

This strain has been studied extensively for its positive effects on the digestive system. You can find this supplement in health food stores, but make sure it is refrigerated to maintain the live bacteria.

It comes in powder form making it easy for children to mix with food or drink (try applesauce or yogurt).

What are the benefits of probiotics for kids?

Researchers are still learning about all of the benefits and mechanisms of probiotics. Probiotics may aid in digestion, the prevention of infectious disorders, and even the maintenance of a healthy weight.

Probiotics can also help reduce the risk of allergies in infants by strengthening their immune systems.

There is evidence that using probiotics regularly can prevent colds and flu by suppressing the growth of viruses. Some studies also show that probiotics help treat eczema, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, colitis, certain types of diarrhoea, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Children who have certain types of cancers or conditions that affect their immune system, such as leukaemia may also benefit from probiotics if they are able to tolerate them.

In addition, research is looking into the role probiotics may play in preventing and treating obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

According to several research studies, probiotics can aid children with digestive disorders like:

  • Constipation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Diarrhoea caused by an infection

Other research, on the other hand, claims that probiotics have no effect. This, according to Dr Sanghavi, is due to each child’s unique microbiota.

“The microbiome is unique for each individual, almost like a fingerprint. Most probiotics contain strains of lactobacillus, but there are many different types that may or may not exist in your gut.”

Dr Sanghavi

Probiotics, according to Dr Sanghavi, may help if they contain the correct bacteria strains for your child’s gut; otherwise, they may have no impact.

Are probiotics safe for children?

With the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, probiotics have been gaining more attention in recent years. Probiotics can be found in many food sources such as yogurt and fermented foods like kombucha, but they are also available through supplements.

In fact, a study from 2015 showed that one out of five children take their parents’ probiotic supplement without knowing what it is for. For all these reasons, this article will explore whether or not it is safe to give a child a probiotic supplement.

When would my child need a probiotic supplement?

If your child has been sick for a long time, has digestive problems, or is on antibiotics, now might be a good time to add a probiotic supplement into their daily regimen. Keep in mind that the health advantages of probiotics vary depending on the strain (meaning a specific type of bacteria must be present in a specific quantity).

Probiotic supplements have also not been demonstrated to be totally safe for immunocompromised people (e.g. premature babies).

Before giving your newborn or child any probiotic supplements, always consult a doctor or dietician. They can assist you in determining the finest one to take in specific circumstances.

Let’s go over some of the most common instances in which a probiotic for a baby or toddler is recommended.

After a round of antibiotics

Antibiotics, for example, can disrupt the gut’s balance by removing all bacteria, not just the toxic ones. This reduces the body’s ability to defend itself against germs and unwelcome foreign elements (intruders!) – putting your children at risk for antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, for example.

In these situations, a probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii is frequently advised to avoid antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.

While most probiotics should be taken after taking antibiotics (to avoid being harmed by the drug), one variety called Florastor can be used while taking antibiotics.

Acute diarrhoea which is not related to antibiotic use

Your child may get diarrhoea for a variety of causes (most likely due to a viral or bacterial infection).

When children take probiotics including Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii, research has shown that stool frequency and length of diarrhoea are reduced (by roughly one day).

Constipation

Although some studies have shown that Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis was more helpful than placebo in improving the frequency of bowel movements in adults and children with functional constipation, the effects of probiotics on constipation are being discussed all the time.

Eczema

It’s been discovered that the sort of bacteria found in the intestines of people with eczema differs from those who don’t (such as lower bifidobacteria presence with eczema). While the research isn’t conclusive, supplementing with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has shown promise in reducing the severity of eczema.

Abdominal pain

L. reuteri DSM 17938 has been demonstrated to lessen the severity of functional abdominal pain (which may or may not be linked with diarrhoea, constipation, or bloating) (and some studies show Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG can have benefits as well).

Colic

Lactobacillus reuteri 17938, a specific bacterial strain, has been linked to fewer crying spells in exclusively breastfed newborns, according to research.

Protection against common infectious diseases

While a general probiotic isn’t necessary in most cases (especially when eating a diet rich in probiotic foods, as explained in the next section), you can help protect your child against common infectious diseases like upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, stomach flu, and more by giving them a probiotic supplement.

Remember, this isn’t a guarantee…but using certain broad probiotics may help prevent and treat upper respiratory, bacterial, and viral illnesses.

Can probiotics cause side effects in children?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or test probiotics, so it’s uncertain whether they produce side effects like gas, constipation, or diarrhoea.

Whether your child has these symptoms after starting probiotics, you should stop taking them and see if the symptoms go away.

What are the best sources of probiotics?

I would recommend trying to get your child’s probiotics from food rather than supplements. Foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and other fermented foods are good sources of probiotics.

For children who don’t like any of these foods or who have trouble chewing solid foods, then a daily probiotic supplement is the way to go.

As far as which brand of probiotic is the best one, it’s hard to say. I do know that to maintain a healthy balance in your gut flora, you need a product that has several different strains of bacteria in it. You want a product that contains bifidobacterium and lactobacillus.

Final thoughts

Does my child need probiotics?

Probiotics may also help with conditions such as eczema and improve their overall health. Children who suffer from this condition are more sensitive to allergens in the environment, so anything that can be done to strengthen their immune system makes them less likely to break out in rashes when exposed to different types of food or the environment.

When choosing a probiotic supplement for your child, look at certain factors such as potency, strains and number of CFU (colony forming units). Also, make sure that it is free from sugar and colour additives.

Please note that the best time to give your child probiotics is in the morning before breakfast since this will help support their immune system during the day.


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