Now that the holidays are in the rear view mirror, it's time to get back into the swing of everyday life.
And if you’re a parent, that means sending the kiddos back to school. But, along with gearing up for the return of pop quizzes and homework, kids are also facing a growing “tripledemic” of Covid, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). While you can’t provide your child with total protection, there are plenty of ways to help them sidestep catching a virus in the classroom.
Protect With Probiotics
When you think about kids and bacteria, you probably think about those nasty infectious germs that cause illness. But, while some harmful types of bacteria can make your little ones sick, there are trillions of good bacteria in the gut microbiome that help protect them from harmful pathogens. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that provide health benefits when consumed by enhancing the total number and variety of good bacterial and fungal species in the microbiome. And since the microbiome houses at least 70 percent of your child’s immune system, the more diverse the bacteria in their gut, the stronger their defenses will be.
While your child may get some probiotics from the foods they eat, they probably won’t get large enough quantities to effect a change in health. Fortunately, a daily probiotic supplement not only strengthens their immune systems, it can also ease a number of issues common to kids.
Calm Gastrointestinal Discomfort
All kids get stomachaches every now and then. And just like adults, an imbalance in the microbiome is often to blame. But that doesn’t mean that they have to suffer the unpleasant consequences. Next time your youngster has a bout of the belly blues, try a probiotic supplement to relieve symptoms such as diarrhea. A meta-analysis published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences found that taking probiotics, along with drinking plenty of water, shortened the duration of diarrhea in children over five years old by about a day.1 And that day could make the all difference in whether they return to the classroom on time or not. Better yet, you can give your child a probiotic as a preventive treatment since they’ve been shown to also help prevent serious GI issues in the first place.2
When children get sick, they’re often prescribed antibiotics. While the antibiotics take out the harmful bacterial intruders that caused illness, they aren’t effective against viruses. What’s more, antibiotics can have a number of unpleasant side effects, such as stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea. But probiotics can alleviate these side effects. In a review of 23 studies including nearly 400 children, researchers found that taking a probiotic at the same time as antibiotics reduced the risk of diarrhea by more than 50 percent.3 However, because probiotics are bacteria themselves, they can be killed off by the antibiotics if taken at the same time. That’s why it’s a good idea to take antibiotics and probiotics a few hours apart. And don’t stop just because the antibiotic course is done. One study showed that probiotics can restore the microbiota to its original state after taking antibiotics.4
Relieve Respiratory Tract Infections
Although every child is different, most babies, toddlers, and preschoolers get about seven or eight infections a year, according to the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center. Fortunately, probiotics can help relieve respiratory tract infections (RTIs) and even prevent them. Results of a meta-analysis of over six thousand children showed that probiotic consumption significantly decreased the number of RTI episodes.5 The kids who supplemented with probiotics experienced less severe symptoms compared to those who took a placebo. They also had fewer numbers of days absent from school or day care.
Probiotics can also help with other, non-infectious respiratory problems. Studies show that a daily dose may reduce rhinitis symptoms in patients with allergic airway disease.6
Soothe Skin Issues
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, itchy skin. It’s fairly common in children, typically appearing between the first 3 and 6 months of a newborn’s life.7 While the exact cause of AD isn’t known, probiotics have been shown to help manage symptoms.8 But don’t rely on a single-strain supplement to counteract your child’s skin woes. Data from a recent study indicate that probiotic mixtures are much more effective at reducing the risk of atopic dermatitis onset in children.9
Is There a Probiotic Supplement for Kids?
Yes! Kyo-Dolphilus Kids Probiotic is a probiotic supplement specifically designed for a child’s microbiome. Clinically shown to safely support a healthy GI tract, each dose boasts a proprietary blend of Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum—also known as the Friendly Trio. Plus, Kyo-Dophilus Kids Probiotic comes in a tasty chewable tablet so you can be sure that your child is getting an effective boost. But as always, speak with your child’s pediatrician to determine if probiotics are a good fit.
Probiotics are a great way to get your child off on the right foot in 2023. A daily probiotic supplement can fortify their immune system against the bugs that abound this time of year. As a bonus, they also help alleviate symptoms if they do get sick so they can get back to being a kid again.
- Huang JS. Efficacy of Probiotic Use in Acute Diarrhea in Children: A Meta-Analysis. Dig Dis Sci. 2002;47:2625–34.
- Skórka A. To add or not to add probiotics to infant formulae? An updated systematic review. Benef Microbes. 2017;8(5):71 –25.
- Goldenberg JZ. Probiotics for the prevention of pediatric antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(12):CD004827.
- McFarland LV. Use of probiotics to correct dysbiosis of normal microbiota following disease or disruptive events: a systematic review. BMJ Open. 2014;4(8):e005047.
- Wang Y. Probiotics for prevention and treatment of respiratory tract infections in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(31):e4509.
- Chen N. A Meta-Analysis of Probiotics for the Treatment of Allergic Airway Diseases in Children and Adolescents. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy. 2022;36(4):480–90.
- Silverberg JI. Atopic dermatitis in the pediatric population: A cross-sectional, international epidemiologic study. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2021;126(4):417–28.e2.
- Gerasimov SV. Probiotic Supplement Reduces Atopic Dermatitis in Preschool Children. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2010;11:351–61.
- Amalia N. Systematic review and meta-analysis on the use of probiotic supplementation in pregnant mother, breastfeeding mother and infant for the prevention of atopic dermatitis in children. Australas J Dermatol. 2020;61:e158–73.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.