Probiotics are popping up everywhere today, and have become very popular, almost trendy, on social media, television, and health blogs. When we see these blog posts about probiotics, typically we only see an adult in the photo. But what about kids…are probiotics beneficial for kids too? Before we discuss that, let’s do a quick refresher on what probiotics are, and why they are helpful.
Probiotics are live microorganisms in certain yeasts, essentially beneficial bacteria – that are believed to be good for overall health, specifically, the digestive system. The basic idea with probiotics is that they can restore the relative population of good gut flora, which promotes optimal health (Radhakrishnan, 2016).
There are many different types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics, but they usually come from these two main groups: lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus is probably the most common, and is found in yogurt. Different strains can help with diarrhea and people who can’t digest lactose. Bifidobacterium, on the other hand, can be found in some dairy products, and can also help with diarrhea and other digestive problems (Web MD, 2014). Now, are these helpful for kids?
It’s been shown over the course of years of microbiome research that a well-rounded microbiome is key in human health — not just for adults, but for kids to achieve healthy growth too. Probiotics add another layer of good microorganisms to the existing good ones (Lazzerini, 2013). While they can’t cure everything, that are still very beneficial for adults and children alike. How specifically can they help your child? They can help relieve constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea, and gas. For children, we recommend trying Kid’s Kyo-Dophilus, which provides one billion cells of L. gasseri, B. bifidum, and B. longum for digestion and immune health. Before jumping in to a probiotics regimen though, we encourage discussing this with your child’s pediatrician.
If you are wary of your child taking a supplement, don’t worry! Probiotics are naturally found in quite a few foods. One of the best sources of probiotics is yogurt! Just make sure that the label says “live or active cultures.” Some other foods that contain probiotics are sauerkraut, pickles, and soft cheeses.
You are what you eat! So make sure to introduce gut-healthy foods in your child’s diet, consider starting them on a probiotic, and keep that microbiome healthy!
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.