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Children suffer from many infections. They may be young, but they live an active lifestyle in their early stages when they are at home, day-care, or even the park. For this reason why come in contact with bacteria every day. Infections can have a harsh impact on a children's health. Research has shown that probiotics have benefits for certain illnesses in children. For example, probiotics prevent diarrhoea in children who are taking antibiotics. Some studies recommend probiotics for children with constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. There is some developing line of studies that suggest that probiotics may help to treat eczema in kids.


What are Probiotics? 

Probiotics are "good" bacteria that keep our stomachs healthy. As humans, both "good" and "bad" bacteria live in our stomachs. These bacteria exist specifically in our gut, and they are over a billion in number. Unfortunately, we often do certain things that reduce the number of good bacteria in our bodies. When this happens, we feel sick because the number of good bacteria in our body is not enough to fight the bad ones. So, taking probiotics reinforces good bacteria into our body to fight the bad ones that affect us. Probiotics also help to strengthen our immune system. When we take probiotics, we help our body to produce antibodies to fight off harmful organisms that make us sick. These good bacteria prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and eating the linings of our intestines.  

Some Probiotics strains that are especially good for kids are those in the class of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus and Bifidobacterium. So, if you are buying probiotics for your kids, you should look out for those with any of these names. Examples are "Lactobacillus paracasei" or "Bifidobacterium animali"

Recommended product: Jamieson Children's Natural Cherry Flavored Probiotics Chewable Tablets

How Can I Get Probiotics For My Kids?

Probiotics supplements are available in powders, tablets, capsules and gel capsules. Due to their health benefits for children, they are manufactured into chewable fun tablets for the pleasure of kids. In the food industry today, many infant formulas are fortified with probiotics. Some manufacturers even add these "good" bacteria to kids' breakfast cereal, snack bars, and juice to fortify their health. More so, probiotics can be naturally found in some fermented foods and soy products. These foods include kimchi, yoghurt, cheese, miso and tempeh.

Are There Any Benefits Of Probiotics For Kids? 

Related: The Role, Efficacy and Intake of Probiotics

Some of the research-backed health benefits of probiotics for kids are:

Probiotics Can Cure And Prevent Antibiotics-Induced Diarrhea

As kids grow up, you may have one or two reasons to administer them an antibiotic. For example, it could be that they have a sore throat, ear infection or even a bacterial skin infection, and that is why you give them an antibiotic. Though antibiotics help to flush out bad bacteria from the body, excessive use of these drugs can flush out good bacteria in the process. When this happens, kids experience an imbalance of microflora in their stomach which causes diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can also be very expensive to treat because you have to buy more diapers. For this reason, kids require probiotics to introduce good bacteria to their tummies to strike a balance. Some research also suggests that taking probiotics shortens the duration of diarrhoea in children.

Probiotics Prevent Constipation And Indigestion In Kids

Kids who have a gut bacteria balance enjoy proper digestion. If a child has constipation, it could be that there is an unhealthy intestinal microbial balance in that child. Taking probiotics in kids helps them promote the multiplication of good bacteria needed to digest their food and absorb nutrients in the gut. It also helps them to produce enzymes needed in the digestion process. Administering probiotics to kids with constipation may be what they need to regulate their bowel and reduce symptoms like gas and bloating.

Probiotics May Reduce Too Sugar Cravings in Kids.

Research has found out that the type of bacteria in the stomach of kids often decide the appetite of children. Kids who eat too high sugar foods host some bacteria that always need more sugar dense food to survive. For this reason, they have a way of communicating with the brain, which makes your kids always ask for sweet foods and snacks. Research has found out that probiotics can adjust the gut bacteria of kids, especially when it is combined with giving your kids a healthy diet. Parents who try this strategy report that they saw signs of dietary changes in their kids within seven days.

Probiotics maintain immunity in kids.

Playful Kids are exposed to bacteria every day. Probiotics boost the production of antibodies. Giving them probiotics ensures that they have enough good bacteria to fight bacterial and viral infections in their body.

General Tips You Should Know Before Giving Your Child A Probiotic Supplement. 

  • It is recommended that parents wait until a child is over one year of age before giving probiotics.
  • Probiotics should not be given to kids who are seriously ill—these include those undergoing chemotherapy and kids on steroids. 
  • Always read the labels of probiotic supplements for quality claims. Products with strains belonging to the Lactobacillus, Streptococcus and Bifidobacterium classes are effective for children.
  • If you have any questions or uncertainty, speak to a paediatrician before giving your child a probiotic supplement.
Michael Yeung
Author: Michael Yeung

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